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  • Spotting fakery in system specs

    Posted on Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Spotting fakery in system specs

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      • #1920059 Reply
        Tracey Capen
        AskWoody MVP

        LANGALIST By Fred Langa We all assume that Windows’ built-in System Information and Device specifications applets are reporting a PC’s true specs. And
        [See the full post at: Spotting fakery in system specs]

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      • #1920808 Reply

        No the built-in Windows software can not be trusted and it took ages for MS to include any task manager ability to monitor the GPUs in PC/Laptops until that was added to the task manager in windows 10, and still that’s insufficient for proper monitoring of system hardware. And as far as laptops are concerned, it’s probably because the laptop OEM’s do not want folks being able to query the laptop’s full and proper specifications on those demo units at the big box retailers and such.

        It’s funny that the US DOT and the EPA can require proper automobile specifications be readily made available by the dealers but OEM laptops are a crying shame with some system specifications obfuscation purposely done by the laptop OEMs’ marketing departments.

        If any potential laptop owner is also wanting proper Graphics Driver support from the device’s OEM well that’s a hit or miss situation for the proper system info available before the sale and any support after as well.

        There is mostly only third party software available that can only be installed after the sale and that’s really the problem. And Microsoft’s MSI and installer tools are not that great either for properly and completely removing Graphics Driver software and giving the user a better API/Subsystem UI to properly see just where such Graphic Driver components are in the various directories and files spread across the system and it takes more third party tools sometimes to properly and fully remove the AMD, Nvidia, Intel graphics drivers so newer versions can be installed or some broken functionality can be fixed by doing a graphics driver reinstall.

        So what’s available as standard from Microsoft on most consumer versions of Windows is not very complete and accurate/readable system information for the average end user who is not well versed in the dark arts of the registry editor and other such tools of the wizards. And MS is not the sole entity responsible for the GPU monitoring software that is sorely lacking as an out of the box installed experience on OEM laptops and the GPU makers and Laptop OEMs share in that responsibility.

        A good example of the ability to be able to game the system specification readings is that there is no required set of standards for properly displaying that information in an absolutely UN-gamable manner by the PC/Laptop OEMs and the OS makers as well. Just look a some early Thunderbolt(TB2, and TB3 mostly) equipped laptops and some Laptop OEM’s not providing sufficient PCIe 3.0 lanes to properly support the bandwidth requirements of a TB2/TB3 controller that can push Bits at the rate of 40(TB3) Giga-Bits per second and some laptop OEMs only providing 2 PCIe 3.0 lanes to the TB(TB3) controller chip. So the lack of a full set of system schematics available via some software tools that could accurately read the configuration and hardware enumeration files and disply some proper system schematics such as the TB controller chip’s make and model and how many PCIe lanes are allotted and such. And do this from the OS in a human readable form that’s not listed in some cryptic manner.

        I miss the old TRS-80’s that were not very powerful even by the standards of the late 1980’s and into the early 1990’s but they came will a full and complete set of user manuals and a full set of the PC’s hardware schematics with all the chips labeled and the proper system bus lane widths stated. And folks just know that that can be provided by some software as every chip on a computing system has to be properly enumerated and information files and Firmware tables are there in the UEFI/BIOS as well.

        I know that for the Home System PC builder market for the Motherboard parts the MB makers try their level best to obfuscate on the numbers of fully independent VRM(voltage regulator module) phases that the MB actually provides and I’ll watch Buildzoid’s Motherboard analysis videos and that’s one good thing available for for home PC builders and even for OEM PCs as folks can actually open up the case and see. But Laptops are rather cloaked in secrecy and intentional obfuscation by the laptop OEMs and thorough and complete laptop reviews are as rare as hen’s teeth. And fat chance of getting any third party system specification software installed on any Laptop before it’s sold and many retail places have short 15/less days return policies.

        Look at the OEM laptop market and there are 2 main players for the CPUs/SOCs in that OEM laptop market and for the smaller competitor the OEM’s ship the laptops that use the smaller CPU competitor’s products with on one out of the 2 memory channels populated with a RAM/DIMM and the other channel is left empty at the cost of half the device’s memory bandwidth available. But that’s maybe one thing that can be seen with the provided windows system information software, but that may not tell the potential customer if the RAM/DIMM is soldered to the laptop’s motherboard with only the other channel maybe being in DIMM slotted configuration that can be updated/replaced. In some laptops the entire memory may be soldered to the devices Motherboard, and the SSD as well.

      • #1921158 Reply
        AskWoody Lounger

        Cracked a few box’s and Laptops over the years and without fail especially on the cheaper Machines Speccy, Belarc and Windoze have all reported 2 Memory slots one of which is occupied and the other none existant.
        Pretty much everything is as advertised but memory slots and how many are occupied has proved, to say the least, unreliable.
        Not such a big deal on a desktop ergo easy access but on a Laptop and for pre-ordering Parts its been unreliable as a guide necessitating leaving the laptops in a dissembled state with all the perils that entails to go and source parts like Memory sticks.
        Makes you wonder if those 3rd Party System resource Programmes are taking their cue from Windoze system specification shortcomings?

        • #1921385 Reply

          Sometimes the device manufacturer doesn’t have the correct system configuration information in the BIOS and sometimes it is because the of system configuration.

      • #1921211 Reply
        AskWoody Plus

        Perhaps someone here could explain, in non-technical terms, for the benefit of the wider audience, what is particularly bad about this, what is the motivation for faking the specs of a computer’s hardware and what is the gain hoped for by the malefactors. For example, is it the mere pleasure of being mean by performing little acts of vandalism, or perhaps of revenge, or a way for dishonest computer shop owners to fool buyers that their machines on sale are worth less than their sticker prices? Or is it something else?

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

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