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Freebie PC Wizard Tells You What Device Manager Can't

Get all the information about your PC's hardware that you need with comprehensive utility PC Wizard 2010.

Contrary to the implications of its moniker, there's really no wizardry involved with PC Wizard. Unless of course you consider a comprehensive querying and report on your system's hardware magic. This free utility from CPUID relays a lot, and I mean a lot of info. Much of said info may be found in Windows Device Manager, but a lot of it can't.

In addition to the usual processor info, PC Wizard reports on the motherboard chipset, exact CPU model (mostly) and cache sizes, voltages, etc. hard drive spindle speed (5400, 7200, etc.), facts that Microsoft doesn't consider useful to the average user. Microsoft is correct; however, the more granular info is very handy to more technical types, repair people, and--dare I say it?--reviewers.

Installing PC Wizard is easy. However, it does want to install the Ask toolbar so don't blindly click through if you don't want that particular piece of software. PC Wizard takes from 5 to 15 seconds to gather basic information about your system when it first runs, and 5 to 10 seconds to gather UPnP info when you select that icon. Network device info requires scanning IP addresses so that of course will take a little while as well. PC Wizard also offers a stability test and benchmarking of various components.

My only gripe about PC Wizard is that it isn't as up-to-date with new hardware as its sister program, CPU-Z, which I've used for years to confirm vendor claims. For instance, it reported that a laptop CPU was a Core i5, but not the 2410M model number which CPU-Z reported. Unfortunately, neither program correctly reported the Radeon GPU used in tandem with the Intel HD graphics on the same laptop.

Despite those oversights, PC Wizard is a must have for any tech's toolbox. The zipped version may be run without installation from a thumb drive. Here's hoping they set it to look for dual-graphics implementations soon.

Note: The authors accept donations for their work. If you find PC Wizard handy, throw a shekel or two their way.

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