Friday, July 30, 2010

CPU-Z V/S DMIDECODE..and..HOW TO USE THEM?

I wouldn't actually call it a post being posted here because amarjeet sir wanted it to be here on the blog..After all those discussions on the first post of this blog over how to get the details of your processor,ram,OS..etc just on the click of a button....and then later over utilities like CPU-Z and DMIDECODE..this had to be there..either as my personal assignment or some question in the class or as it was destined to be..As a post..titled--CPU-Z V/S DMIDECODE..What are these actually??how do I install them and use them??...I hope I end up clearing all your doubts..


OVERVIEW:
Each computer is like a specific human being.. having a processor,ram,hard-disk,motherboard different from others in one or more ways...and getting into the details the complexity of each component increases..some of these computers might have pentium-4,some may have a dual core..the ram might vary from an obsolete SD-Ram to DDR1,2 and 3 Rams..the question is..I have all these locked under my laptop or in my cpu..how do I know what are the details of such components in the machine that I am using without any prior knowledge..


There are several ways to get to know that..however..the most user friendly ones are..

  • If you are working on a windows platform,you could just go to control panel/system...or a shortcut whould be right-clicking your MY COMPUTER icon and selecting properties and then device manager for details about each component, and driver details..

However,some OSs or some specific OS service packages do not provide the necessary information like the Ram type,or may be the the frequency of the Ram..(That's why some of you just couldn't get these details and commented for solutions on the post.

  • This one is a kind of a universal method..which includes getting the data through the SMBIOS or System Management Basic Input/output System which is actually a special software that interfaces the major hardware components of our computer with the operating system.It is usually stored on the Flash memory chip on the motherboard, but sometimes the chip is another type of ROM.










img links: http://www.washington.edu/lst/help/computing_fundamentals/troubleshootingxp/img/bios.gif
http://www.computerhope.com/help/bios4.gif

You can enter the BIOS by just pressing del or F-11,or F-12 key(depending on ur BIOS version and make) while starting up the computer before the OS boots..

However,Some BIOS interfaces from Pheonix and other firms..in some versions..do not provide the necessary,just like mine didn't.It may provide u with more than what the OS provides..but it's still not everything..
  • Now,the most important part of this post..if none of the above work,this is your key my friends..For Windows' users...this is a must have..It can provide you with information and details that Windows or even BIOS do not provide..It's actually a UTILITY(A program that performs a specific task related to the management of computer functions, resources, or files, as password...{{source answers.com}) that helps you get all the details about the following:

CPU
Name and number.
Core stepping and process.
Package.
Core voltage.
Internal and external clocks, clock multiplier.
Supported instruction sets.
Cache information. Mainboard
Vendor, model and revision.
BIOS model and date.
Chipset (northbridge and southbridge) and sensor.
Graphic interface. Memory
Frequency and timings.
Module(s) specification using SPD (Serial Presence Detect) : vendor, serial number, timings table. System
Windows and DirectX version

Source : cpuid.com

How to install this thing?? Just as simple as it can be..Download the software from http://www.cpuid.com/ for free..and just run the executable file..You'll be done.(Please don't try to validate your copy,keeping it unvalidated would do.)

Once installed,the software is user friendly to handle.Requires no input.The screen may look like as below



img source: cpuid.com

Now is the most important part...



HOW DOES THIS WORK?? AND CPU-Z V/S DMIDECODE(Linux)


To get information about a device, whatever it is (CPU, GPU, HDD ...) you have two methods:


1- Hardware level access (aka direct or raw access) or,


2- software level access: drivers, or Windows API.


Method 1 is the most accurate, provides the most precise details, but it is dangerous and requires constant updates. Method 2 is safer, less accurate and easier. CPU-Z uses method 1 for CPU information.


About why is method -1 risky?..I had to work out a simple answer.So it's about the Windows kernel system which is organised in so called rings.Ring 0 being the core of kernal..CPU-Z runs in Ring 0 to get the detailed information digged out.But all other applications we use,run in Ring 3,so if there is any error..Ring N-1(i.e. Ring 2 here.) handles the error.But if unfortunately there is an error in Ring-0.All you get is a blue screen being displayed.(However guys,you get to run CPU-Z in Ring 0 only if you are the administrator of your system.If not,it will follow method-2 and run in Ring -3,thus providing less or incorrect information)


Now,There are also other similar utilities you can try out,close to how CPU-Z works.


One of them is called SPECCY(Thanks to my buddy Apoorv Narang,Ist year, for this information)


Here's the link if anyone needs to try it out http://www.piriform.com/speccy


This is more user friendly,gives enough information about your graphics card too.....


BUT What is DMIDECODE??


