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The 5 best hardware information tools for Linux

Finding system information on Windows is simple. You right-click on My Computer, select properties, and it’s right there. With Linux, finding a readout of your Computer’s hardware is difficult. Many Desktop Environments on Linux don‘t offer as easy of a way to see a readout of your computer system information. As a result, many new users get frustrated.

To solve this problem, we’ve compiled a list of the best hardware information tools for Linux!

Note: all of the hardware information tools on this list are open source and can easily run on most modern Linux distributions.

1. CPU-X

CPU-X: it’s the Linux equivalent to the popular Windows system information program CPU-Z. It gives detailed system information about your CPU on Linux, as well as useful information about the operating system, RAM usage, etc.

While there are a lot of CPU information tools on Linux, CPU-X remains one of the most popular due to it’s easy to navigate interface.

Notable Features:

  • CPU-X has a near identical user interface to CPU-Z, the popular Windows CPU info program.
  • CPU-X can view the live temperature of your CPU in Celsius.
  • In addition to showing CPU information, CPU-X can tell you what your motherboard model number and manufacturer is, as well as the BIOS version and chipset.
  • The CPU-X tool can show how much RAM the computer it is running on has, as well as the clock speed and model number.
  • Has a “System” tab that can give information about the Linux OS, including things like Kernel version, distribution, hostname, memory in use, and much more.
  • CPU-X’s cache feature allows the user to view a readout of the CPU cache, and monitor its speed in real-time.
  • The program is distributed in AppImage format, which means that every Linux distribution can run it, even if it doesn’t enjoy direct support from the developer.

2. I-Nex

I-Nex is a graphical system information tool for Linux that gathers your system’s hardware information into a neat, CPU-Z-like interface.

The I-Nex program can display your hardware info, like the amount of system RAM, CPU model/speed, GPU info. It also shows software information like the Linux kernel version, GCC, Xorg, GLX, etc.

Notable Features:

  • Very similar to CPU-Z, and has a closely replicated user interface that users will feel at home with.
  • Reports CPU temperature (in Celsius).
  • I-Nex has a built-in screenshot feature that makes it easy to show off system specs to friends (or record keeping).
  • I-Nex has dedicated info tabs that give detailed stats on your CPU, GPU, Motherboard, Audio, hard drives and operating system.
  • It is possible to export the I-Nex system information report (CPU, GPU, etc.) and upload it directly to a paste service like Pastebin, Slexy, and others. Better yet, the system report generation feature is customizable, and users can choose what I-Nex tab(s) to upload to the web.

3. Hardware Lister (lshw)

Hardware Lister (aka the lshw) command, is a small Linux utility that users can use to find out information about their hardware. The program is extensive and gives information about every, from how much RAM is installed, to the speed of your hard drives.

Lshw is a favorite in the Linux community due to how easy it is to pipe with other programs, especially the Grep tool, which lets users filter out specific keywords in the command output.

Notable Features:

  • Works well with the Unix ecosystem and can interact with other commands easily.
  • Hardware Lister lets users output system information in plain text, XML, and HTML formats for easy reading.
  • In addition to running in the terminal, Lshw comes with a graphical interface that can be used to read system information more clearly.
  • The graphical interface for Lshw supports exporting system reports in various formats, just like the terminal.
  • Hardware Lister’s “businfo” feature can print out a detailed report of a computer’s buses (USB, PCI, SCSI, etc.)
  • The “sanitize” feature allows users to suppress device serial numbers from the output report, to protect privacy.
  • With the “class” feature, users can make the Lshw command display only certain classes of hardware connected to the computer.

4. Neofetch

A quick way to find system information is by opening a terminal and running a command. However, many of the built-in system info commands are jumbled, and the average person has trouble reading them.

Neofetch is a better way to view system information. When run, it condenses your system specs down to an easily readable print-out. It shows off the name of the Linux distribution you’re running, kernel information, uptime, screen resolution, CPU, GPU, and much more!

Notable Features:

  • Neofetch displays system information in an aesthetically pleasing way, making it perfect to off in desktop screenshots.
  • The program is designed to be customizable and has many different command options that let the user change how info is displayed.
  • Though Neofetch displays your OS logo by default, it is possible to change it to better suit your sense of style, thanks to the “image” feature.
  • Neofetch works with every operating system that supports BASH, even Mac OS, Haiku and other non-Linux platforms.

5. Hwinfo

Hwinfo is a hardware probing tool developed by the OpenSUSE Linux project. Its primary use is to generate system spec reports through the terminal. Like the Hardware Lister tool, it’s possible to combine this program with other terminal applications (like Grep) for added features.

Notable Features:

  • Hwinfo has a “short” feature that can reduce its usually large hardware readout into an easier to read report.
  • Can optionally report RAID devices in a system information summary.
  • The “HW ITEM” feature allows users to generate custom system reports that only include certain hardware devices.

Conclusion

Every desktop environment on Linux and every Linux distribution should have an area where the user can go to view hardware information.

The Linux community is full of different ideas, so it’s unlikely for everyone to come together and make such a feature happen. Thankfully, we’ve got plenty of third-party system info tools for Linux that help pick up the slack!

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