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Best Hardware Monitoring Software & Tools for Server, Desktop & Network Devices!

best hardware monitoring software and tools

Marc Wilson

Without a doubt, it is challenging to run an infrastructure, services, and different applications that need a guaranteed uptime. Although we can’t have the perfect monitoring method to keep all our components intact, we can still have a system that is capable of displaying and alerting us when a threshold is reached so that we can take the necessary actions.

Unlike the best system monitoring software, hardware monitoring software and tools are specifically designed for this purpose, and they play a significant role in maintaining uptime.

Here is our list of the best hardware monitoring software:

  1. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM) – FREE TRIAL A system that gathers status reports from all network devices. This service includes an alerting mechanism as an early warning system. Runs on Windows Server.
  2. SolarWinds Server &Application Monitor (SAM) – FREE TRIAL A monitoring system that extends from server resources, through middleware and infrastructure =, to watch the performance of applications on the network and out on the Internet. Runs on Windows server.
  3. Paessler PRTG Hardware Monitoring – FREE TRIAL A package of monitors that watch network, servers, and applications and warn of developing issues. Installs on Windows Server.
  4. ManageEngine OpManager This package monitors networks and all related applications, such as VoIP and virtualizations. Available for Windows Server and Linux.
  5. HWMonitor A monitoring system for endpoints that accesses motherboard status reports and is available in free and paid versions. Runs on Windows.
  6. HWiNFO A free system diagnostic tool for Windows PC that covers issues temperature, fan activity, and power supply.
  7. AIDA64 Extreme A low-price monitor for PCs running Windows that watches over CPU, memory, disk activity, temperature, and power supply.
  8. Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (XTU) A free diagnostic and system optimization tool for Intel processors.
  9. AMD Ryzen Master A free control dashboards that enables you to adjust the settings of a Windows PC.

What is Hardware Monitoring?

server hardware management

Hardware and health monitoring are essential practices to prevent a PC from overheating and overloading.

Hardware monitoring tools can display real-time statistics of CPU, RAM, GPU, Hard Drives, Motherboard, Network Adapter, and other PC components. Some tools can even show you the information and specifications of the hardware.

Even though most computers are capable of handling some errors and self-healing, sometimes the rise in the temperature due to hardware malfunctioning or some unexpected code error can degrade the system’s performance.

So, it is necessary to implement a Hardware Monitoring solution that can minimize those failures.

A Hardware Monitoring tool analyzes the periodic information collected from the core components and then displays it in real-time graphs.

The software notifies you when an unexpected event occurs so you can start working on the problem immediately before that system crashes due to hardware maflunctions.

Following are the system components and metrics that a hardware monitoring system should be able to collect and display:

  1. CPU Usage The CPU usage can be reduced or increased by a process. The code errors in the process can increase the CPU consumption, which may lead to a potential rise in the temperature.
  2. Memory Utilization Excessive memory utilization can also impact the OS performance. For instance, if an app is using too much cache memory, it will decrease the system performance.
  3. Physical Disk Space Average response times could be another factor that notifies us about a faulty disk. The typical response can be to swap to the available partitions and free the space on the volume.
  4. Network Monitoring The bandwidth of the network or even its entire traffic can be affected by a faulty adapter, defective hardware, protocol failures, and even potential cabling issues.
  5. Event Logs These are the records for network safety. The logs are registered in the background and can be used when there is suspicious activity, or an error takes place. When there is a failed drive or high temperature, the event logs related to these issues can be sent over email or any alerting practice.
  6. Core Temperature and Fan Speeds Keeping track of fan speed in computers is critical. The optimal temperature for a running CPU should remain as cold as possible. A CPU without cooling and running hot, can make the entire system crash and possibly damage the processor permanently.
  7. Voltages Another important component for hardware monitoring. A difference in electrical power such as over-voltage or under-voltage could also impact and degrade a server or PC.

What should you look for in hardware monitoring tools?

We reviewed the market for hardware monitoring software and analyzed the options based on the following criteria:

  • Solutions to monitor servers, desktops, routers, and switches
  • System configuration checks to optimize hardware performance
  • Alerts on critical component statuses
  • A discovery service that automatically compiles a hardware inventory
  • Automated checks on hardware
  • A cost-free assessment opportunity offered by a free trial or a demo system
  • A free tool that offers constant checks or a paid monitoring system that gives value for money

With these selection criteria in mind, we have picked a wide range of hardware monitoring services – some of which are lightweight, free tools, while others are extensive, paid monitoring packages. We have included options for all the major operating systems.

