PC-Doctor, Inc. sent us their Service Center 6 for review. A toolkit complete with the following items - PCI POST card, 128MB USB storage device, power supply tester, multipurpose USB device, test CD and DVD, audio loopback test device, parallel loopback test device, serial loopback test device, game port loopback test device, and a RJ45 Ethernet loopback test device. All packed in an attractive carry-all case complete with pockets for kit components and space for your tools.
PC-Doctor's Service Center 6
The PC-Doctor Service Center 6 is a perfect lightweight kit for the service technician on the go containing more than 300 of the most up-to-date diagnostics and features available. Fast and accurate, Service Center helps improve first-time fix rates, shortens service-delivery times, and reduces expensive component-swapping.
Used globally by major manufacturers, retailers, and service companies, Service Center runs under Windows Vista, XP, Server 2003, 2000, and includes an offline operating system based on DOS for testing when Windows is unavailable - even without a hard drive. The ability to test in both Windows and DOS gives you the most complete test coverage in a single package.
All of this sounds good, but how about about the enthusiast who is forever trying get the most out their PC? Does this kit offer anything for the average user? I have seen kits with similar claims having price tags from cheap to exoborant with quality keeping pace. Priced at $399 retail, this kit seems to fall somewhere in the middle. The software is widely used, as claimed, and I have used a similar power supply tester, but the rest requires a closer look.
More than 300 current, up-to-date diagnostics
Hardware test devices - power supply tester, POST card, network tester, and loopbacks
Easy-to-use, intuitive graphical user interface
Fast, 10-second start-up with no installation requirements
Direct System Information architecture gathers information directly from devices
Bootable Multipurpose USB Device indicates test status
Runs under Windows Vista, XP, Server 2003, 2000 and the included offline OS
(contact: email@example.com for legacy support of Windows 98/ME or NT)
Multiple boot options: Hard drive, CD, New Multipurpose USB Device
Updated script editor to create custom test scripts for your specific systems or
Test results can be saved and printed
From the Diagnostics Run CD several installation options are available. A restore procedure is also provided.
Once installed a number of test scripts are available that can assist in diagnosing computer-related issues. Where a seasoned technician or knowledgeable user could go to a specific area or test, the average user would probably best be served by the Help category. However, I did find the major test categories intuitive and not difficult to navigate nor difficult to comprehend or perform.
The screenshot below is an example of a test in progress. In the enlarge screenshot, the Diagnostics tab on the left indicates the extensive number of tests that cover most of a systems components. Within each component tested are details, which provide a more in-depth view or description of the component being tested. This will be very welcome information when working on a machine that you did not assemble and had no idea as to the make, manufacture, etc. of components.
The system I assembled for this article used existing working components and received passing marks. I purposely did adjust some things at times to see what a failure would entail. There was not much of an explanation other that a failure occurred and on what specific test. Once I made the proper correction, the test completed with a Passed mark with the system functioning properly.
I do have a couple of problematic motherboards stashed away that I may dig out later to see if PC-Doctor Service Center 6 can enlighten me as to their re-occurring problems. But that's for another time.