January 28, 2023
BLKstudio/Shutterstock.com A power virus places a high load on a processor (CPU or GPU) in order to generate heat that can potentially damage the device. It may refer to malicious code but is commonly also used as a name for stress testing software.There are many different types of computer viruses, but a power virus can…

BLKstudio/Shutterstock.com

A power virus places a high load on a processor (CPU or GPU) in order to generate heat that can potentially damage the device. It may refer to malicious code but is commonly also used as a name for stress testing software.

There are many different types of computer viruses, but a power virus can be especially malicious. Ironically, this sort of code also has a valid use in hardware design and resilience testing. Here’s why.

What Is a Power Virus?

A “power virus” is a piece of computer code that forces a CPU or GPU to run at maximum power dissipation. This generates a large amount of thermal energy, with the aim of causing the processor to run at or above a temperature that exceeds the thermal design power (TDP) rating.

TDP is used in chip design to specify a level of heat that the cooling system should be able to handle while under load. It’s sometimes referred to as thermal design point or thermal design parameter. A CPU with a TDP rating of 80w would be expected to…

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