Testing — The Key to Ensuring Quality Memory
Kingston has developed one of the most advanced testing facilities in the industry. Kingston employs a multi-tiered testing system to ensure quality control throughout the design and manufacturing process. Click here for Kingston's testing white paper.
Kingston’s testing process combines:
- Specification testing
- Component qualification process
- Environmental stress, compatibility and reliability testing
- 100-percent production testing
- Quality assurance and reliability monitoring
This complete package makes for the consistent product reliability and compatibility that Kingston customers have come to depend on for more than two decades.
- Getting Started
- Design and Engineering Validation Tests
- AVL Component Qualification
- DRAM Qualification
- Production Testing
- 100-percent Testing
- Quality Assurance and Reliability Monitoring
Kingston engineers and technical professionals first research the computer marketplace to identify the systems that will need to be supported with memory upgrades.
Kingston utilizes state-of-the-art design processes and leads the industry in custom-designed proprietary memory modules. As a member of the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC), Kingston helps set industry standards.
In addition to designing for existing memory technologies, Kingston is dedicated to next-generation technologies.
For any new design, Kingston’s testing process begins once the engineers have a prototype board. Kingston’s testing process closely follows its engineering and quality process, DCAT (Design, Components, Assembly, Test). The modules are tested at each stage of development.
Design and Engineering Validation Tests
Kingston puts each new module prototype through a rigorous testing process to ensure the reliability, integrity and compatibility of its design. Each module is manufactured to be 100-percent compatible with the system or class of systems for which it is designed. Each new design is subjected to a series of reviews and tests. This process includes:
- Specification Test
- Compatibility Test
- Software Benchtop Test
- Signal Quality and Integrity Test
- Reliability Tests
- Guardband Test
- ATE Specification Test
In order to qualify a new module design, the engineer tests the prototype module against the specifications to make sure that the module meets the specifications set forth in the design. Once the prototype is verified, several new modules are produced.
Next, the modules are tested on the system motherboard with the application software and operating systems most commonly used in the system. Kingston not only tests with current operating systems, but with older versions, as well as the latest beta versions of new operating systems. The modules are also compatibility tested with the system manufacturers’ diagnostics.
Software Benchtop Test
Kingston engineers test the modules on system boards with real-world applications. During this test, engineers also run benchmark tests on modules using the independent benchmark tests, including ServerBench, NetBench and WebBench for Server memory, WinStone and WinBench for desktops and MacBench for the Macintosh platform.
Signal Quality and Integrity Test
This test examines the signal quality and integrity of the module. By examining the wave forms and measurements, Kingston test engineers can determine if there are problems with electrical signals reaching their final destination.
Each product family goes through a two-step reliability test. The first puts the module through a series of calibrated hot and cold cycles for up to 1,000 cycles. Next, the module is subjected to a temperature and humidity stress test for up to 1,000 hours.
Also referred to as the Four Corner Test, this test cycles modules through a series of high- and low-voltage and temperature cycles.
ATE (Automatic Test Equipment) Specification Test
ATE specification testing is done on Kingston’s high-end testers that feature proprietary test software. Kingston’s testers can run numerous diagnostic tests on the module at speed.
Only after a module passes all of the engineering tests is it considered for production.
AVL Component Qualification
Component qualification includes:
- DRAM Qualification
- PCB Qualification
Because one of the most important components of a memory module is the DRAM, Kingston strictly qualifies our DRAM suppliers.
Kingston also pre-qualifies the chips for use in our memory designs. Slight physical variances among component manufacturers make this a necessary step. Kingston tests the different brands of DRAM on the modules to determine quality and compatibility.
All of the DRAM used in Kingston memory products are fully tested by our pre-qualified suppliers. We review and qualify our suppliers manufacturing and testing processes. In addition, we perform regular factory audits.
AVL (Advanced Validation Labs) is a technology services company specializing in the pre-production and post-production testing and validation of memory to industry OEMs.
Another important component for a memory module is the Printed Circuit Board (PCB). As system and memory speeds increase, the quality of the PCB is becoming increasingly critical. This is why Kingston puts strict requirements on PCB suppliers for impedance control.
Kingston has always had an unwavering practice of 100-percent production testing of all finished goods. This means testing every cell on every chip on every module. On a 128MB module, that is 1,024 million cells.
Kingston utilizes several different types of testers in our production testing process. Kingston’s testers often utilize Kingston proprietary designed software and/or hardware. Our proprietary production test software checks for speed, proper addressing and runs a variety of patterns to check for weaknesses in the memory chip itself. In addition, we can run custom patterns that screen modules for problems specific to certain chips, system boards or operating environments.
One key factor that sets Kingston’s testing process apart is our expertise in designing and effectively utilizing test equipment and software. Kingston designs test software and hardware specifically for use in testing module level technology, which results in product that is tested more thoroughly.
In addition, we recruit professionals and implement the necessary resources to accurately and efficiently implement the test procedures. Kingston continually invests in the latest test equipment and in improving our custom-designed test hardware and software.
Quality Assurance and Reliability Monitoring
Even after modules have reached mass production, Kingston’s continues to monitor our module quality by sample testing select modules for reliability.
In addition, Kingston uses a feedback loop procedure to ensure that any technical issues are addressed, followed up on and resolved. This includes performing root cause analysis and keeping detailed records on any issues found in the field or during internal testing.
These extreme measures make for memory that works on arrival and results in dependable, reliable product for the long term. Kingston’s testing process has continually pushed the industry standard higher. By employing a multitiered testing system, Kingston product is tested fully at every step in the production of a module. Whether it's on a new module or a module that has been in production for years, Kingston tests with the same commitment to quality, compatibility and reliability.
Kingston memory has become recognized the world over for proven quality in:
- Proprietary cutting-edge technology
- Advanced quality control measures
- Dedication to being best-of-class
Kingston’s quality is not limited to testing processes. It is displayed in our dedication to service and support. Kingston backs every memory module with a lifetime warranty, free technical support, and hassle-free RMA service. All of Kingston’s processes have been backed by ISO 9001 certification since 1994.
Kingston will continue our unwavering commitment to quality assurance, product reliability and customer service.