So you get that tax refund.  The birthday rolls around (has it already been a year?).  That college friend pays you back from that final poker game before graduation.  And the gears start turning.  I could get that really cool remote control.  Maybe have my friends over for that big cookout.  Pay somebody to clean the garage.

Then it hits you.  You could actually upgrade your computer.  You know, the thing you’re reading this on.  The thing that’s had that one little problem that’s oh, so fixable with the new — the new what?  Could be more memory, or a bigger/faster hard drive, or a new video card.  Maybe even a new motherboard with USB3 built in.

So you start imagining yourself rolling out to the local computer shop, or surfing over to NewEgg, and you realize you have no idea what you’re going to buy.  Maybe you know the category – video cards – but you can’t remember what you have, how fast it is, or even what sort of connection it uses.  When you bought the thing a few years ago, you knew how many pipelines and how many million polygons per second it could draw.  Now you’re at the level of “I think it’s from NVidia”.  Way to go, bucko, and I hope you remember other things better than that.  “My anniversary?  Sure!  It’s, umm, it’s in the summertime.  Pretty sure it’s summer.”

Now there’s no more wondering about what’s inside your computer.  Piriform, the maker of the nifty CCleaner (featured in Cool Tool Tuesday #5) has come out with Speccy.  Speccy is pretty new software, having emerged from beta about four months ago.  They have had two updates since then, and it’s in pretty good shape.  As they say in their description,

Speccy was designed as a free electronic “what’s inside” sticker for your PC

and it works.  Download the software, accept the license agreement, decide whether you want another icon cluttering up your desktop (I’m getting minimalist myself), and run it.  It churns for a little bit, and then tells you what’s in there, using pretty good detail.

Notice that it very conveniently gives you the temperatures of the devices supporting temp readings, along with the status in color.  Friendly!  It also lets you drill down some more if you want.  You can find out exactly what you’re running, and when it was installed

Yep – the date is correct.  It also shows your serial number, which I am declining to post for the world to see and steal.

As far as memory, I can see that I have all four of my slots filled

I can see that I purchased this from G.Skill, and that I’m using DDR2 memory.  Useful.  I also have 8G of memory, not so useful given my 32-big OS.  But it’s a holdover from when I was running Linux.

I can also see that my video card actually IS from NVidia, was built by MSI, and uses PCI Express x16.

and it’s plenty quick enough.  I don’t play video games, so I’m not caught up in that “gotta have more, which will let me play X, which would be better if I had a little more” cycle.

Speccy is recommended, for seeing what’s inside your machine, or as a diagnostic tool for helping out other people.

And guys, if you have trouble remembering your anniversary, consider Google Calendar.  It can email you a message, at any predetermined interval you want.  That’s real helpful.  And if you need it, you need it bad.