Part of the Personal computing glossary:

A torture test is an evaluation of an item's ability to withstand extreme conditions. Such tests may be conducted by product manufacturers, reviewers, and even end users. Typically, a torture test subjects the item in question to a number of severe trials that far surpass anything it would be likely to encounter in real-world usage.

Torture tests for computers usually force your CPU to work at 100% of its capacity for an extended period of time, to evaluate how well the CPU, cooling system, and power supply are working. One of the best known torture tests for computers is Prime95, a program designed to find Mersenne prime numbers. Some benchmark ing products, such as SiSoftware's Sandra, also include a torture test mode.

In the 1950s, Timex watches were famously subjected to a variety of ingenious torture tests; the company's advertising featured Timexes affixed to a giant lobster claw, spinning in a vacuum cleaner, and fastened onto Mickey Mantle's bat, among other things.

This was last updated in September 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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