Why I love dmidecode

I was asked to provide more ram for a server today, specified only by name. I have login details, but it’s in a datacentre in Auckland, and I’m in Hamilton, so I can’t wander over to check details.

Enter dmidecode:


System Information
Manufacturer: Dell Computer Corporation
Product Name: PowerEdge 860

That’s basically all I need right there. Having a namebrand machine helps, of course – getting the same sort of information from a generic motherboard isn’t as easy or useful. However, while checking which ram banks are populated I can also (typically) get the type of ram as well:

Handle 0x1100, DMI type 17, 27 bytes
Memory Device
Array Handle: 0x1000
Error Information Handle: Not Provided
Total Width: 72 bits
Data Width: 64 bits
Size: 1024 MB
Form Factor: DIMM
Set: 1
Locator: DIMM1_A
Bank Locator: Not Specified
Type: DDR2
Type Detail: Synchronous
Speed: 533 MHz (1.9 ns)
Manufacturer: 7F7F7F0B00000000
Serial Number: 7A947291
Asset Tag: 0D0718
Part Number: NT1GT72U8PB0BY-37B

In this case, the other “Memory Device” entries had “No module installed” in the Size: section, so I know that this machine has one (1) 1GB DDR2-533 DIMM installed.

Of course, that output doesn’t seem to tell me that the Dell PowerEdge 860 wants ECC ram (although I know that anyway). And the output from dmidecode on a newer machine:

Handle 0x1100, DMI type 17, 23 bytes.
Memory Device
Array Handle: 0x1000
Error Information Handle: Not Provided
Total Width: 72 bits
Data Width: 64 bits
Size: 2048 MB
Form Factor:
Set: 1
Locator: DIMM 1A
Bank Locator: Not Specified
Type:

Type Detail: Synchronous
Speed: 667 MHz (1.5 ns)

That’s from a brand new HP DL360 with FB-DIMMs, so I guess my version of dmidecode on this machine isn’t new enough to handle that.

In general though, it’s more than good enough :)

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