Let’s say that you have a computer that you don’t know anything about its parts. I am going to show you how to identify computer hardware with the help of a very useful and free program.
This is very helpful if you need to know what are the basic computer parts of a computer but you don’t have the manuals of the components and you are bored to open the pc case to visual check them. Also another case you need such information is when you want to download updated drivers for specific components such as chipset or video card drivers.
First of all before proceeding to the program let’s see what are your alternatives. The first place to look at is at the device manager (Right click on the “My Computer –> Properties –> Device Manager). In an already setup system you can find some basic information of the computer hardware. But if the drivers are missing then you may not identify computer hardware as the devices will be listed as “Unkown Devices“.
Another solution is just to open the pc case and check the components one by one. Not so easy in most cases.
The quicked solution is to download and run a very helpful program called CPU-Z. You can find it here. It is very small and does not need installation. Just download the RAR version and decompress it with a free compression software such as 7-zip or WinRAR. This program will show you details about your installed hardware.
You can identify your Motherboard, CPU, RAM and Video Card. Let’s see some screenshots.
How to Identify your CPU
When you run the program you will see a screen like the above. So what it tell us now?
Everything we need to know about our CPU is listed here. You can find basic info such as the model, the socket, the frequency, the number of cores and threads, the manufacturing process as well as more advanced details such as the actual core speed, voltage, multiplier, bus speed and Cache info.
In our example we have an Intel Core i7 2600K, this is the model, which is also known with the code name “Sandy Bridge” running at 1600Mhz right now but with stock speed at 3.40 Ghz. Confused? This processor changes its frequency dynamically according to its work load and that’s why we see it running at 1.6 Ghz. This means that it is idle. If we stress it then its frequency increases. If you plan to overclock your CPU then this program is a must have for checking current operation values of your CPU.
Pressing in the next tab about caches you will see something like the following:
It is a more detailed view of the CPU cache memory.
Identify your Motherboard
In the “Mainboard” tab you can view details of your motherboard.
Details such as the motherboard manufacturer, the specific model, the chipset, the revision number and BIOS information can be found here.
We see in our example that the motherboard of this computer is a Gigabyte P67A-UD5 which has a P67 chipset that is compatible with the “Sandy Bridge” processors. The BIOS version is the F6 just in case that you want to update it and you don’t remember the actual version.
There are also some details about the graphics interface. Here our motherboard supports PCI-Express x16 video cards.
Identify Computer Memory
The “Memory” tab shows information about the installed RAM as a whole.
We can see the type of the RAM memory, which in our case is DDR3, and also its size which is 8 GB in total. You can also view more advanced details of the memory and these are the timmings. These are very important to power users that overclock their computers.
In our system our memory frequency is at 1600Mhz, it is the double of the DRAM frequency because we have a double data rate( DDR) SDRAM . For more information about computer memory please check the Types of Computer Memory.
In the “SPD” tab you can see details of every RAM module.
You see the drop down menu at top left? From there you can select every memory slot of the motherboard. Our motherboard has four DDR3 slots. We are viewing now the “Slot 1″ which has a RAM module installed on it. If the selected slot does not contain a RAM module then you will see all the table fields below empty. Our motherboard has two identical RAM sticks installed in slots 1 and 3.
We can see everything about our RAM in this tab. Basic details such as the RAM manufacturer, size of the DIMM, operational frequency and bandwidth as well as advanced information such the different modes of operation that are supported. We see that our memory supports 4 modes of operation. The difference between them is the frequency in relation to the timings and voltage.
Identify Video Card
Finally we can retrieve some information about the installed video card.
We can see that the video card installed is an ATI Radeon HD 4870×2. The drop down menu on top contains all the available GPUs. This card has two ATI 4870 GPUs and that’s why the drop down menu is selectable. In multi GPU systems that have two or more graphics cards someone can get details for all of them.
I believe that CPU-Z is one of the best system information programs if you want to identify the most important computer hardware. Try it for yourself and let us know how you find it.