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Innoventions Ramcheck Advanced Memory Tester

Innoventions Ramcheck Advanced Memory Tester - PCSTATS
Abstract: Designed and built with the reseller, memory manufacturer and computer service center in mind, this is the Ramcheck memory tester.
 89% Rating:   
Filed under: Memory Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Innoventions Jul 22 2001   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Memory > Innoventions Ramcheck

Back to testing DRAM - What's done

Example Test Information

0007 - Semicon

Sample screen images as shown on the device during testing.

SDRAM DUT DETECTED
BASIC TEST:
TEST AT 3.3V
SIZE: 16Mx64=128M
CHIP SIZE: 4x2Mx8
12 ROW/9 COL ADDR.
SPEED: 100MHz
REFRESH:AUTO
BANKS: 2
-S:0+1+2+3
DQMB:0+1+2+3+4+5+6+7
SPD=JEDEC PC133
SPD=NO 100MHz @ CL2
SDRAM 168P DIMM
TEST TABLE #17
CODE=67
TYPE: UNBUFFERED
ECC=N
CLOCKS:4
SINGLE WRITE OK
PAGE BURST=140MHz
ACCESS TIME FROM CLK
Tac (CL=3): 4.0nS
Tac (CL=2): 4.0nS
Tac RANGE: <PC133>
CL2@100MHz=N
SPEED TEST RESULT:
TEST= PC133 RANGE
FINAL SPEED:133MHz
BASIC TEST OK
TIME: 00:06.4
USER INTERRUPT AT:
SPEED:133MHz
TIME: 00:12.2


Testing a 168-Pin SDRAM and 144-pin SODIMM module.

In the testing mode there are three phases to the test. First the Ramcheck will conduct a Basic Test of the module where it determines module size, type, and fastest functional frequency while also examining for basic wiring, addressing and data bit errors. Errors that occur during this stage of the testing which is done with the module operating withing manufacturers specifications illustrates a real problem with the module.

The more Extensive Test stresses the DRAM module to data and voltage manipulation in an attempt to find any faulty data-bits. If the extensive test passes with a "go", the Ramcheck will enter the third and final test phase - Auto Loop.

In Auto Loop the DRAM module will be stress tested to the extreme by looping the extensive test parameters until the operator stops the test, or a data-bit error is discovered.

Of particular interest are the tests done in the Extensive Test mode:

Data Retention:Provides info concerning the quality of the tested module.

Chip Heat Mode:Automatically warms up the module to test for temperature related problems. These can include speed degradation or memory failure.

Voltage Manipulation Varies conditions of main voltage supplied to the memory device; including voltage cycling and voltage bouncing.

Data bit tests: Data tests can include March up/down exercises which use an algorithm to determine adjacent cell interference.

There are over 100 very informative pages in the Ramcheck manual which go into great detail concerning the different tests, the results which can be displayed and what they mean. We are not going to go into this in any great detail as the information is beyond the scope of this review (and it would just take too long). Suffice to say, the Ramcheck offers a very comprehensive test of the frequency, voltage, and data properties of a memory module.

For more advanced users, or production facilities, the Ramcheck also offers a first hand glimpse at the SPD data, and if you have the proper coding knowledge, the ability to update that information. SPD (Serial Presence Detect) is a small 8-pin EEPROM chip mounted to most DIMM's and basically houses important info for the host computer about the module.

Viewing the SPD of the DRAM, and updating.

255 bytes of SPD information are held on a small 8-pin EEPROM soldered to most DIMM's today. The software which ships with the Ramcheck allows users to view this information directly. Users with the know-how to program SPD code can update the EEPROM with the Ramcheck.

Example from a bad memory stick

The computer interface basically mirrors what you would see on the unit, but with more screen real estate it is easier to digest. In this example test of some really bad memory we picked up for cheap, bad data-bits were detected during the first phase of the testing - a sure indication that the stick was ready to be thrown out. Sure enough, this stick had been causing problems and instability in the computer it was in. If we had the necessary equipment, we could have repaired the stick by removing the TSOP-II module which was identified with the bad data-bits and replacing it.

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Contents of Article: Innoventions Ramcheck
 Pg 1.  Innoventions Ramcheck Advanced Memory Tester
 Pg 2.  Quirks of memory testing - PCB quality is important
 Pg 3.  — Back to testing DRAM - What's done
 Pg 4.  The Ramcheck Unit
 Pg 5.  Software Testing Options
 Pg 6.  14 DRAM Test Results
 Pg 7.  Final impressions

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