PC911 > How-To > Hardware > Identifying A Motherboard
Identification of motherboards by software
The Software Method
Sometimes, there is no help to be found either on the board or in the startup display. If that is your situation, don't despair yet! We still have one more trick to try - we can "ask" the mainboard who it is, and who made it.
AMI offers a freeware mainboard (BIOS) identification utility that, although written specifically for the AMI BIOS'es, is only able to extract a very limited range of information. This utility is available for download at AMI's Bios support site. The following page, http://www.ami.com/support/bios.html, offers AMI's manufacturer code list as well as links for the ID utility and post- and beep-code references. The ID utility (AMIMBID.EXE) is a compact (94Kb) file that must be run from a pure DOS session. It will read the data stored on the BIOS chip and display the relevant portion of that data on-screen. It will also write a text file (RESULTS.TXT) that contains most of the information displayed. Figure 7 below illustrates the data written to the text file for the mainboard discussed in the previous section. Note that the BIOS ID string extracted is not quite the same as what was displayed on system startup. The boot display included the Project Tag, which is shown separately in the text file. Note also that this utility does not provide a manufacturer's name if the Manufacturer Code does not match a database entry. As was the case in earlier examples, a web search is in order for final determination of the board maker.
Needless to say, these results below are less than ideal, and not helpful at all if the board uses Award BIOS. In that case, I suggest the use of
CTBIOS, another mobo ID utility. This one is the (freeware) product of
c't, the leading PC enthusiast's magazine in Germany, and can be found at their website, http://www.heise.de/ct/english/. Of course, most of the site's pages are in German, so I'll give another link for this utility, http://bootdisk.com/. This site is chock-full of useful tools besides
CTBIOS, so check it out carefully.