Hard Disk Drives /Solid State Drives
– We mount them as secondary storage devices, and run PCMark7, PCMark Vantage, and PCMark05. Depending on the SATA interface that they’re using, we also run transfer tests. If the said storage device runs on SATA 3Gb/s, a 1GB file is transferred. If it runs on SATA 6Gb/s, a 1GB and 4GB file is transferred.
– Graphics cards are tested by running a number of synthetic benchmarks in addition to real-world tests. We usually run 3DMark11, 3DMark Vantage, and Unigine’s Heaven 3.0 benchmarks. Once we’re done with those tests, we run the latest DirectX 11 games that include DiRT 3 and Batman: Arkham City to see how well the card performs in real world situations.
– Motherboards are tested by using our synthetic benchmarks that include PCMark7, PCMark Vantage, and PCMark05. Once the benchmarks are complete, we attempt to overclock the CPU and once again run PCMark7 to see just how stable that board is, and how much of a performance gain there is.
Speakers and Home Theater Systems
– When a speaker system comes to us, we usually burn-in the speakers by playing some music on it for a couple of days. Once burnt-in, we play a variety of music genres on it to see how well it performs in these different genres. For Home Theater systems, movies are also run, to see how close to a cinematic experience is obtained.
Notebooks/Ultrabooks and Desktops
– Notebooks/Ultrabooks and desktops are tested by running PCMark7, PCMark Vantage, and PCMark05. Depending on the specs, we may also run games, a synthetic GPU benchmark, and Full HD movies on them to see how well they perform. Battery life on notebooks and Ultrabooks is tested by running Powermark.
– When testing displays and televisions, we usually let the displays (especially LCDs) to warm up a little before proceeding with our testing. This is done so as to get the most accurate color reproduction the display or TV has to offer. We test displays by opening text files to check for bleeding, and our Gretag Macbeth chart to see color reproduction accuracy. For TVs, we run several Full HD movies and look for ghosting effects, while keeping an eye on general image quality.
– Whenever a camera comes in for a review, we first take a picture of our Gretag Macbeth chart for color reproduction, ISO performance and get a general idea of overall picture quality. We then head outside to grab more pictures and judge real-world performance. During our real-world tests, we’ll also experiment with the various unique features of the camera.
– For printers, we print various pages depending on what sort of printer we’re testing. Monochrome printers are tested by printing a 25-page black and white text document, an eight-page PDF, and one black and white photo. For color printers, the same 25-page black and white text document and eight-page PDF in addition to a 25-page document with colored images and the Gretag Macbeth chart is printed. Each print task is timed. Lastly, for All-In-One printers, a colored image is scanned, in addition to the above said prints.
Network Attached Storage (NAS)
– Testing NAS devices consist of us transferring a 1GB file from a host PC to the device, and timing the amount of time needed for that process. Other interesting features of the NAS is also tested.
Power Supply Units (PSUs)
For PSUs, our objective is to see how efficient a PSU is. First, we connect the PSU to our testbed as well as a Power Meter, and take note of the phantom power consumption. We then power up our testbed and leave it on idle for five minutes before taking another reading. Finally, we run Batman Arkham City to see just how much the PSU outputs, and if the supply fluctuates a lot.