Testing VRAM on older cards under DOS?

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First post, by TheLazy1

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Is there any way to do this for free?
I tried Video Memory Stress Test but it needs VBE 2.0 which the card(s) I want to test do not have.

Ideally I'd like to make sure the cards I have are in working order before selling them.
I know I'd be pissy if the card I just bought worked fine in text modes but glitched out due to bad ram in graphics mode.

Reply 2 of 7, by Stiletto

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To get Video Memory Stress Test (CE) to be compatible, you could try to load a VESA VBE 2.0 TSR if available: VESA Fix Utility Listing (for old video cards)
... although how you alter their boot disk to add that, I have _no_ idea. Might not be possible.


You could try ancient commercial PC diagnostic software, some have video memory tests. Things like:
- #1-TUFFTest (Windsor Technologies): http://www.tufftest.com/
- AMIDIAG (AMI - American Megatrends Inc.): http://www.amiindia.co.in/diagdos.html
- BurnInTest (Passmark): http://www.passmark.com/products/bit.htm
- Check-IT (SmithMicro): http://store.smithmicro.com/productdetails.aspx?pid=11649
- Micro-Scope (Micro 2000): http://www.micro2000pcdiagnostics.com/
- PC-Check (Eurosoft): http://www.eurosoft-uk.com/pccheck.html- PC-Diag (PC-Diag): http://www.pc-diagnostics.com/pc_diagnostics_ … stics_pro.shtml
- PC-Doctor (PC-Doctor): http://www.pc-doctor.com/
- QuickTech Legacy/Pro (Ultra-X): http://www.uxd.com/qtpro.shtml and http://www.uxd.com/qt.shtml
- TechTool Deluxe/Pro (for Macintosh) (Micromat): http://www.micromat.com/deluxe/

Dunno how trustworthy they will be... some can only detect 256K of video RAM when in DOS.


A few utilities for old and new cards

64UTLxxx.ZIP/EXE (DOS) - ATI mach64 vx.xx Utilities Installation & Configuration - contains a video memory test, among other things, for ATI mach64.
http://web.archive.org/web/19970404103745/htt … rs/64utl222.zip
http://web.archive.org/web/19970404103755/htt … rs/64utl222.txt
http://web.archive.org/web/19970706062651/htt … rs/64utl303.exe
http://web.archive.org/web/19970706062702/htt … rs/64utl303.txt

TestVRAM 1.0 (06-02-2004) (DOS)
Nvidia Riva TNT, TNT2, GeForce, GeForce2, GeForce3; ATI video cards from similar era (Rage 128 - Radeon 8500?) memory tester

TestMem4 154+ (7-16-2004) (DOS)
System RAM tester with also Nvidia Riva TNT, TNT2, GeForce, GeForce2, GeForce3; ATI video cards from similar era (Rage 128 - Radeon 8500?) memory tester.

X-VESA 1.02 (10-05-2004) (DOS)
X-VESA is a DOS utility program which gives the user the faculty to diagnose and inspect a VESA display adapter. All modern display adapters are VESA compatible, for old display adapter (10 years old) you will need an additional software: a small VESA software (DOS TSR) that add to yours display adapter the VESA standard. This small software must be launched before X-VESA. Memory test feature: Test VRAM reliability - Test the VRAM reliability of the selected video mode using several patterns. This test can detect defective VRAM (useful to detect correct Fast Write support, and maximum available VRAM overclock). Three test are available: 64 Kb - Fast but insecure, 256 Kb - Relatively fast and secure, Full VRAM - Extremely slow (several hours on slow machines with much VRAM) but very secure test.

Video Memory Stress Test 1.7.116 /1.21 (09-01-2009) (Windows & Windows PE/CE):
- DirectX 7.0 or better must be installed (DirectX 9 is recommended).
- and (optional) CUDA 1.1 or better must be installed for CUDA test mode.
- and/or (optional) OpenGL 1.5 (or OpenGL 1.1 with "GL_ARB_vertex_buffer_object" extension) for OpenGL test mode.
- or Windows PE/CE requires: VESA Bios Extesions 2.0 or above

MemtestG80 1.1 (05-06-2010) and MemtestCL 1.00 (08-12-2010) (Windows/Linux):
For Nvidia CUDA cards: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CUDA#Supported_GPUs
and OpenCL-based cards: http://www.khronos.org/conformance/adopters/c … rmant-products/

CUDA GPU memtest 1.23 (02-07-2012) (Linux)
A GPU memory test utility for NVIDIA and AMD GPUs using well established patterns from memtest86/memtest86+ as well as additional stress tests. The tests are designed to find hardware and soft errors. The code is written in CUDA and OpenCL.

I would try both the commercial and the free programs on cards that you know are 100% working and cards that do in fact have bad video RAM and let us know what works the best. 😀

The most promising sounds like X-VESA and Video Memory Stress Test, but they still may have compatibility issues.

It would be nice if someone could go to the trouble of figuring this all out with a large set of video cards...

Last edited by Stiletto on 2012-07-31, 18:52. Edited 6 times in total.

Reply 3 of 7, by TheLazy1

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Thank you for X-Vesa!
I've only been testing one card so far which is a Trident 8900C and it does seem a bit funky.

The app allows you to test vram in several different video modes:
640x480x8: All clear, no errors
800x600x8: Obvious glitches

Some 24bit mode failed spectacularly, but I'm not sure if that's just a hardware limitation or if the card is just kaput in general.
I'll have to try a few more cards and play with the program a bit more to be sure.

Reply 4 of 7, by Stiletto

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Is that with the manufacturer-specific VESA TSR loaded (or Scitech UNIVBE if not)? If not, then you should consider re-testing with it loaded (if one is available or Scitech supports it)

"I see a little silhouette-o of a man, Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you
do the Fandango!" - Queen


Reply 7 of 7, by Stiletto

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vlask wrote:

whatvga works even without vesa.....and its for dos

Does it actually run test patterns through the memory and hunt for defects? It doesn't seem like it does that, from the documentation... If you're right, though, I'll add it...

"I see a little silhouette-o of a man, Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you
do the Fandango!" - Queen