Here’s the Best Hardware Monitoring Software & Tools in 2021:

Below we have listed some of the best hardware monitoring software and tools that can keep track of some or all of the components mentioned above.

Each software contains a quick description, features, pricing, and download links.

1. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM) – FREE TRIAL

solarwinds hardware profile tab

SolarWinds NPM is one of the best network monitoring tools available on the market. It is straightforward to use and compatible with many vendors like IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, Linux, etc.

With NPM, you can monitor network availability, performance, and faults, and quickly find out the root cause of any issue with the help of its smart topology-aware network alerting system.

Key Features:

  • Multi-vendor network monitoring.
  • Advanced alerting system.
  • Intelligent, dependency, and topology-aware network alerts.
  • Generates intelligent maps automatically.
  • Wireless network monitoring and management.

NPM speeds up troubleshooting time, increases service levels, and reduces downtime. It also improves operational efficiency with out-of-the-box dashboards, reports, and alerts.

With the help of the Hardware Health Monitoring system, you can also keep track of essential device components such as temperature, fan speed, and power supply.

hardware alerts

Pros:

  • Supports auto-discovery that builds network topology maps and inventory lists in real-time based on devices that enter the network
  • Has some of the best alerting features that balance effectiveness with ease of use
  • Supports both SNMP monitoring as well as packet analysis, giving you more control over monitoring than similar tools
  • Uses drag and drop widgets to customize the look and feel of the dashboard
  • Tons of preconfigured templates, reports, and dashboard views

Cons:

  • This is a feature-rich enterprise tool designed for sysadmin, non-technical users may some features overwhelming

Price: 30 Day Free Trial!

Download: Start a 30-day free trial of SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor.

Download Free!

2. SolarWinds Server &Application Monitor (SAM) – FREE TRIAL

solarwinds sam hardware health dashboard

Server & Application Monitor (SAM) from SolarWinds is a simple system management software that can be used to obtain larger visibility into the application and server (both physical and virtual) performance issues.

SAM is one of the most versatile OS monitoring solutions, including 1200+ services, programs, and software OS's that you can monitor.

You don't need to use multiple tools and custom scripts; the multi-vendor applications and servers can be controlled from a single console.

Key Features:

  • 1200+ application monitoring templates such as Active Directory, XenApp, Java, Office 365, IBM Websphere, etc.
  • AppStack dashboard helps you quickly check the infrastructure dependencies and pinpoint the root cause of application issues in the server (physical and virtual).
  • Reduce alert fatigue with customizable alerts.
  • Monitor server storage performance and health.

With SAM you can optimize your IT infrastructure and reduce management overhead.

It helps you identify hardware failures that are causing performance degradation, such as temperature, fan speed, power supply, memory, physical disk space CPU, etc.

You can set defined baseline values for your hardware components, and once a threshold is exceeded SAM can alert you through the dashboard (through critical, warning, or up) or send you alerts.

Pros:

  • Designed with large and enterprise networks in mind
  • Supports auto-discovery that builds network topology maps and inventory lists in real-time based on devices that enter the network
  • Alerting features balance effectiveness with ease of use
  • Supports both SNMP monitoring as well as packet analysis, giving you more control over monitoring than similar tools
  • Uses drag and drop widgets to customize the look and feel of the dashboard
  • Robust reporting system with pre-configured compliance templates

Cons:

  • Designed for IT professionals, not the best option for non-technical users

Price: 30 Day Free Trial Download Below!

Download: a fully functional SAM 30-day free trial.

Download Free!

3. Paessler PRTG Hardware Monitoring – FREE TRIAL

prtg sensors

PRTG Network Monitor is another great network monitoring tool used to check network availability, traffic, and other different network components. It runs only on Windows systems and is capable of collecting the data from servers, network devices, or hosts. You can also check the historical data which may help you predict trends, and react to changes.

PRTG comes with over 150 sensor types for different network services, that include FTP, HTTP, CPU Load, Memory, Physical Disk, temperature, and even humidity. When an outage or hardware failure occurs, users can be notified via SMS, email, or pager.

PRTG comes with an easy to use web interface with point and click configuration. You can fetch the data from PRTG and share it easily with your non-technical colleagues and customers. Data can also be shared via live graphs and custom reports.

