Reading hardware information with I-Nex

Information Desk

© Lead Image © Dan Barbalata, 123RF.com

© Lead Image © Dan Barbalata, 123RF.com

Article from Issue 201/2017
Author(s):

I-Nex is a graphical tool that quickly gives you a detailed overview of the hardware installed in your computer.

All major distributions and often also the desktop environments come with tools that help users discover more or less detailed information about the hardware of their computers. However, you may need to use several programs to gain information relating to drivers, kernel parameters, and hardware. Most tools deliver no technical specifications at all for certain components, such as motherboards and laptop batteries. The workaround involves a time-consuming search on the Internet.

I-Nex gives you a detailed overview of the hardware installed in your computer and various software parameters in a far easier and faster way. The compact tool presents all relevant information in a visually appealing form.

Installation

Most distributions have I-Nex in their repositories, so you can usually set up the program on your system conveniently with just a few clicks of the mouse. The project website [1] also provides appropriate installation instructions. On Ubuntu, you set up I-Nex from the project PPA (Listing 1).

Listing 1

Install I-Nex

 

On the I-Nex page, you can pick up the source code of the application, so that you can take a look under the hood. If you are building from the source code, I-Nex needs you to resolve numerous dependencies, including Gambas, Perl, and Python.

After successfully completing the installation, you will find two new entries in the menu structure of the desktop: I-Nex and I-Nex Library. The latter provides information about the libraries used by I-Nex, which the program loads to help it detect hardware and software. You will find the data for the computer in the graphical front-end I-Nex (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Tidy and informative: the I-Nex splash screen.

The clear-cut program window summarizes the information on the hardware, the kernel, and key components of the distribution in almost horizontally arranged tabs. In addition, there is a load indicator in the form of a colored bar with a percentage in the CPU tab.

Informative

Clicking on the CPUID button at the bottom of the program window opens a new view that informs you of the processor speed, memory size, and hardware support for certain technologies, such as command extensions for multimedia or virtualization.

Because modern Intel processors come with a variety of firmly implemented extensions, the list is accordingly extensive. To view information on each point, click on one of the small blue squares: Doing so follows a link that invokes the page associated with the term on Wikipedia in each case (Figure 2). Clicking on the tab CPUINFO bottom left in the window then returns you to the primary screen with the CPU data display.

Figure 2: This screen shows you the capabilities of your computer's CPU.

The GPU tab delivers data on the graphics adapter and the appropriate drivers and modules. If you use a device with multiple graphics cards, say a laptop with a dedicated graphics chip and a chipset-integrated, power-saving GPU, you can use the appropriate selection box bottom right in the program window to toggle between them.

For detailed information about the display and its capabilities via Extended Display Identification (EDID) press the Force button at the bottom center in the window. Among other things, this information helps you find spare parts for notebook displays, because the panel manufacturer with accurate type data for the screen is displayed in the EDID data (Figure 3).

Figure 3: I-Nex provides detailed data about the hardware – the display here.

In the third tab, Mobo, I-Nex shows you all the details it has discovered for your computer's motherboard. The program shows this clearly in a table organized by the categories Board, BIOS, Chassis, and Product.

Comprehensive

In the fourth tab, you will find information on the driver module depending on the audio hardware you have configured. At the top of the display, select the driver in question in a selection box, as long as the system supports it, if multiple sound cards are installed in the computer. These highly detailed displays are particularly useful if you want to take advantage of professional audio software and configure it optimally.

The Drives display is another important panel; it supplies information on the internal or externally attached storage. Combo boxes at the bottom of the window let you select the desired disk and the corresponding partition. I-Nex does not offer hardware tests for your mass storage; you will need additional software such as the Smartmontools and their graphical front-end Gsmartcontrol.

Basic info about the installed operating system is provided in the System tab. Here, I-Nex presents data on the desktop environment, the deployed window managers, the themes, and the installed distribution. You will also find information on the version number of the key components, such as GCC, GLX, and X.org (Figure 4). Pressing the Check button additionally tells the program to determine how many packages are installed on the machine.

Figure 4: I-Nex also delivers information about the Linux distribution.

The Kernel tab summarizes various pieces of information relating to the operating system kernel, including a list of boot parameters. It offers the possibility of analyzing problems caused by startup parameters in the GRUB boot manager.

The Memory tab displays an overview of the memory physically present in the system as well as its utilization. I-Nex permanently updates the data at intervals of a few seconds. You can thus see the size of the shared cache with buffers and the volume of data the system has outsourced to swap.

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  • I-Nex System Info Tool

    Thanks to I-Nex, users can see an overview of all their important hardware inventory information, such as graphics cards, processors, and hard drives.

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