Charlie Harvey

Motherboard details from the GNU/Linux commandline

A quick bit of commandline-fu today. And a trick that I always spend ages having to search the web for. Its often the case that you want to find the exact serial number or model or chipset of your motherboard. There is a wonderful command called dmidecode which fetches the DMI data from your machine’s BIOS. That’s Desktop Management Interface for those of you who don’t speak acronym. For those of you who don’t speak jargon its a standardized way for your BIOS to share details about your motherboard, processor and other components with your operating system. The Wikipedia article about DMI is brief but informative.

If you are using a recent Debian, then it is probably already installed. If not just type your system’s equivalent of# aptitude install dmidecodeThe dmidecode tool is available on many UNIX variants as well as on GNU/Linux; the home page lists the following:

  • Linux i386, x86-64, ia64
  • FreeBSD i386, amd64
  • NetBSD i386, amd64
  • OpenBSD i386, amd64
  • BeOS i386
  • Cygwin i386
  • Solaris x86
  • Haiku i586

You can get all the data out of dmidecode by simply issuing a quick$ sudo dmidecodeIf you are after a particular piece of information you can use dmidecode to return just the string in which you are interested, for example$ sudo dmidecode --string baseboard-product-name Aspire 8920The strings that dmidecode can pull out for you are as followssudo dmidecode --string dmidecode: option '--string' requires an argument String keyword expected Valid string keywords are: bios-vendor bios-version bios-release-date system-manufacturer system-product-name system-version system-serial-number system-uuid baseboard-manufacturer baseboard-product-name baseboard-version baseboard-serial-number baseboard-asset-tag chassis-manufacturer chassis-type chassis-version chassis-serial-number chassis-asset-tag processor-family processor-manufacturer processor-version processor-frequency

My most common use case is to find a few details about the motherboard, manufacturer, model and so on. So I normally combine dmidecode with grep, to pull out the base board section from dmidecode’s results. Here I’m looking at my desktop.$ sudo dmidecode | grep -A4 'Base Board' Base Board Information Manufacturer: Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd. Product Name: GA-MA69VM-S2 Version: x.x Serial Number: On my laptop the same command produces this.$ sudo dmidecode | grep -A4 "Base B" Base Board Information Manufacturer: Acer Product Name: Aspire 8920 Version: Aspire 8920 Serial Number: Not Applicable


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