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Old 03-26-09, 03:31 PM   #1
mathog
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Default Graphics card diagnostic?

Now that things like VDPAU and CUDA are running on the GPU the need for diagnostics to test the cards has moved from "would be nice" to "essential". For pure display a minor glitch on a card might be flash in one frame, or some other temporary aesthetic failure, but for a calculation errors matter a lot more. Reading through these forums, I have to wonder how many issues might not have a patch of iffy memory on the card, or a slightly "off" GPU, as the root cause.

Perhaps this is hopelessly naive, but one might expect that Nvidia, or one of the manufacturers of Nvidia cards, has a test tool like this so that production cards can be exercised at least briefly before shipping, and some of them exercised for much longer, for quality control purposes.

Do these sorts of diagnostics exist? If so, where would one obtain them?

Thanks.
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Old 03-26-09, 03:41 PM   #2
ledoc
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Default Re: Graphics card diagnostic?

My guess would be that anything more than a simple memcheck would probably give too much IP away, even as closed source program. And given nvidias IP paranoia, they'll never make such a tool available.
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Old 03-27-09, 07:09 PM   #3
mathog
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Default Re: Graphics card diagnostic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ledoc View Post
My guess would be that anything more than a simple memcheck would probably give too much IP away, even as closed source program. And given nvidias IP paranoia, they'll never make such a tool available.
Possibly.

Computers without reliable diagnostics are not fit for serious work. Nvidia really can't have it both ways, for instance with CUDA. If the graphics card is just for display than the occasional screen hiccup isn't a deal breaker, but that is not the case if they want us to use it as a computer. If we are to crunch numbers on their cards, then we require some way to reliably exercise the card before we trust the results.

Certainly they can at least provide a memtester equivalent without giving away any secrets. Most memory chips in graphics cards have been tested for what, a couple of minutes at most? Yet intermittent errors in memory chips often cannot be found without at least a day's worth of testing. Who among us would not much rather discover that a new card is (slightly) defective in the initial burn in testing than struggle with a series of annoying glitches for the life of the card?
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