PC Wizard 2008 is a freeware utility that provides detailed system information in a clearly presented way. Furthermore, it comes with a couple of system benchmarking tools that enable you to measure the performance of several hardware components.
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The Outlook-like user interface makes it easy to access all the integrated tools fast. There are five sections: Hardware, Configuration, System Files, Resources, and Benchmark.
The Hardware section has 13 tools: System Summary, Mainboard, Processor, Video, IO Ports, Drives, Printers, Devices, Multimedia Network, Power Status, Voltage/Temperature/Fans, and Windows Hardware Experience Index. Some of the information provided by these tools can also be accessed with the onboard Windows System Info tool, but PC Wizard 2008 presents them in a nicer way and also offers more details.
When minimized, PC Wizard shows a transparent On Screen Display gadget which presents information about the current CPU load and the temperature of each processor core. PC Wizard requires only approximately 16MB RAM, so you can let it run in the background if you want to be informed constantly of how much your computer is sweating under the load you are imposing on it.
The only complaint I have about the hardware detection is that my eSATA adapter wasn’t recognized as a disk controller in the Drives section. Instead PC Wizard listed it as a SCSI controller in the Devices Section. The same applied to the RAID controller. My eSATA hard drives were recognized correctly, though.
The Configuration section offers 21 tools which provide information about any Windows setting you can think of. Just to give you an idea of how detailed the information is here, PC Wizard tells you the number of installed Vista Sidebar gadgets and Web Browsers. What was a bit scary is that it displayed my Live Messenger password in clear text. Now you know why you shouldn’t store passwords in applications.
Not all the information provided in the Configuration section was correct. It claimed that the total memory of my laptop is 4GB even though it was equipped with 8GB of physical memory. This reminded me of my experiences when I bought this notebook recently. All PC shops (except the guys at Dell) claimed that there is no such thing as a laptop with 8GB. Perhaps PC Wizard uses the same information source. 😉
More likely is that PC Wizard had problems with Vista x64 because the information in the Details pane was contradictory. It even wanted to make me believe that my new baby only has 1MB of physical memory. I must admit I was a little offended. Anyway, in PC Wizard’s defense it ought to be said that the Hardware section displayed the correct memory information.
Some of the benchmark tools notified me that the test results will not be significant because I run them on a 64-bit system. All of them worked, though. I was quite pleased about the results, so I tend to believe that the benchmarks were correct. 🙂 These are the system benchmarks PC Wizard supports:
- Processor (Dhrystone (MIPS), Whetstone (MFLOPS), Mandelbrot fractal...)
- L1, L2, L3 Cache, RAM (Bandwidth, Latency...)
- Main Memory (Bandwidth, Latency...)
- Hard Drives
- CD/DVD Rom
- DirectX 3D
- Removable/Flash Support
- MP3 Compression
- VISTA Experience Index
The other two sections are rather unspectacular. System Files provides the contents of 21 common system files (boot.ini, system.ini, Eventlog, etc.) and Resources offers information about Interrupt Requests (IRQs), Direct Memory Access (DMA), I/O Ports, Memory Resources, and Network Connections.
PC Wizard 2008 has quite a few features for a free tool. It would be great if there were a portable edition. This would allow the help desk guys to get an overview of the PC’s status quickly. I tested PC Wizard 2008 version 1.871.
What is your favorite system information tool?
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PC Wizard 2008
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I love PC Wizard! I’ve been using it since 2006 for the hardware detection. If a fresh Windows install doesn’t have drivers for some of the hardware in a machine I’m working on, I use PC Wizard to find out what the network card, video, sound and such is rather than having to open up the case. When the memory detection works right it’s also handy to find out what type of memory the system takes as well as how many open slots there are in the system.
Yeah it is really a great tool. I wonder why I only found out about it now. It wasn’t in any tool collection I used lately.
Are we talking suitable a worthy rival to programs like Belarc and WinAudit. I use WinAudit because, its portable, unlike the free version of Belarc.
..and the fact that PC Wizard 2008 gives incorrect information is not a ringing endorsement.