Two Favorites: CPU-Z And GPU-Z
Before we get into the applications you’ll use to actually tweak and tune, we’d like to tell you about two applications that we feel are essential sources of system information: CPU-Z and GPU-Z. These two small programs—which actually have nothing in common beyond the similarity of their names—let you display information about your hardware. CPU-Z does this for the CPU, motherboard, and memory. GPU-Z provides information about your graphics card.
CPU-Z: The Benchmark
CPU-Z is an extremely complete and effective French-developed application, updated regularly to support the majority of processors and chipsets available on the market. It lets you access the CPU and bus frequencies, CPU voltage, memory frequency and timings (via SPD), and so on. The software also includes functions for validating overclocking scores, to avoid cheating.
Before you embark on your overclocking journey, you’ll want to download CPU-Z here.
Tips: You need to make sure you’re using the latest version of the software if you want to validate scores. If you’re using an older version of the program, validation may be refused.
GPU-Z: Increasingly Popular
GPU-Z, despite its similar name, wasn’t developed by CPUID—the folks who brought you CPU-Z—and has no connection to them. It is a small program dedicated to displaying extremely useful information about graphics cards. This includes the exact name of the card, the type of GPU used, the GPU, memory, and shader frequencies (if the card is compatible), the number of ROPs, bus memory width, and more. The program is still in development, and could use a bit of improvement on the practical level, but it’s perfectly usable.
You can find the latest version of GPU-Z over at techpowerup.com.
Tip: It’s possible to save the BIOS of a graphics card with GPU-Z by clicking the button under the logo of the card. Then you can open the BIOS file and modify it.