First of all,this command is only for use in LINUX. DMIDECODE is actually DMI table decoder.dmidecode is a tool for dumping a computer's DMI (some say SMBIOS ) table contents in a human-readable format. This table contains a description of the system's hardware components, as well as other useful pieces of information such as serial numbers and BIOS revision. Thanks to this table, you can retrieve this information without having to probe for the actual hardware. While this is a good point in terms of report speed and safeness, this also makes the presented information possibly unreliable. The DMI table doesn't only describe what the system is currently made of, it also can report the possible evolutions (such as the fastest supported CPU or the maximal amount of memory supported).
SMBIOS stands for System Management BIOS , while DMI stands for Desktop Management Interface. Both standards are tightly related and developed by the DMTF (Desktop Management Task Force).
As you run it, dmidecode will try to locate the DMI table.You may also use DMIDECODE -t for information not specific to BIOS.If it succeeds, it will then parse this table and display a list of records like this one:


CPU-Z V/s DMIDECODE
Add Image
Well,DMIDECODE can't actually be called a counterpart of CPU-Z on LINUX.There are various reasons:
  • CPU-Z is for Windows,DMIDECODE for Linux.
  • The CPU-Z is an External utility downloaded from the web.But dmidecode is a command,used in the Linux terminal window.
  • So,the Dmidecode tool may be called an internal utility of the Linux.
  • The tables appearing after running DMIDECODE are not that specific,niether do they contain all the necessary details
  • CPU-Z is much more userfriendly as a software,compared to running commands in Linux.
  • CPU-Z is highly detailed as it works in Ring 0 of window's kernal system,DMIDECODE itself doesn't get u all the needed,but some modifications in the command(available on google) can help u get almost everything.

For the lucky ones like AMARJEET SIR,who fortunately use MAC..its a piece of cake..just go to about-Mac..and you are done...(APPLE ROCKS)

Do let me know if this was helpful,I know this was long, but I just couldn't help it.

Comments and Questions are invited from all of you.If any one of you tries any of the above specified softwares,please share your experience with us.

If you need me to post anything you want to know about.Feel free to mail me at

arjun10021@iiitd.ac.in

Thanks
Arjun Ahuja






10 comments:

  1. Awsum.. :)
    Gr8 piece of work ya.. U Really made it easier for me to know about mah computer's parts lyk processor n ol.. Now i'll olso b able to answer in d class if amarjeet sir wud ask nethinn regardin mah RAM, itz frequency n ol different stuff !! :)
    Thannxx.. :)

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  2. Hehe..Thank u so much Akanksha..It's great you found it informative..and I am glad I could help..Thanx again
    Arjun

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  3. My pleasure.. :) BTW ya.. I installed that CPU-Z 5.5 and it was really helpful for me in order to know about everything but i didn't understand 1 thing in it.. Wat are those clocks in it?? n Wat does overclocking mean??

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  4. @akanksha- i dont know which clocks are you talking about as i hav not used the utility.....maybe it is referring to the cpu clocks.....and overclocking is basically the process of running a cpu at a higher clock rate than set by the manufacturer.....manufacturers usually set a specific rate so as to minimize heating and due to other restrictions....but overclockers increase the clock rate bit by bit to achieve performance gains while trying not to fry their cpu (source:wikipedia)

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  5. @Nishant..bang on...
    @Akanksha..just to add to what Nishant said..the clock time of a cpu (or processor) is abt the frequency at which it does the provided tasks..hope u are clear now..

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yeah!! @ nishant n arjun.. Thanks guyzz... :)

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  7. Just thought i'd mention this:

    I'm using Intel Core 2 Duo and have Windows XP OS.

    yesterday i found out that to access my BIOS, i had to press F2.

    Also, how do i find out what my BIOS version is?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Shayan..Surprising to know u are running an XP over core 2 duo..try win 7,it will definitely increase the performance..try it..

    About the BIOS version,When u enter the BIOS..It displays the name and version on top..but if u still can't find it..
    Just download CPU-Z as mentioned above...and install it..U'll find it in the mainboard tab..the name and version of ur BIOS
    Cheers
    Arjun

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  9. Ya, i know that XP is obsolete these days.

    I upgraded to Windows 7 six months back but then when we went for MTNL wireless connection, we found that they dont have the ability to provide Wi-Fi to those who have Windows Vista or Windows 7!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We were forced to get XP again just to get the Wi-Fi connection installed :\

    We haven't had good experience with the other network providers and hence prefer to stick with MTNL which so far has given a reasonable performance compared to the others.

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  10. @shayan..i guess there is sum confusion dere..i have an mtnl wireless broadband.and i earlier had vista..nowadays am using 7..nd today i also used Linux..just get this confirmed at the phone no. 1500..or just meet me once tomorrow
    and i wud also like to comment that mtnl does have the best service around..atleast as compared to airtel and others..

    ReplyDelete