CPU-Z is a free program that is a handy tool for monitoring your hardware. Despite its name, the program provides information
not only about the processor but also about the RAM, motherboard, and graphics card.
CPU-Z allows you to quickly get to know the main characteristics of your computer, such as the clock frequency and number
of processor cores, memory frequency and timings, motherboard BIOS version, and PCI-E bus generation.
It also lets you check the stability of your system with features such as performance testing and CPU stress testing.
The first thing you will see after downloading and installing CPU-Z is a window asking you to authorize your computer. It creates an anonymous online report with a detailed description of your computer's hardware and its characteristics (clock frequency, etc.).
After you validate your PC, the data will get into the CPU-Z database, where you can compare the characteristics of your processor with other users of the program.
The CPU-z site with data on CPU characteristics
There is no need to pass validation, instead, you can just close this window or check "Private Validation" which guarantees that the information about your PC hardware will not be available in the CPU-Z database.
- Getting Started with CPU-Z
Once you've gone through the validation step, the main CPU-Z window will open. Don't be daunted by its Windows 95-style exterior; the program is regularly updated and supports all modern hardware.
The names of most of the tabs speak for themselves - CPU, Graphics, Mainboard, Memory. But other names may not be clear to everyone.
For example, the SPD tab is an extension of the RAM tab. SPD stands for Serial Presence Detect and contains information about speed, bandwidth, manufacturers, timings, voltages, and other information about your memory modules (RAM).
- The SPD Tab in cpu-z
If you do not see any information on the SPD tab, click on the "Memory Slot Selection" drop-down list and try another slot.
- Caches Tab
The Caches tab is a logical continuation of the CPU tab, it contains information on the L1, L2, and L3 cache sizes of your CPU.
- Benchmarks in CPU-Z
There is also a Bench tab, the most interactive one in CPU-Z. Benchmarks can be used to benchmark your processor, get a score, and compare the single and multi-core performance of your processor against other users' processors.
- CPU-Z CPU Tests
To do this, go to the "Bench" tab, select the test version from the drop-down list (in this case a non-beta version of the test was used to provide more reliable results), then click "Bench CPU". This will run the performance test for about 30 seconds, then you'll see the result, and when you click on "Submit and Compare" you'll be taken to the CPU-Z website and see your CPU's position relative to others.
- Your score in CPU-Z
Click on the graph to see how your CPU ranks compared to thousands of other people's CPU-Z Validator scores.
Graph with the test results
On the same tab, you'll also find a CPU stress test ("Stress CPU") that runs for 10-15 minutes to check your CPU's stability. Although useful, this stress test is not as reliable as the special processor benchmarks like Prime95 and AIDA64.
- Additional features
At the bottom of the CPU-Z window, you will see a "Tools" button. Click on the arrow to expand the list to see several useful tools.
One of them is "Timers", which you can use to test the ACPI, QPC, and RTC system timers. When you start these timers and then press "Stop" they should show the same number. If they show different numbers then your system clock does not match.
- The function of the timers in CPU-Z
This could be because the motherboard does not support the CPU, or because you have the wrong CPU and memory combination.
A BIOS reset may help to correct the situation.
The "Clocks" tool is a good way to monitor the clock frequency of each of your CPU cores in real-time, as well as the clock frequency of your graphics processor.
- The Clocks tool in CPU-Z
Next, in the "Tools" menu, there is an option to save the CPU-Z report, as well as to save the BIOS and graphics card BIOS to your computer as a text file.
As a result, thanks to CPU-Z you will have a complete overview of the main components of your computer.