CPU-Z: The easy way of having a look at your computer’s clockworks

Let’s engage ourselves in a fun little ‘experiment” and take a few steps back in order to look at the PC user community world-wide. Now, one of the most interesting noticeable traits is that there are at least two types of PC users, and these two most distinctive categories are formed by those who are interested in how their hardware works, and those who are interested in their hardware to work, period.

Most likely, an individual who resides in the second category is in the possession of a more practical personality and wishes to be able to drive the car at work safely and in time without having to know what’s going on under the hood, fire-up the office computer and in case something goes wrong, kindly leave it in the hands of those who are qualified to fix it. I agree, this is a cerebral practice and in most of the cases it saves a lot of time and trouble, but does it always?

Truth of the matter is there are situations when your PC isn’t acting right due to minor issues which could be solved in a matter of minutes if you had the proper information at your disposal (such as knowing your model of GPU so that you get the right drivers for it). The good news is that there are tools and utilities specialized in providing system information to the user so if you want to embrace the do-it-yourself perspective, CPU-Z might be amongst the very first tools that will introduce you to this practice.
In a nutshell, CPU-Z is able to provide the user a large array of hardware information, from manufacturer/model to frequencies, voltage or cache, all in real-time and with great accuracy.

Cpu-Z Screens

Installation & Requirements

Although CPU-Z is a very useful tool that can please novices and power-users alike, sadly it makes a rather bad first impression due to the presence of the Ask toolbar in the installation process, but on the other hand CPU-Z somewhat redeems itself by offering its features for free with no restriction whatsoever.

CPU-Z is an exclusive Windows OS program, it comes in both 32 and 64 bit flavor, and it is supported by Windows 95/98/Me/2000/XP/Vista/Win 7/NT

Interface

There’s not much to tell about the CPU-Z user interface as it doesn’t come with anything out of the ordinary, nor your usual pack of features such as customization options (and any other preferences for that matter) or  a resizable window.

What you get instead is a tab-based main window which will enable the user to easily navigate throughout different menus that provide information regarding the system’s hardware. Each tab corresponds to a component and by clicking these tabs you will be presented with pretty much everything you need to know regarding the piece of hardware in question.

To sum this up, the CPU-Z user interface is simple and non-customizable but it stays true to the purpose of enabling quick access to a large array of hardware information. It’s easy to use and it will definitely be found practical by both inexperienced users and veterans alike.

Last but not least there’s one certain feature which is worth mentioning for those of you who have a soft-spot for boasting your beefy or overclocked computer. CPU-Z offers the possibility to “validate” your copy of CPU-Z, a process that once you undergo it will enable you to share your CPU-Z hardware information with Facebook, Twitter and the CPUID community.

Pros

– Self-explanatory, easy to comprehend user interface
– It provides a fair array of hardware information
– Free to use indefinitely

Cons

– The installation process contains adware

Alternatives

In case CPU-Z is not really what you were looking for, don’t despair as there are quite a few alternatives out there which might better suit your needs.

One of these alternatives is Speccy, a system information tool that can supply all the information provided by CPU-Z and then some more, including hardware temperatures. Speccy is free to use and offers a customizable user interface which might represent a plus for those of you who were turned off by the simplistic CPU-Z design.

In case you intend on taking this entire “do-it-yourself” concept one or two steps further, than you might be interested in AIDA64, the rightful successor of Everest, a highly complex program which offers much more than a way to get your eyes on hardware information. Nevertheless, be warned that the extra features offered by AIDA 64 come at a price.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a system information tool then CPU-Z might be your best bet, regardless if you’re new to the practice of digging deeper into your PC or you’re a power-user which devours overclock at breakfast. CPU-Z offers a practical user interface, a large array of information and mind you, it’s all free.