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Friday, December 19, 2014
Tester Articles and FAQs - What is a Memory Tester

Memory Tester Topics

What is a memory tester?
What does a memory tester test?
Memory tester vs. memory diagnostic software
Guide to selecting memory testers
Find out more about CST memory testers

What is a Memory Module Tester ?

Memory module testers are very specialized test equipment used to test and verify memory modules typically in SIMM or DIMM configuration. It detects functional failure on memory modules before they are installed into the computer system.

Memory module testers can be broadly categorized into two types :

  • Hardware Memory tester
  • Software diagnostic program that runs in a PC environment.
Hardware Memory tester has more sophisticated and comprehensive test features built into the tester as compared to software diagnostic testing program. Software diagnostic does allow for detection of possible problems when memory modules are already installed on the computer system.

Memory testers are classified into several categories

  • High end Automated Test Equipment (ATE) class memory tester
  • Medium range Memory tester
  • Low-end Memory tester
  • Software Diagnostic program.
High-end ATE Class Memory testers are used by most OEM memory chip manufacturers such as Samsung, Hyundai, Micron…etc. They are typically priced starting at one million dollars per system. This equipment must be operated by well trained semiconductor engineers. ATE Class Memory testers are built with very complex test algorithms to detect memory faults during the final stages of memory chip packaging.

Mid-range memory testers typically priced under $100,000, are commonly found in the SIMM module manufacturing assembly houses. These testers are built to support mass volume memory module testing. They are also used for detecting assembly faults caused by mis-soldering and cross-cell contamination after chips are assembled onto PCB or SIMM cards. These memory testers are usually docked onto an automatic handling system for high volume production testing, thus eliminating manual intervention by an operator.

Low-end memory testers are usually relatively low cost ranging from $1000 - $3000. Their main features are portability, ease of use and relatively small size. They are typically used by the service industry especially by computer service technicians, RMA departments, memory reseller/brokers/ and wholesalers for verifying and testing memory modules that fails in PC system or before going into PC. Quality and features of this range of memory testers varies greatly depending on the manufacturer. A good memory tester is built with features comparable with high-end ATE and medium range memory tester. The key is to provide a simple to use tester at an affordable price that is still effective in capturing most memory faults and failures.

Memory diagnostic software are very low cost tools used to check for memory failures on a PC typically priced from $ 9.95 to $200. It is usually in the form of a self-bootable software program on a floppy disk. The diagnostic tools provide memory test patterns which are able to test memory starting from the base memory to extended memory. The main disadvantage of software diagnostic program is when your PC refuses to boot-up due to memory failure or a faulty motherboard, then the software diagnostic is rendered useless.
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