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How to ID your chipset and motherboard

How to identify your PC components using SiSoftware Sandra

Firstly, if you do not know what the words chipset and motherboard mean, read this first.

Getting the software

The one stop download... just go straight to the CNET download, which is kept up to date by SiSoft.

OR

Go to http://www.sisoftware.net/

Up at the top menu bar, click Download & Buy.

Choose the option to download the free Lite version.

At the time of writing (January 2005) SiSoft Sandra 2005 is the most recent version.

The SiSoftware web site will detect your Operating System and will present you with a list of possible download links for the correct version you require for your operating system.

Click on one. OR if you are downloading the program for use on another PC with a different operating system, follow the link provided at the top of the page for "All Download Sites for Sandra Lite". 

The download  link will take you to another web site that hosts downloads of SiSoftware Sandra Lite. By finding the link via SiSoft’s own web site, you can be assured that you’ll be downloading an official SiSoftware digitally signed copy. Some sites will ask you to click that you agree to a license agreement before downloading.

Installing the software

“Save” to download the file.

After the download is complete double click on the exe file to install the software.

chipsets, motherboard,sisoft sandra, sandra lite, operating system

Follow all of the prompts to install the complete package, which are self explanatory.

At the end of the installation process, the option to launch SiSoft Sandra Lite will be ticked automatically.

Using the software

When you run SiSoft Sandra, you will be presented with 5 types of modules: Wizard, Information, Benchmarking, Testing and Listing.

chipsets, motherboard,sisoft sandra, sandra lite, operating system

It is the set of Information modules that are most useful to n00bs, or anyone not sure about what hardware is in their PC.

The most reliable way to find out your chipset and motherboard make and model numbers is to run the Mainboard Information module. Simply double click on the icon and don’t move your mouse or touch your keyboard until it has finished. For my dual Opteron system, it takes about 3 seconds, but for an older PC, it could take a few minutes for the software to analyze your system.

VIA Chipset identification

Right at the top under System, and again under the next icon, Mainboard, the manufacturer and model are listed.

In this screenshot MSI is the manufacturer and the model is K8T Master2-FAR.

chipsets, motherboard,sisoft sandra, sandra lite, operating system

You will notice that the chipset is listed as VIA K8HTB. SiSoft Sandra will always accurately detect if the mainboard features a VIA chipset. My mainboard does have a VIA chipset, but K8HTB is not a VIA chipset name. SiSoft do a great job in identifying chipsets with their software, however, we’re still working with SiSoft to provide what they need for 100% accuracy. To be sure, check the chipset ID on the motherboard manufacturer's web site. If SiSoft Sandra 05 reports any of the chipsets listed below, then it is correct:

  • MVP#
  • KT880
  • K8T800 - shown as K8HTB
  • KN2##
  • KM2##
  • KM400
  • KN400
  • P4X2##
  • P4X3##
  • P4M2##
  • PT880

If SiSoft reports any of the chipsets on the list below, double check that the information is correct on the product page of your motherboard model on the motherboard manufacturer’s web site:

  • Apollo Pro/Pro133/A/X
  • Apollo Pro133Z/PL133/PL133T/PN133/PM133
  • KM133/KN133/KT133A/KL133A
  •  KT266/A/333
  •  KT400/A/600
  •  P4X333/P4X400/PT800
  • K8T800Pro, K8M800, K8T890, K8T890Pro
  • P4X400, P4X400A, PT800, PM800, PM880, PT894

Finding your motherboard’s product page

Fire up Google and search for the model or go directly to the manufacturer’s web site and look for the model from there. If you are not familiar with motherboard manufacturer’s names, refer to the list of VIA motherboard partners here. In most cases, the web address is simply http://www.companyname.com.tw/

Tips to finding your motherboard model on a manufacturer’s web site

Use a search function if there is one.

Most motherboard manufacturer’s web sites divide their motherboard lists by socket type and/or CPU type and/or chipset type.

If you have an older PC and you can’t find the model, look for a legacy or archive section.

Look in the products section, not via the support section.

The product page will list the chipset near the top of the page.

If all else fails, use Google to search for the model name. You might find an old review, for example, of the mainboard, that lists the specifications.

Author Name:Fiona Gatt
Published Date:12 January 2005
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