iTunes, more than a media player
iTunes must rate as the Apple product I use the most. iTunes is in use from the time I start-up the box in the morning, to I shut down much later. Music, I cannot work or live without it.
However, iTunes has proven much more than a media player over the years. It has done double duty in a role which I am quite certain Apple never anticipated, as a PC tester.
iTunes for testing PC’s
No, I am not joking. I have used this app regularly over the years to stress test new PC builds. iTunes uses a CPU at 100% duty cycle to convert CD or AIFF files to MP3. Where a PC might have heat related problems, this is one sure-fire way of testing the ‘box’ to discover if there are any overheating problems.
Give iTunes 30 minutes of continuous conversion work to do, and any possible overheating which might cause stability problems and the famous windows blue screen of death (BSOD) will certainly be found.
This test became a standard procedure during the days of Intel’s hot and toasty Northwood P4 processors.
I had a work box back then that had an annoying habit of shutting itself down during video capture. I just happened to notice that when iTunes rips music, it runs a high CPU duty cycle (100%), and decided to see what would happen if I tried to convert more than a single CD of audio to MP3. Sure enough, after 15 minutes, the box shut itself down….
A few days later, and a massive aftermarket cooler attached to this (P4 2.8G Northwood) CPU, and the box was rock stable, no matter what could be thrown at it. From then on, every PC build that went out of my workshop (I was building gaming platforms mostly in those days) had been stress tested by iTunes for at least 60 consecutive minutes (all were kept running for a minimum of 24 hours before delivery). Read the rest of this entry