Other Hardware Monitoring Features:

  • CPU and RAM monitoring.
  • Physical Hard Drives, SAN, NAS monitoring.
  • Keep track of printers, their ink level, number of pages printed, etc.
  • Real-time dashboards display live performance and status information.

Pros:

  • Uses a combination of packet sniffing, WMI, and SNMP to report network performance as well as discover new devices
  • Autodiscovery reflects the latest inventory changes almost instantaneously
  • Drag and drop editor makes it easy to build custom views and reports
  • Supports a wide range of alert mediums such as SMS, email, and third-party integration
  • Supports a freeware version

Cons:

  • Is a very comprehensive platform with many features and moving parts that require time to learn
  • Custom sensors can sometimes be challenging to manually configure

Price: You can buy PRTG through different packages based on the number of sensors. For example, PRTG 500 comes with 500 sensors and one server installation and costs $1,360.

Download: 30 days free trial of Paessler PRTG.

Download Free Trial!

4. ManageEngine OpManager

opmanager cpu health check

ManageEngine OpManager is a tool used for end-to-end network management. It offers a single console solution to manage the entire IT network of an organization.

OpManager collects the faults and performance information of different IT components in a network such as, wireless access points, WAN links, VoIP links, routers, switches, firewalls, multi-server platforms (Windows, IBM AIX, Linux, Unix, HP UX, and Solaris), virtual servers (VMware ESX & ESXi/ MS Hyper-V), temperature sensors, printers, and load balancers, etc.

Key Features:

  • Easy to install and setup.
  • Displays network bandwidth performance.
  • Monitors servers across multiple vendor OS.
  • Helps track the outages and resolve them before they occur.
  • IP Address & Switch Port Management.
  • Data Center Virtualization.
  • Keep track of the performance in real-time using live dashboards and graphs.

To help keep uptime and availability, you can measure some critical metrics, including packet loss, errors, and discards, etc. Additionally, you can also monitor performance metrics such as CPU, disk space, memory usage, and availability across virtual and physical servers.

cpu temperture sensor

OpManager uses threshold-based alerts to identify and resolve network issues. Multiple thresholds can be set for each performance metric so you can get instant notifications.

Pros:

  • Designed to work right away, features over 200 customizable widgets to build unique dashboards and reports
  • Leverages autodiscover to find, inventory, and map new devices
  • Uses intelligent alerting to reduce false positives and eliminate alert fatigue across larger networks
  • Supports email, SMS, and webhook for numerous alerting channels
  • Integrates well in the ManageEngine ecosystem with their other products

Cons:

  • Is a feature-rich tool that will require a time investment to properly learn

Price: Free Edition at the Link below!

Download: Fully functional free OpManager edition and monitor up to 10 devices for an unlimited time.

5. HWMonitor

cpuid HWMonitor

HWMonitor, developed by CPUID, is a fantastic PC monitoring tool that senses the majority of your hardware characteristics, such as temperatures, voltages, and fan speeds. The tool shows all the information on a single window which can be divided into layouts.

HWMonitor uses ITE IT87 and S.M.A.R.T sensors (installed on the motherboards of all modern computers) to provide system information. It can be installed on Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10.

Key Features:

  • displays CPU temperatures, voltages, usage, and power consumption.
  • Monitor GPU voltage, temperature and usage.
  • Available for both Windows 32-bit and 64-bit version.

Pros:

  • Freeware, with paid options for remote monitoring
  • Open-source transparent project
  • A great option for home labs and smaller networks
  • Available for both Linux and Windows

Cons:

Price: HWMonitor is free to download. It’s Pro version (with some extra features) is also available especially for professionals, to get an estimate for HWMonitor Pro, contact them.

Download Link: https://www.cpuid.com/softwares/hwmonitor.html

6. HWiNFO

HWiNFO

HWiNFO is a diagnostics software that provides a comprehensive hardware analysis and reporting feature. It also monitors Windows system components in real-time for actual status and failure prediction. It runs on all Windows platforms with the support for both 32-bit and 64-bit editions.

HWiNFO is designed to collect and display the maximum information about your PC hardware. This data makes it useful for those who are looking for driver updates, system integrators, and the computer manufacturer. HWiNFO presents the retrieved information in an easily understandable format which you can export into various types of reports such as Text and HTML format.

Key Features:

  • Monitor system health (Thermal, Voltage, Fan, Power).
  • Text, HTML, MHTML, CSV, XML report formats.
  • Table, Graph, Logfile, Tray, Gadget, LG LCD reporting.
  • It receives updates frequently.

