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Is there any software that would test the reliability of a CPU? Like, check how all the instructions are working, verify that cache is not damaged, check for known CPU bugs, etc.

I've got a machine in which I suspect that the CPU might be failing, but the symptoms are weird enough that I'm not certain...

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3 Answers

Most likely OS issue:
I would guess the most likely problem, even though you gave no symptoms, is that there is something wrong with the OS or software. I would run a Linux live cd for a while or do a fresh install, and see if you have issues.

More Likely RAM:
What makes you think it is failing? I would guess RAM or the motherboard first. I recommend memtest to check the ram.

Heat:
If you are having CPU problems, is it related to heat?

Time vs. Hardware Cost:
Is this stuff worth the time? If it is expensive, maybe it is still under warranty? If it was expensive, can you get something more powerful for cheap?

Lastly, what are these weird symptoms?

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Read my comments on other answers. The symptoms are there. As for RAM - I already tested that, no problems. If it was CPU overheating, then Prime95 and other CPU-intensive tasks would have brought it down. And besides - the temperature is OK. Time vs Cost - it's my own home computer and I don't have any money right now to get a new one. XD –  Vilx- Aug 19 '09 at 19:02
    
As for more weird symptoms - for example, when I play Oblivion, and set the graphics settings to the lowes possible values, everything runs (although looks like a crap). As soon as I touch the dials to make me see a bit further - wham. Blue screen. But without any text. And the HDD shuts down. And the sound card keeps looping whatever it had in its buffer. Naturally, the event logs are clean as crystal. –  Vilx- Aug 19 '09 at 19:04
    
I'd suspect my VGA, but some other games run fine, and my VGA has not had problems for quite some time. –  Vilx- Aug 19 '09 at 19:05
    
The other PC I'm talking about is my wife's PC. Recently it started getting various BSOD's with random messages 5 times a day. After we checked that RAM, HDD and VGA were not to blame, the only remaining explanation was PSU, MB or CPU. Anyway, we got her a new computer - thus the lack of money. From the old computer I only took her CPU and put into mine, which has had no problems up to now. –  Vilx- Aug 19 '09 at 19:09
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A CPU failure is very uncommon, but possible. I like to use BurnIn Test Pro to test various functionality of a system. It runs in Windows. If you want to try testing something from a boot disk, try using some of the CPU tests (like Prime95) from the Ultimate Boot CD.

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What makes me suspicious about the CPU is that the gliches started after it was upgraded with the CPU from another machine that failed in a similar way. However that machine crashed far more often. On this one it only happens in certain games and even then only at certain (but always the same) points. Also, the other machine had full BSOD. This one just freezes. I tried simply giving it a lot of stress (with a prime software, don't remember the name), but that didn't do anything unusual... –  Vilx- Aug 19 '09 at 16:40
    
In other words, it could very likely also be a faulty driver, but since there is no BSOD, there is no trace of the crash after the reboot, so I can't say. –  Vilx- Aug 19 '09 at 16:42
    
Anyway, it's definately not just stress that crashes it. Perhaps a fault at some pretty far away cache memory location? Perhaps some multimedia instruction is not working? That's why I want some proper, thorough CPU test. –  Vilx- Aug 19 '09 at 16:45
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You could try checking temperatures if your mobo supports it; maybe it's cooling related.

As for test software there are some things found on the Ultimate Boot CD that might help, but really if the CPU is failing you're going to get lots of quirky stuff going on that may seem totally random.

It would seem that the only way to truly test it is to get another CPU and swap it out to see what happens then. There's not too much that'll "stress test" a CPU other than just using it a lot. Otherwise symptoms could point to a bad CPU or to bad memory or poorly seated CPU/memory or something failing on the motherboard or socket...issues with these components are hard to track down, primarily because software used to test it can tell you potentially that there is a problem, but never that there's not a problem (it's like asking your brain to evaluate yourself...can't do it without bias in the perception of the brain's own state. There are plenty of cases where people ask about testing memory and various burn-in testing programs can say memory is fine but suddenly crashes go away after the module is replaced).

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