Intel's Frequency ID Utility


I'm sure most of you out there have heard of the nightmares that CPU manufacturers and system integrators face in regards to counterfeit CPU's. By counterfeit I'm talking of CPU's that are remarked to reflect a different speed or CPU model that the part wasn't intended to be. Why would someone bother to do this? There is a simple reason. The company that remarks these CPU's can collect more money for their remarked parts by selling them as higher speed parts. Most computer nuts are all in favor of multiplier-clocking CPUs. However, they would be extremely upset if they went and purchased a CPU with the idea of over-clocking it a bit when in fact the part is really a 300 MHz CPU marked as being a 450 MHz. Unfortunately, remarked CPU's will probably always be a part of the computer industry. Although Intel can't control the remarking of CPU's, they have provided a clever CPU Frequency ID Utility that can provide the user with a report of what their CPU actually is.

My CPU Has An ID?

Just as with most of us in the world, the CPU does indeed have an ID. Besides having product identifiers labeled on the outside of the CPU (which we can't always trust do to remarking) the CPU also has precise instructions embedded into the processor that identifies the CPU. In the past these special instructions were only used by software to determine what type of CPU it was running on so the appropriate code would be executed for special instructions (e.g. MMX, SSE, 3DNow!). The CPUID feature of the utility identifies Intel processors by reading this precise instruction embedded in the processor. The utility translates this instruction, and uses it to display information about your processor. The ID built into the processor provides the information on the stepping and model of the processor. The processor frequency is determined by the CPU Frequency ID Utility, which runs a special algorithm (speed test) to determine at what internal speed the processor is running. Because of this, the utility is only able to determine the frequency and front side bus (FSB) of Pentium III processors.