Price: Available for free

Download: https://www.hwinfo.com/download/

7. AIDA64 Extreme

AIDA64 Extreme

AIDA64 Extreme is an advanced hardware detection engine. The software offers in-depth information about installed software and hardware, and it also provides diagnostics. AIDA64 Extreme acts as a system information tool and gives you detailed information, such as Memory, CPU, FPU, Devices, Vendors, Fan Speed, Temperature, etc. Additionally, it offers benchmarks to help measure the overall performance of the PC.

Key Features:

  • It provides accurate data for voltage, temperature, and fan speed readings.
  • It helps detect and prevent hardware issues on your computer.
  • It provides over 50 pages of detailed information on the hardware configuration.
  • It supports over 250 sensor devices.
  • It comes with unique capabilities to assess the performance of the processor, disk drives, and system memory.

Pros:

  • Designed to detect and monitor devices at scale, good for large companies and enterprises
  • Can save collected information in database format
  • Simple alert system is easy to use
  • Acts as a lightweight RMM with options to restart machines remotely

Cons:

  • Less intuitive than leading products
  • Interface could use improvements, graphs can be hard to read

Price: The price for AIDA64 Extreme full version starts at $39.95.

Download: a fully functional free 30-day trial of AIDA64 Extreme.

8. Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (XTU)

XTU

Processor maker, Intel develops the
Intel XTU Tuning Tool, which is a performance optimizer software that runs on Windows systems. It helps to monitor, overclock, and stress-test devices.

It comes with a set of robust features along with additional capabilities that are available on new Intel Motherboards and Intel Application Processors.

Key Features:

  • Monitor temperature, voltage, and frequencies of multiple hardware. You can track the monitors, which enables you to graph the variation in values.
  • Stress tests availability for CPU, GPU, and memory.
  • It provides information about the motherboard, processor, and BIOS.
  • Allows you to change configuration parameters without restarting the system.
  • Saves a profile on the system for different performance configurations and provides a one-click overclocking experience.

Pros:

  • Designed specifically for Intel processors, providing highly accurate hardware details
  • Features overclocking templates and stress tests
  • Great for both novices and enthusiasts

Cons:

  • Not the best solution for system administrators looking to manage hardware at scale

Price: Available for free

Download Link: https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/24075/Intel-Extreme-Tuning-Utility-Intel-XTU-?product=66427

9. AMD Ryzen Master

AMD Ryzen Master

AMD Ryzen Master offers advanced and real-time control of system performance. It enables you to overclock and change factory settings so that the processor can be operated outside of AMD’s published operating specs.

With AMD Ryzen Master you can control multiple processor clock and voltage settings in real time. Moreover, it has various performance tuning knobs and adjustable parameters which are based on the AMD Zen processor core.

Key Features:

  • Monitor fan speed, temperature of CPU, and show live histogram controls.
  • It displays the current configuration and performance state of the system on the current View tab.
  • It displays information related to system and software information, alongside several global parameters.
  • Reset the processor CPU voltages, speed, core enablement and additional controls to stock settings with the “Reset” command.

Pros:

  • Designed for overlocking and PC hardware enthusiasts
  • Features custom profiles to store configurations
  • Builtin graphing for a live look into hardware performance

Cons:

  • Not designed for businesses use
  • Does not offer a method to monitor multiple machines at the same time

Price: Available for free

Download Link: https://www.amd.com/en/technologies/ryzen-master

Conclusions

Sometimes the CPU load can increase due to malfunctioning processes or OS services.

The increase in the CPU calculations bring along a rise in temperature, which can, in turn, make the fan speed up to keep the temperature down.

The cycle is endless.

We have discussed some of the best Hardware Monitoring tools, that can help solve temperature issues by pinpointing the root cause of an issue and alerting you before its too late.

These tools are capable of monitoring computer hardware sensors and read temperatures, voltages, fan speed, etc., and alert you when a limit is reached.

Moreover, they provide information about many other important PC hardware components, such as manufacturing and versions.

Inevitably, hardware can fail anytime. But you can always be one step ahead and avoid outages and weak performance by keeping your equipment monitored at all times.

The monitoring tools discussed above can help by giving you detailed information and preventing most failures. Install any of the tools shown above and start monitoring your hardware – Many of them have 100% Free Trials or are Completely free and will help you keep your Desktop of Server Hardware monitoring in check!