Burn-in period

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Burn In Period

The burn in period of a Personal Computer is an optional period of roughly 48 hours, during which the operating system runs a torture test, stressing the hard drive, Central Processing Unit, and Memory; beyond performance and durability specifications needed in every day use.

Why Do a Burn-In

Manufacturers Point of View

PC manufacturers use their assembly lines to do a final burn-in. This streamlined process insures vastly fewer returns and defects, that would require comparatively great expense to rectify, and inconvenience to the customer.

PC Enthusiast Point of View

Overclockers adjust PC timing values to increase performance, at a very low cost. To make sure a machine runs properly with the overclocked timings, a burn-in period is performed by the end user. No hardware errors means the machine is stable at the faster timings.

Hardware Detail

If increased performance via overclocking is desired, the CPU and Memory components should be burned in immediately upon successful boot up, in that order.


It is generally recommended to burn in the CPU slightly below the rated voltage of the processor, at MFG specification frequency, using mprime, for 12-24 hours. Processors rarely fail at default settings. Subsequent to the sissy burn, the processor timings should be increased by 10%-20%, for a burn-in period of 24-48 hours, using the mprime program.


Performance Memory

Performance Memory vendors pay a premium, to bring their own testing equipment to a chip wholesaler, and literally hand pick the top 5% fastest chips. Performance Memory vendors also burn-in the DIMMs after they are manufactured.


Performance DDR2 memory requires minimal burn-in, only to form the millions of microscopic capacitors that are memory, using the MemTest86 program. The Memory timings should be set at specification. A 24 hour Memory burn-in is adequate for performance DDR2 modules.


DDR Memory offers much more flexibility in timings. For the burn-in period of 24 hours, these should be slightly below the anticipated performance. The voltage rating for performance DDR modules is usually high, between 2.7V-2.9V. Standard for DDR modules is 2.6V.

Generic Memory

Many factors influence Memory performance. How the chip manufacturer rates and selects chips it considers GOOD, is the primary performance indicator for generic modules.


Bland, boring, generic Samsung or Infineon Memory requires extensive burn-in. A 24 hour MemTest86 run is done first, at stock timings. The Memory is left to rest for an hour, with the machine off. Timings are increased slightly, for a burn-in period of 24 hours. Subsequently, timings are increased beyond stock, for a burn-in period of 24 hours. If the memory has errors, the timings need to dropped back.