PC Doctor

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SUMMARY: Versatile set of diagnostic tools to trouble shoot hardware problems.

The good guys at PC Doctor were nice enough to send a sample of
PC Doctor Service Center 6. This is a diagnostic test suite of over 300 tests for Windows PCs.

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The test suite includes:

  • Diagnostic CD for both Windows and low-level hardware testing in the offline diagnostic OS
  • CD and DVD test media
  • Five loopback devices for RJ45 ports, game, serial, audio, and parallel ports and test cable
  • PCI POST card
  • Power supply tester
  • Multipurpose USB Device bootable to the offline OS for low-level testing
  • USB Pen Drive for data storage (128 MB)
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Comprehensive documentation for advanced product usage
  • Carry Case

PC-Doctor supports the following tests for Windows:

Audio

  • Rough Audio Test
  • Microphone Interactive Test
  • Sound Interactive Test

Video

  • 2-D/3-D Video Test
  • ATI PCI Express Video Test
  • AVI Interactive Test
  • Monitor Interactive Test
  • TV Tuner Test

Storage

  • Blu-ray Drive Test
  • Card Reader Test
  • CD Drive Test
  • CD-R Drive Test
  • CD-RW Drive Test
  • DVD Drive Test
  • DVD+R DL Drive Test
  • DVD-R DL Drive Test
  • DVD+R Drive Test
  • DVD-R Drive Test
  • DVD-RAM Drive Test
  • DVD+RW Drive Test
  • DVD-RW Drive Test
  • Floppy Drive Test
  • Hard Drive Test
  • HD DVD Drive Test
  • LS Drive Test
  • SMART Test
  • Tape Drive Test
  • Zip Drive Test

Communications

  • Marvell Virtual Cable Test
  • Modem Test
  • Network Test

Other Devices

  • Joystick Interactive Test
  • Keyboard Interactive Test
  • Mouse Interactive Test
  • Printer Interactive Test

System

  • Analog FM Tuner Test
  • 1394 Test
  • Battery Test
  • CMOS Test
  • CPU Test
  • Memory Test
  • Parallel Port Test
  • PC Card Test
  • PCI Express Test
  • PCI Test
  • SCSI Test
  • Serial Port Test
  • Systemboard Test
  • USB Test

Each test listed above have sub-routines – for a complete test list, go HERE.

PCI POST Card

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Insert the card and it monitors voltages and BIOS POST codes – if you have a board that has BIOS code LEDs, this card will show the same codes. The PC Doctor website maintains a list of BIOS Post codes so you can decipher error codes. The tests performed by this card are not as robust as those contained on the test CD.

Power Supply Tester

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Very simple to use – just plug in the appropriate cables, power up and you’ll knew in short order if it’s bad.

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Multipurpose USB Device

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This USB device performs a number of low-level tests and is also needed to run the test CD. This device uses a series of colored LEDs to indicate pass-fail codes.

Test CD Sample Screens

Inserting the test CD brings up the following screen:

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As you can see from the list on the left hand side, every component on the system can be tested. You can also use the tests as a burn-in tool for new or repaired systems.
Note that you have the capability to write your own test scripts, handy for situations where you want to check a particular part on an array of machines. Test reports can also be printed out.

The tests are detailed and you can select which tests to run and for how many times or how long (although not both):

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As the test progresses, green bars indicate progress:

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Memory is one area where rigorous, stressed testing can prevent headaches later on. Running a few game loops is no substitute – I have seen RAM failures which were not evident when running something like 3DMark. This is particularly valuable if you’re manually setting RAM timings.

The video test takes some time – about 15 minutes:

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You will see a series of test screens as it progresses.

CONCLUSIONS

Using PC Doctor’s test suite for Windows is drop-dead easy and outputs detailed reports in short order. PC Doctor will not run detailed hardware tests without an operating system, so bare-board tests are not feasible with this product. I also found the documentation not as robust as I would like to see – for example, there are jumpers on the PCI Post Card but the supplied “Quick Start” guide does not indicate the various functions available.

Overall, if you are responsible for maintaining a number of PCs, PC Doctor’s Windows Service Center 6 is a versatile set of diagnostic tools to trouble shoot hardware problems. Price – $399.

Overclockers.com readers who are interested in purchasing PC Doctor can receive a 10% discount – indicate “overclockers” as the discount code or call 1 866 BUYPCDR and mention Overclockers.com for a $40 discount. Go HERE. to purchase PC Doctor Windows Service Center 6.

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