In our iPad stress tests--a supersize version of the iPhone stress tests that we performed with Apple's smartphone--the tablet computer started showing damage after a few drops onto a carpeted floor.
Though the touchscreen itself held up well and still responded to touches and gestures, a strip of garbled pixels appeared at the top of the display after we dropped the iPad from a seated position three or four times. The glass did start showing signs of physical damage after a couple of drops onto concrete. After our iPad became fully inoperable from the combination of water damage and drops onto concrete, we went ahead and threw a baseball at it. You'll also be happy to know that an average-weight adult can sit on the iPad without inflicting any damage.
All in all, the iPad is a solidly built machine, but the pixel problems after only a few drops onto a carpeted floor surprised us a bit. Amazon Shop buttons are programmatically attached to all reviews, regardless of products' final review scores.
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Modern-day PCs are more reliable than ever before, but that doesn’t mean they're infallible. Whenever you buy or build a PC, swap out a major component, or overclock a piece of hardware, it's a good idea to stress-test (or "burn in") the fresh gear, which is not the same as benchmarking your rig. Running stress tests can also let you know if you need additional cooling in your computer.
All that said, the actual process of stress testing isn't terribly complicated, though it can be time-consuming. Before you start your testing, I recommend closing any nonessential programs and diving into your system's Power settings to prevent it from going to sleep. While a handful of programs are available that can stress your CPU to its limits, Prime95 has become the de facto standard. No matter which testing program you choose, run it for at least four hours; a full overnight run is preferable. Simply burn MemTest86+ to a flash drive or CD, insert it into your PC, and then boot your computer to the media type you're using. If you're a gamer, stress testing your graphics card is a no-brainer, especially since graphics cards tend to fail under heavier loads—you know, like the ones generated by top-end games. Benchmarking tools abound, but FurMark was designed specifically to give your GPU a stress-inducing workout and punishes graphics cards much harder than the average game.
Alternatively, Uningine—the makers of the popular Heaven graphics benchmark—recently released "Valley," a new GPU stress-testing tool that's a lot prettier and more peaceful-looking than Furmark.
Once your GPU passes its primary stress test, I like to run some benchmarks derived from actual games to see how the graphics card holds under real-life usage. The CPU, GPU, and RAM are the only major system components you really need to worry about stress-testing. Likewise, you can loop a long video with your display brightness on high if you're worried about the battery life of your laptop, but again, it's far from necessary and more of a benchmark test than a stress test.


While this guide can help ensure the stability of your system, the methods and tools outlined here are far from your only option. The next test is to run the benchmarks downloaded free from Futuremark, namely 3DMark2001 Second Edition and 3DMark03.
Performance is influenced by many factors besides the video card, the video card driver, and the video card driver settings. The benchmarks I used are Futuremark's 3DMark2001 Second Edition (build 330) and 3DMark03 (build 340). The computer configuration I have runs even the most demanding 3D applications and games smoothly. Our stress-test unit started malfunctioning immediately after being doused with coffee and water, even though the iPad connector port was somewhat covered.
Surprisingly, all that glass on the front is practically invulnerable when it comes to everyday wear-and-tear.
But even in those extreme circumstances, the screen cracked only after we dropped the iPad face-down onto the pavement. Keys and the aforementioned nail dinged it up significantly, so a protective case is still a good idea if you plan on toting it around alongside other objects in a bag.
The iPad was no match for a Little League-caliber fastball, so if you're sitting in foul-ball territory with it, bring a glove. This gadget has a lot of potential to be used by kids, so you'll definitely want to buy a protective case if you have a youngster at home.
Our parent company, IDG, receives advertisement revenue for shopping activity generated by the links. Equipment failures still happen, however rarely, and even the beefiest of computer components aren't worth their weight in silicon if they aren't dependable. If a graphics card or overclocked CPU consistently overheats and shuts down during a stress test, it's time to dump the stock cooler, add a few case fans, and possibly even consider liquid cooling. Before you start torturing your PC, you're going to need a way to keep tabs on its screaming. While many components will automatically shut down if they overheat, not all will, and you want to pull the plug on your testing if your hardware hits dangerous heat levels. Ostensibly designed to find Mersenne prime numbers, the software absolutely hammers your processor, to the point that the developers now include a dedicated "Torture Test" mode for people who are interested in system stability than complex mathematics.
Personally, I like to stress-test new PCs using Prime95's Blend and Small FFT tests for at least twelve hours apiece, and I sometimes follow it up with an hour-long, High or Very High stress level IntelBurnTest run.
This tried-and-true diagnostic software has been around seemingly forever, and while it definitely looks its age—MemTest86+ rocks an ugly BIOS-esque interface—the program is just as effective now as it always has been. Once it's up and running, let the software do its thing for a long time—preferably overnight once again.
Another bonus: Graphic torture tests usually coax underpowered or faulty power supplies into giving up the ghost, so you're stressing two birds with one stone. This bad boy uses real-time renderings of furry objects undulating in front of groovy backgrounds to push your graphics card to its limits, complete with antialiasing and resolution options.


Should you benchmark your storage drives to make sure they're delivering the promised data transfer rates? In fact, a plethora of different stress-testing strategies and software solutions exist out there in the wild. Water entered the iPad's innards via the headphone jack on the top, and within a minute or two, the touchscreen display became unresponsive and splotchy. Because the buttons are attached programmatically, they should not be interpreted as editorial endorsements.
Thankfully, the hot and heavy world of stress testing can help to identify critical faults before your PC craps out in the middle of a critical operation.
Even if a computer boots up and performs well under normal usage, fickle hardware can cause woes when you step up to heftier tasks, such as gaming or video editing.
CPUID's HWMonitor software does exactly that, providing you with a real-time glimpse of your components' temperatures, voltage, and fan speeds. You can fry your components if a worst-case scenario occurs and you're not paying attention. Blend stresses both the CPU and RAM; if no errors pop up after four hours or so, you can consider it stable for normal use. If your rig can run Prime95's Small FFT test for a full 24 hours without issue, the CPU is as solid as a rock and ready to fold. Hard-core types also hold IntelBurnTest and OCCT—two other CPU-stressing programs—in high regard. Stress-testing software places your components under an intense workload to simulate a worse-case scenario; if a component crashes, hangs, or otherwise fails a dedicated stress test, there's a good chance that it won't be reliable under a heavy everyday load. If you see CPU temperatures starting to creep north of 70 degrees Celsius, or graphics card temperatures around 105°C (though that varies by model—do your homework!), stop the test and add more cooling to your computer.
Alternatively, the Small FFT and Large FFT torture tests lay off the RAM a bit to subject the CPU to as much respective stress and heat as possible.
Both hit your processor hard and ramp temperatures up very rapidly, however, so keep a close eye on your system-monitoring software when you first start them up. If you run into an error, you'll have to retest each RAM module individually to identify which is the problem child.
It's best to uncover unstable components sooner rather than later, while they're still under warranty.
You'll also want to halt your testing if temperatures continuously hover around those marks for an extended period of time.
If your graphics card is going to crash or start tossing out funky visual artifacts, it will do so within 15 to 30 minutes.



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