Friday, July 30, 2010


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..

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 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:

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 some 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}) that helps you get all the details about the following:

Name and number.
Core stepping and process.
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 :

How to install this thing?? Just as simple as it can be..Download the software from 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:

Now is the most important part...


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

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


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:

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

Arjun Ahuja

Hard drives getting S.M.A.R.T.

Hard drives have to operate at thousands of rpm , work all day long and maintain a distance of the order of microns between the head and the platter (as we got to know in the lab). So, it is natural the hard drives “die”,i.e., they stop working eventually, resulting in the loss of our data and problems for us.But the S.M.A.R.T. supported drives may just tell you before its going to die, to save us the heartburn.

I stumbled upon this term when we had to collect information about our processors,hard drives and system memory. So I tried to find a little more about this lifesaving technology.So here's what i found....

S.M.A.R.T. stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology and it tries to anticipate hard drive failure by keeping an eye on many of the drive’s crucial properties.

S.M.A.R.T. support is built into most ATA and SCSI hard drives these days. If a hard drive has S.M.A.R.T. support , then it keeps monitoring itself for signs which may lead to a drive failure and warns the user/administrator so that he/she may be able to copy the data to another location before the drive dies.

The first drive monitoring system was introduced by IBM in 1992. Another variant was created by computer manufacturer Compaq and disk drive manufacturers Seagate, Quantum, and Conner which was named  IntelliSafe. Compaq submitted their implementation to Small Form Committee for standardization in early 1995. It was supported by various other companies including IBM and was chosen by the committee as the standard due to its flexibility and was named S.M.A.R.T.. According to PCtechguide’s page on  S.M.A.R.T. , the smart technology has evolved from just monitoring hard drive activity for data retrieved by operating system to testing all data and sectors of a drive using “off-line data collection”(when drive is inactive).

A Little Info

The most basic information provided by the SMART system is the SMART status. It has two values , “threshold exceeded” or “threshold not exceeded”,which correspond to “drive about to fail” or “drive okay”.A “threshold exceeded” value suggests that the drive is about to fail,i.e., it will not be able to work according to its specifications anymore.

For more information on a drive’s health, SMART attributes can be examined. there are various types of SMART attributes like read error rate,throughput performance,spin up time etc. which have different threshold values defined by the manufacturer and tend to vary from one manufacturer to another. If a attributes threshold is crossed , it may report an impending drive failure, but it all depends on the implementation of SMART attributes by the manufacturer as these attributes were not included in the standard. A list of all the SMART attributes and meanings of their raw values is available at

Furthermore, some drives also support various self tests and maintenance tests as a part of SMART system to reduce the chances of sudden disk failure.





In linux, one can view the SMART properties using the disk utility or by using smartmontools' smartctl utility. A detailed article on how to use this utility and more about SMART is available at (i havn’t tried it yet, if anybody tries it ,let me know about the results).

disk utility screenshots

links and resources: