How to Identify a System / Motherboard

By +Rod Bland

Identifying the correct model number of your computer or motherboard is essential to finding the correct upgrades, especially for laptops and servers.  If you are unsure of the make or model of your system you can follow these easy steps to find the specific model number for your computer. Choose your system brand or type below:

With Apple machines, in order to determine the correct upgrade, you need to determine the Model Identifier.



Now you have located your Model Identifier, click here to find the upgrades compatible with your Mac.

If running Windows, then you can usually obtain family and model information from the command prompt.

  1. On Windows XP, go to Start > Run and type cmd to start your command prompt. On Windows Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8 click the start button, then the 'Search' box appears. Type 'cmd' in the box (without the quotes) to start the command prompt. Administrative rights are not required to run this command
  2. In the command prompt type the following and press Enter/Return
  3. wmic csproduct list brief


 

With the example shown above, you would use the Upgrade Finder on our home page, select Manufacturer -> HP/Compaq, Family -> 500 Series Notebook, Model -> 530 and be presented with a list of compatible upgrade options.

If the above method doesn't yield useful results, then you can locate the Model Number on the Service Tag placed on the bottom of your Notebook PC, or on the side or back of the case on desktop pc's. In some HP notebooks, the model number will also be located inside the battery bay. Simply remove the battery to find the Service Tag. The Service Tag will resemble the image below.


  1. Model Number: This is the correct identifier for your model and when used in conjunction with (3), the Product Name, is usually correct, but step 2 below is even more accurate.
  2. Part No: This is the correct identifier for your model, but you'll need to use the HP PartSurfer to decode it to a meaningful description, containing the family (series) and model number. Using the above example, we type rq877as (disregard the #ABA or #ABG) into the HP PartSurfer quicksearch field, which yields HP PAVILION NOTEBOOK PC DV9095XX as the description.
  3. Product Name: The Product Name, which will also typically be on the front of your notebook, often represents the Family Series, but not the model, it is usually a brand name for an entire set of series and models. This information should NOT be used to find the correct parts for your laptop.
  4. Serial Number: This can also be used in the HP PartSurfer and decoded to a meaningful description containing the Family and Model Number.

So, using the example picture above, and if you have followed the steps above as well, you would use the Upgrade Finder on our home page, select Manufacturer -> HP/Compaq, Family -> Pavilion dv9000 Series Notebook, Model -> dv9095ea or dv9095eu and be presented with a list of compatible upgrade options.


If running Windows, then you can usually obtain family and model information from the command prompt.

  1. On Windows XP, go to Start > Run and type cmd to start your command prompt. On Windows Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8 click the start button, then the 'Search' box appears. Type 'cmd' in the box (without the quotes) to start the command prompt. Administrative rights are not required to run this command
  2. In the command prompt type the following and press Enter/Return
  3. wmic csproduct list brief
  4. In the example output below you can see the system is a Dell (manufacturer) Vostro (Family) 1520 (Model).

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You can also locate the Dell Series and Model Number on the Service Tag.

Locating the Service Tag on a Dell Desktop Computer

Desktop systems include the Dimension, Inspiron, Optiplex, XPS, Vostro, Alienware, and Precision Workstation models.

In addition to a white label on the back of the system, a separate service tag label can normally be found attached to the top or side of the system, like below in Figure 1.


Figure 1: The Service Tag label on the side of a Dell Desktop computer.
 

If the computer has an access panel in front, the Service Tag label can normally be found behind the panel door, like below in Figure 2.


Figure 2: A Dell desktop computer with an access panel.
 

Locating the Service Tag on a Dell Notebook Computer

Notebook systems include the Latitude, Inspiron, XPS, Precision, Vostro, and Alienware models.

The Service Tag label can be found on the bottom of a Dell notebook computer, like below in Figure 3.


Figure 3: The Service Tag label on the bottom of a Dell portable computer
 

Locating the Service Tag on a Dell Enterprise System

Enterprise systems include the PowerEdge Server, PowerVault, and DellEMC Storage models.

The Service Tag label on a Dell PowerEdge server is found on the back panel, like below in Figure 4.


Figure 4: Service Tag label on a Dell PowerEdge 2800
 

Note the Manufacturer and Product details on the Service Tag. If they are not easily identifiable, then you can use the Express Service Tag to obtain family and model information from the Dell Product Support Site.  You can then use this information to select your manufacturer, family, and model from the RamCity Upgrade Finder on our Home Page.

The key to identifying IBM / Lenovo systems is to locate the 7-character Product Number - e.g. 2668-KHU or the 10-character serial number. You can then type this number into the Machine Information field on the Lenovo Support Website to obtain full model details. (See details below for where to enter the information, and how to find it for specific IBM/Lenovo machines)



The quick path field on the Lenovo Support Website
 

Specific instructions for locating the product or serial number are listed below:

ThinkPad and Value Line Notebooks

The product number is located on the bottom of the case, underneath.


 

ThinkCentre, NetVista, Value Line, and other desktops

The product number is located on the front right panel or on the back of the system:



 

Value Line and IdeaPad notebooks

The serial number is printed on the label on the back of the system:



 

Value Line and IdeaCentre Desktops

The serial number is printed on both of the service tag and rear chassis label:



 

Once you have a valid serial number or product number, you can then type this into the Machine Information field on the Lenovo Support Website to obtain full model details.

Once you have the full Family and Model name, you can this use this information to select your manufacturer, family, and model from the RamCity Upgrade Finder on our Home Page.

If running Windows, then you can usually obtain valid Sony model information from the command prompt.

  1. On Windows XP, go to Start > Run and type cmd to start your command prompt. On Windows Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8 click the start button, then the 'Search' box appears. Type 'cmd' in the box (without the quotes) to start the command prompt. Administrative rights are not required to run this command.
  2. In the command prompt type the following and press Enter/Return
  3. wmic csproduct list brief

If the above command doesn't yield any useful results, then the best method for locating your model number depends on when the product was released.

For Sony laptop computers released 2010 or later

The model number is listed on a sticker on the bottom of the laptop. In this case, it is called Product name, as shown here:


 

For Sony laptop computers released 2009:

For configured-to-order or built-to-order laptops, the full model number is located on a sticker on the bottom of the computer:



 

For pre-configured retail laptops, the full model number is not located on the case of the computer. Please use one of the methods below to retrieve the model number:

Method 1

  1. Click the Start button and then click All Programs.
  2. In the All Programs menu, click the VAIO Care folder.
  3. Click VAIO Care.
  4. The model number is displayed in the bottom of the VAIO Care window. (e.g., VGN-FW550F)


 

Method 2

  1. Click the Start button, then click (My) Computer.
  2. Click Local Disc C:. Next click Windows.
  3. Click the file named Model or Model.txt.
  4. The file will show the model number. (e.g., VGN-FW550F)

Note: If this file is blank, look for a second file with the same name and open that file



 

For Sony laptops released between Autumn 2000 and Spring 2009

The model number is located on a small label located on the frame around the computer screen. (e.g., VGN-FW550F)



 

Note:Do not use the "Model" listed on the grey label on the back of the computer as this will not provide the correct information.

For Sony laptop computers released before Summer 2000:

The computer information and compliance label, located on the bottom of the laptop case, indicates the actual model number. (e.g., PCG-N505VX)

Once you have the full Model name, you can this use this information to select your manufacturer, family, and model from the RamCity Upgrade Finder on our Home Page, or use the search box at the top left of every page on our website.

Toshiba systems usually have a 12-character model number, such as PSC1GA-01E01M, and sometimes a shorter model number, such as C660. If running Windows, then you can usually obtain valid Toshiba model number information from the command prompt.

  1. On Windows XP, go to Start > Run and type cmd to start your command prompt. On Windows Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8 click the start button, then the 'Search' box appears. Type 'cmd' in the box (without the quotes) to start the command prompt. Administrative rights are not required to run this command
  2. In the command prompt type the following and press Enter/Return
  3. wmic csproduct list brief


 

With the example shown above, the output doesn't include the family or series (It is actually a Toshiba Satellite C660), but you can enter the 12-character model number PSC1GA-01E01M into the search box at the top left of any page on our website which is very likely to provide the correct model with a list of compatible upgrade options.



 

If the above method doesn't yield useful results, then you can locate the Model Number on the Service Tag placed on the bottom of your Notebook PC. The Service Tag will resemble the image below.



 

Using the example picture above, you would use the Upgrade Finder on our home page, select Manufacturer -> Toshiba, Family -> Satellite L45 Series, Model -> L45-S7409 (PSL48U-01S004), and be presented with a list of compatible upgrade options.


 To identify more details of your system, you can run a program on the machine you wish to identify called CPU-Z.
 

  1. Download CPU-Z from our website.
  2. Unzip the file to any location.
  3. Locate the unzipped folder and double-click the application file cpuz_x32.exe or cpuz_x64.exe if running a 64-bit system
  4. Wait for the program window to load (takes up to 30 seconds)
  5. If you have a custom built computer, or simply aren't sure, then start at Identifying your motherboard to quickly identify your computer motherboard brand and model. If you have a specific brand of computer, such as Dell, HP, Acer, Toshiba, SONY, ASUS, etc  then skip to Identifying a branded computer further down.

Identifying your motherboard (for non-branded or custom-built computers)

  1. After the program loads, click the Mainboard tab.  Below is an example from  a machine with a Gigabyte brand motherboard:

  2. Note the Manufacturer and Model Number.  You can use this information to select your brand and model from the RamCity Upgrade Finder on our Home Page.

Identifying a Branded Computer (i.e. Dell, HP, Acer, SONY, ASUS, Toshiba, etc)

  1. After the program loads, click the About tab on the top right hand corner.
  2. Under Tools, click the Save Report (.HTML) button.
  3. Choose any location to save the cpuz.htm file, then click Save.
  4. Open the newly created cpuz.htm file and it will load in your browser.
  5. Scroll down to the the DMI section.  This will likely contain the specific brand and model of your desktop or laptop. Below is an example from a Dell (Manufacturer) Vostro (Family) 1520 (Model) laptop.

  6. Note the Manufacturer and Product details.  You can then use this information to select your manufacturer, family, and model from the RamCity Upgrade Finder on our Home Page.
  • Use the information learned above and fill out our contact form.
  • You can also call us on the phone or talk to us on Live Chat.  Details are at the top of every page on our website.
  • Or, you can Email us the cpuz.htm file if you need further assistance.
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