Config Boards vs. Standalone Systems

Config Boards vs. Standalone Systems

Hardware compatibility tests have evolved over the years. Originally used exclusively for video games, they are now applied to standalone applications and professional software as well (although games are still a big driver).

In general, there are two approaches to hardware compatibility testing: so-called ‘config boards’ and standalone systems. Here we explain the differences between the two:

Config Boards

What are they?

Config Boards are a bare motherboard, CPU, and hard drive, to which any power supply, video card and amount of RAM can be added. These systems are typically lab-built, although you can use robust OEM systems as well.

What are the benefits?

  • Easy to work inside
  • Provide an easily repeatable and consistent baseline for testing individual component compatibility and performance (in practice, usually video cards)
  • Good for desktop testing

What are the downsides?

  • Homogeneous compared to a ‘wild’ sample
  • Considerable handling required
  • A project using only config boards will take longer and incur higher IT-related costs
  • Not good for testing integrated GPUs or laptop components

Standalone Systems

What are they?

Standalone systems, as the name suggests, are discrete desktop configurations, usually tested in their ‘off-the-shelf’ OEM configuration. Generally speaking, each system is only tested once, in one configuration.

What are the benefits?

  • Increase the diversity of component testing
  • Closer to a ‘wild’ sample group than config boards
  • Works well for testing components that are not swappable, such as laptops and embedded GPUs

What are the downsides?

  • Performance can be difficult to compare
  • Configurability is often limited, particularly by form factor and motherboard.

To learn more about our testing processes, contact Beta Breakers today.

Written by Beta Breakers

Beta BreakersWith Experience in Quality Assurance & Testing Desktop Software, Mobile Apps, Websites & Web Applications for Nearly 30 Years Beta Breakers has become the Premier Software Quality Assurance Labs and Application-Testing Provider - Learn More Here

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