Usually when purchasing computers or laptops (notebooks) there are manual guide provided for the motherboard specifications, however most people will misplaced after keeping it for so long. Some others don't even have the manual guide making it more difficult for them to know what exactly the hardware computer use and what kind of components the motherboard support. Even computer technician will needs this in order to get the correct parts for replacement/upgrades. Fortunately there is a simple software like CPUID where you can download for free. This is an amazing and simple piece of software that provides the exact specifications of internal hardware the computer currently using and the types of module that computer has. We will explains in detail why
1. Central Processing Unit (CPU) or Processors: Note that there are 2 major manufacturers namely Intel and AMD who makes few different types of processors for different types of needs. For example Intel manufactured processors type (Intel Pentium, Intel Celeron, Intel i3, etc) and AMD manufactured AMD Opteron, AMD Trinity, AMD Sempron, AMD Athlon, etc. Each of these has its own specific socket type on the motherboard. Most computer shop keepers or online stores identify the processors type by its socket.
- Intel = Intel Socket 370 (Intel Pentium 3, Intel Celeron), Intel Socket 775 (Intel Pentium 4, Pentium D, Intel Core 2 Duo , Socket 1156 (Intel i3, i5, i7)
- AMD = Socket G34 (AMD Opteron 6000 Series), Socket C32 (AMD Opteron 400 Series), Socket FM1 (AMD Llano Processors), Socet FM3 (AMD Trinity Processors)
In addition, to buy processors cooling fan also you need to refer to the socket types that motherboard has otherwise buying different fan will not fit the socket module.
2. Memory RAM (Random Access Memory): The function of RAM is to increase the speed performance of the computer. Although memory RAM share common types among all the manufacturers like Kingston, Corsair, Mushkin, Transcend, but there are no generic RAM types that can fit all kind of motherboards. Therefore by knowing the RAM types i.e. PC-3200, PC-2700, SO-DIMM etc enabled you to purchase the exact type to upgrade/replace the RAM. Most computer local computer shops or online store identify the RAM by its Standard Name or Module Name as below.
The CPUID provides the information of the current RAM types the computer is currently using, therefore it's easier to identify exactly which one fits the motherboard.
DDR-200 (Standard Name) = PC-1600 (Module Name)
DDR-266 (Standard Name) = PC-2100 (Module Name)
DDR-333 (Standard Name) = PC-2700 (Module Name)
DDR-400A, DDR-400B, DDR-400C (Standard Name) = PC-3200 (Module Name)
SO-DIMM – DDR1, DDR2, DDR3
Note: Some motherboard require pairing with the same RAM capacity. For example my computer has 4 RAM slots 2 blue and 2 reds. Each pair of these require the RAM to be in the same capacity. For example if currently I have 512 MB on the 1st blue slot to upgrade the 2nd blue slot I need to buy another 512 MB it cannot be different. Likewise if I have 1 GB RAM on the 1st red slot I need to buy 1 GB RAM on the 2nd slot as well. However the blue and red slow can have different capacity of RAM example 1st Red = 512 MB and 1st Blue = 1 GB. Again the CPUID will help you to identify the existing RAM capacity and type the computer have and you can buy the exact same one to upgrade.
3. Graphic Cards Slot Interface: Graphic card interface are divided into 2 common types which is the AGP (Accelerated Graphic Ports) and PIC Express (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) for all ATI and NVidia graphic card technologies. AGP is the older type and it was phased out in 1999 by the newer PCI Express interface. AGP version have 2 types which is the AGP and AGP pro (These 2 types cannot fit the same motherboard. PCI Express has different of slot 1x, 4x, 8x, 16x. Although PCI Express interface maybe compatible to with different slot for example PCIe 1X is compatible with motherboard that as PCIe 16x slot, but it maybe under performing its optimum capability. The CPUID provide the exact detail of the motherboard graphic card interface slot so that you can buy the exact graphic model. Commonly the computer shop identify the graphic card type by either AGP or PCI Express and its interface i.e. 1x, 4x, 16x.
4. The number of generic PCI slot the motherboard has. This is important to know as it gives you option how many additional PCI hardware you can put into the motherboard i.e. Ethernet PCI card, PCI sound card, Extra USB extension port PCI card, TV card. If you have all the PCI slot fully occupied then it is useless to buy additional parts as there is no place to put it.
5. Knowing the computer hardware system not only help users to know the specification their computer hardware but also to find the exact software drivers and utilities to get them work properly. Without the correct drivers all the hardware may under-performing its capability or corrupted and become useless. Installing new software or when system hard disk is re-formatted usually will require re-installation of the software drivers and utilities to get the system back to normal.
Example like Sound Card, USB Port PCI Extension card, Graphic Card, PCI Ethernet Card, etc. Without the correct driver installed these hardwares might not be functioning or under performing I.e the system run slower than normal, the sound card not function or not optimize, and graphic card is not fully optimized.