APPENDIX GUIDE A-6
Alternative methods for Determining Laptop Specifications
If for some reason the CPU Lookup function is unavailable or fails to find a match, there are alternative methods for determining appropriate laptop spec levels.
Identifying the CPU
The first thing we need to know is what kind of processor, or CPU, the laptop has. We may find this information in either the BIOS or the Hardware Detection Tool from the Laptop Network Boot menu.
- Enter the BIOS. The most common shortcut keys are F2, F10, or Delete.
- Look for references to the CPU. These will often contain the manufacturer (Intel or AMD), the brand (e.g. Pentium, Core 2 Duo, Turion 64, etc.), the clock speed, and sometimes the actual model number of the CPU (e.g. T5600, i7-640LM, TL-54, etc.).
- Write down any CPU information you find, and proceed to CPU Charts.
- If there is no CPU info on the main BIOS screen, look for a page or tab called "Advanced" or "Hardware" or something along those lines. If you are still unable to find information about the CPU, try the Hardware Detection Tool.
Hardware Detection Tool
- Access the Network Boot menu:
- Make sure you have a working network cable plugged into the laptop.
- Power on the laptop.
- Use the Network Boot shortcut key (usually F12) or Boot Device Menu (F9, F10, or F12) if available. If these are unavailable, enter the BIOS and make sure Network/PXE/LAN boot is enabled, then save and exit. After it restarts and POSTs, the system should now boot from the network.
- Select Laptop Build from the menu.
- Select Hardware Detection Tool. You can use the up and down arrow keys to scroll through the hardware list; use the right arrow key or Enter to make a selection, use the left arrow key or Escape to back up a level.
- Select Processor from the hardware list. You should now see rows of information about the CPU, including a line that contains the manufacture, brand, model number, and clock speed. Sometimes information is cut off by the edge of the screen. If so, press the right arrow key and you will be able to scroll through the rows of CPU information, and the full contents of the highlighted line with display at the bottom of the screen. Usually the line also contains characters like (R) or (TM) after the words; these are only meant to denote that a brand name is copyrighted or trademarked, and should be ignored.
- Write down the CPU information, and proceed to CPU Charts.
Once we've gotten the general information about the CPU, we can locate it on the included CPU Charts to find out more about it, including its Spec Level. The charts on the next two pages organize laptop CPUs by manufacturer, generation of processor, and brand name, with the model number ranges for a given generation of CPU listed under their brand name. The color of the chart area a type of CPU falls on corresponds to the spec level of that type of CPU. There is a chart for both manufacturers of laptop CPUs (Intel and AMD), so make sure you use the chart that corresponds to the CPU of the laptop in front of you.
- Locate CPU on Chart:
- Flip to the chart for the manufacturer of the CPU of the laptop in front of you (Intel or AMD).
- Find the Brand Name of the CPU on the chart
- Match the Model Number of the CPU to one of the model number ranges listed under the correct brand name
- Note: There could be more than one generation of a given brand name, but different generations will have different ranges of model numbers.
- Once you have found the Brand/Generation that your CPU falls under, match the color of the chart area the CPU falls on to the color key along the top edge of the chart to find the Spec Level.
- Refer to the key or the whiteboard to determine appropriate RAM and Hard Drive amounts for the laptop.
Congratulations! You should now have determined the spec level of the laptop! If you have any further questions or issues, discuss with your friendly neighborhood Laptops Instructor.