Whether you were certain what kind of laptop you were buying when you bought your current machine, or whether you liked it because it was shiny, there will come a day when you need to find out its model and specifications.
Maybe you’re looking to upgrade – how do you know what to upgrade to if you don’t know where you’re starting from?
Or maybe the hot new game you’ve been waiting for has been released – and you’re not sure if your machine has what it takes in memory and graphical slickness to play it.
Bottom line, it’s in your best interests to know how to check your model and specs, so that you know what you have and what you can do with it, and so you know what to focus on the next time you upgrade.
So… how do you find your model and specs?
Table of Contents
- Where’s your laptop’s model number?
- Checking Your Specs
- The Hunt for the CPU
- Finding Your Motherboard
- GPU – Key to Your Graphical Capability
- How much RAM do you have?
- The upgrade options – what can you do with what you’ve got?
Where’s your laptop’s model number?
Why do you want your laptop’s model number? It’s a bit like a skeleton key or a backdoor password – it can help you find lots of other information about your laptop’s specs, and in the event of your laptop wigging out, it can help you to troubleshoot it.
Fortunately, most of the time a laptop won’t keep its model number terribly well hidden.
If you turn your laptop off and then turn it upside-down, you should see a logo, and some text written in small letters. Flip your laptop upside-down. Somewhere on the bottom of your computer, you’ll see a logo and small text.
If you see something like Dell Inspiron 15 3000, you’re golden. That’s the brand, the series and the model number all in one. It’s also possible the model and brand will be printed separately, but they should both be on the bottom somewhere.
If you can’t find this information on the bottom of your laptop, don’t panic. There’s another option. Remove the bottom panel of the laptop and the model number should be printed on the inside of that.
There is also an option which doesn’t involve turning your laptop upside down, and that’s to find the bunch of settings known as your Control Panel.
If you find your search bar at the bottom of your screen (this is different from the URL bar where you type the likes of Google.com, etc), and type “control panel” into the bar, you should find the Control Panel app appears in your results.
Click on the “System and Security” option.
Select “System” – that will bring up the information that identifies your make and model.
Checking Your Specs
While finding the make and model are useful keys to all the rest of the information you need about your laptop, if you’re just looking for the specifics of your CPU, GPU, or RAM count, you can do that in other easy ways.
The Hunt for the CPU
If you run Windows 10, you have a simple way of finding out which CPU you have.
- Find the Windows button (usually in the lower left corner). Right-click on the button to bring up a list of options.
- Click on the “System” option in the mid-section.
- You should now be on a page titled “About.” Half-way down, there’s an option titled “Device Specifications.” Within those device specifications, your CPU will be listed next to “Processor.”
- The Device Specifications page will also give you details of how much RAM you have.
Finding Your Motherboard
It’s rare that you’ll ever need to know much about which motherboard your laptop is running. But if you need to get access to that information, there are a couple of straightforward things to do.
In the search bar at the bottom of your screen, type “system information.”
That will bring up an app called “system information.”
Click on that and you’ll get a long list of information. Don’t panic.
Towards the bottom of the list, you’ll see “Baseboard Manufacturer.” The baseboard manufacturer is your motherboard’s maker. Beneath that, you’ll see Baseboard Model, or sometimes Baseboard product.
The number next to that title will be your motherboard’s model number. See? Easy – and no taking apart of your laptop necessary.
In that System Information panel, you can also find details of what CPU and GPU you have, and how much memory is currently installed in your laptop.
GPU – Key to Your Graphical Capability
If you enjoy playing games, then your GPU is crucial. It’s your Graphical Processing Unit, and it needs to have enough strength and power to run the games you want to play.
How do you find out how fast your GPU is?
Right-click on the Windows icon (bottom left corner). This will bring up a menu with a few options.
Select “Device Manager.”
Within the Device Manager are a list of drop-down menus. In these, you’ll find the names of every device within or attached to your laptop.
Look for a menu called “Display Adaptors,” and click on it.
Your GPU will be listed in this menu. There may be two options for it, one for a standalone GPU and one for the integrated graphics that are part of your GPU. In the event you see two options, the one to take note of is the standalone.
How much RAM do you have?
Several of the ways to find your key laptop specs listed above will also show you how to see how much RAM you have.
To find it directly, right-click on the Windows start button.
Select “system” in the menu that comes up. You should be on an “About” page.
Look for “Device Specifications” and under that, look for the label “installed RAM.” That’s the information you’re looking for.
The upgrade options – what can you do with what you’ve got?
Fancy upgrading your laptop? That’s trickier than upgrading a PC. Upgrading your RAM and adding an external GPU should be no problem on modern laptops, but if your laptop is an older model, you’re going to need more than a shiny new SSD to boost your storage.
Bottom line, upgrading your RAM, using external disk storage, regularly defragmenting your hard drive, and adding an upgraded external GPU is about the limit of what you can do. If you need more than that, it’s probably time to start looking for a new laptop.
Happily, you’ll now have all the vital information about your current model, so upgrading should be easier.