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Burning in the CPU makes use of programs that stress the CPU of your computer. To do it right, you want to stress the CPU at higher speeds, higher voltage and cooler temperatures than the component normally runs.
First, get the following programs (click on the name for a link to the program):
You can also use seti, f@h or other distributed computing programs, but you may be complicating your burnin efforts with your DC efforts. That is, if Toast crashes your computer during burnin you're out some time. If seti crashes your computer during burnin that work unit may be lost.
Setup your PC. Install the most effective cooling you can afford. Cool temperatures will give the best results.
Make sure the PC is stable at normal speed and volts. Make sure it's running cool.
Run Toast for several hours to several days. Is the stock system stable? If it is, you can start the burnin.
Increase the speed of the CPU. On AMD systems do this by increasing the multiplier. Do it one step at a time, like from 10.5 to 11. On Intel systems, increase the Front Side Bus (FSB). Do it in small steps, no more than about 5 MHz at a time.
Run Toast for 10-15 minutes. If the system doesn't crash you can begin running one of the other burnin programs.
You want to exercise all of the CPU's circuits. SiSoft Sandra's Burnin Wizard is good for this. Select ALL the tests that your system can run and setup the Wizard to loop indefinitely on these tests. Let it run for 12-48 hours.
If stable, increase the multiplier (AMD) or FSB (Intel) and re-run the Wizard.
If not stable, it's time to increase the voltage to the CPU. Increase the voltage by one increment in the BIOS, then run the Wizard as described above.
Prime95 is a good stability test. Once you've hit the maximum stable CPU speed using Sandra, try running Prime95 in torture mode. Let it run for at least 12 hours. You may find that Prime95 won't run stable at the same speed as Sandra. That's OK, just back off the CPU speed until Prime95 runs stable. Then, work the speed back up in the same way you did for Sandra.
Continue the "burnin-increase speed-burnin" cycle until you reach your goal or your maximum stable speed.
That's it! You've just graduated from CPU Burnin 101. But, there are other things that can be done to push your system even higher! Enroll in Memory Burnin 102 (coming soon) :)