Ultra-X QuickTech 98 PC Diagnostic Evaluation

QuickTech ’98 is a scaled-down version of QuickTech Pro from Ultra-X, Inc., intended for the hobbyist and service technicians who don’t need all of the advanced features. QuickTech ’98 comes on a single floppy disk, and is self-booting, which allows the software to access system components without having to deal with other software and drivers which may interfere with the tests. The package includes a complete users manual with all options clearly described, as well as loopback plugs for the parallel and serial ports (DB9 and DB25).

Once the diagnostic is loaded, the user can select from a number of informational and diagnostic items. These include :

  • Information – This selection provides information about the system configuration, extended CPU information, CMOS RAM info, RTC memory data, IDE drive info, PCI device info, Interrupt vectors and I/O ports.
  • System Board – This option has diagnostics to test the CPU and FPU including control, address, data and flag registers as well as FPU specific checks (such as testing for the FDIV bug). This selection also has operational tests for the DMA controllers, Interrupt controllers, Timer/Counter, Keyboard controller and RTC/CMOS RAM. There is even a Turbo Switch test for older systems.
  • Disk Drives – This option has tests for the floppy and hard drives attached to the system. The diagnostic will test the read and write operation of the floppy drives (you will need a blank diskette) and will test the rotation speed. For hard drives, the diagnostics will test the controller, verify that the drive is ready and the recalibrate circuitry is working, and will perform non-destructive seek test and sequential read test. There is also a floppy head cleaner option for use with any standard floppy head cleaning diskette (not included). Finally, there is a selection to test the transfer rate of IDE CDROMs.
  • RAM – This set of tests provide for the ability to test the base RAM (up to 640K) and extended RAM (up to 2G), External cache (up to 2MB) and the memory refresh circuitry. The memory tests are a subset of those available in the RAM Stress Test software.
  • Peripheral – These tests provide the ability to run internal and external loopback tests on both serial and parallel ports.
  • Keyboard – Allows for testing all of the keys on an 84-key, 101-key and 104-key keyboard
  • Video – Provides basic EGA/VGA tests on video cards and monitors, including all text, graphics and VESA modes. It also tests the video memory.
  • Misc – This option allows the user to test printers attached to the system (including Postscript), and run in Burn-In mode.

As with all the diagnostics we have tested from Ultra-X, this one performed its intended function very well. We tested a number of motherboard, hard drives, memory modules and processors with good results. Using several items with known problems, the software detected bad cache, a non-functioning COM port, a defective floppy drive, some bad memory (which were actually FPM and EDO mixed in the same bank) and a hard drive with bad sectors. These are probably some of the more common problems found by service personnel.

Some of the capabilities found in QuickTech Pro, are not available in this scaled down version. These include the ability to detect DMA conflicts, PCMCIA analysis, Windows/Network configuration info, in-depth memory tests, extensive hard drive and media tests, and speed tests. Therefore, for those who need an extensive set of diagnostics for almost any situation such as a repair shop, this software would probably not be the best choice.

Though the software is not a full-featured as QuickTech Pro, it still provides a fairly comprehensive set of tests which can be used to quickly determine if there are any major component problems. These tests are simple to use, so that a field technician or hobbyist can pinpoint many problems very quickly and easily.

For more information on RST, and other products by Ultra-X, Inc. check out http://www.uxd.com.

As always, we are interested in your thoughts on this review and this product. Please send any feedback to helpdesk@realworldtech.com

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