Clarification of Answer by
05 Dec 2002 23:57 PST
Sandra's CPU arithmetic logic and floating point benchmarks will load
the CPU well enough to determine whether or not any physical damage
resulted in actual damage to the CPU core.
I've been building systems myself for the better part of a decade, and
my most recent full time job involved troubleshooting faulty and/or
damaged PC hardware, primarily CPUs, and can state with confidence
that if you're not seeing any stability problems, that you have
nothing to worry about.
What sort of physical damage are you talking about? I'm not sure what
type of processor you've got, but I'd venture a guess and say that
it's a newer AMD chip (their cores are a little easier to chip than
Intel's latest chips with exposed cores.)
If you're concerned about the possibility of a stability or
reliability problem (or perhaps a fire hazard), I would recommend
performing some sort of burn-in test on the CPU. Install a distributed
computing client, for example -- try using the Distributed.net client,
which will keep your CPU under a full load constantly
(http://www.distributed.net/). If the system stays functional after a
few days of running the Distributed.net client, regardless of whether
the system is being used or left idle, then it's safe to say that the
CPU is perfectly fine, despite any physical damage it may have
appeared to sustain.
Another way to look at it would be that if you're concerned enough
about the damage that you'd like to get it replaced, most resellers of
AMD processors refuse returns of chipped processors because they're
very delicate, and seeing a chipped or even a completely crushed CPU
core does happen from time to time, and AMD doesn't cover it under
"Examples of 'User-Induced Damage' and unacceptable returns:
* No visible thermal compound
* Cracked package
* Cracked die
* Die chip.."
This picture shows a processor with a portion of the corner or (sic)
the processor missing. When handling a processor with damage,
additional handling of the processor can cause further damage, and in
turn, cause the unit to cease proper functioning. This, too, is
considered user damage, and would not be an accepted return.
Please note that a microscopic level of chipping is considered
acceptable and does not affect the proper function of the processor.
Please do not return units with this level of chipping."
The PDF also displays pictures of the different example conditions,
and shows a picture of what they consider to be unacceptable damage,
and what they consider to be acceptable "microscopic" damage, which
they will ship CPUs with, as it does not affect performance.
If it isn't an AMD processor, the situation is likely similar with
Intel, but Intel's dies are generally tougher to physically damage, as
their heatsinks are typically smaller for the exposed core chips
(specifically socket 370 PPGA/FCPGA, as opposed to the socket 423/478
P4 packages, which include heat slugs over the die) and their die is
less fragile. If I've incorrectly assumed, please accept my apologies.
Hope this helps. :)