How to Check Physical Memory in Linux

Imagine you need to upgrade your computer by adding some addtional RAM. Here is how to check RAM speed, type and size without to open computer. There is command called dmidecode which comes pre-installed on most Linux distribution. With dmidecode you can dump a computer’s DMI (or SMBIOS) table contents in a human-readable format. Command prints a description of the system’s hardware components, as well as other useful pieces of information such as serial numbers, BIOS info, etc. The DMI table doesn’t describe only the current status of hardware you are running, it also can report the possible upgrades (such as the fastest supported CPU or the maximal amount of memory supported). With dmidecode you can get info about all hardware, but in this post I will write only about how to find installed RAM, it’s type, size and speed.

In Ubuntu and other Debian based distros dmidecode come pre-installed. But if you don’t have it just run the next command to install it.

howopensource@esprimo:~$ sudo apt-get install dmidecode

To find RAM info just execute the command sudo dmidecode -t memory and look into the output bellow. I highlighted important information.

howopensource@esprimo:~$ sudo dmidecode -t memory
# dmidecode 2.12
SMBIOS 2.7 present.

Handle 0x002C, DMI type 16, 23 bytes
Physical Memory Array
	Location: System Board Or Motherboard
	Use: System Memory
	Error Correction Type: None
	Maximum Capacity: 32 GB
	Error Information Handle: Not Provided
	Number Of Devices: 4

Handle 0x002E, DMI type 17, 34 bytes
Memory Device
	Array Handle: 0x002C
	Error Information Handle: Not Provided
	Total Width: 64 bits
	Data Width: 64 bits
	Size: No Module Installed
	Form Factor: DIMM
	Set: None
	Locator: DIMM-3
	Bank Locator: Channel A
	Type: Unknown
	Type Detail: Synchronous
	Speed: Unknown
	Manufacturer: A1_Manufacturer3
	Serial Number: A1_SerNum3
	Asset Tag: A1_AssetTagNum3
	Part Number: Array1_PartNumber3
	Rank: Unknown
	Configured Clock Speed: Unknown

Handle 0x0030, DMI type 17, 34 bytes
Memory Device
	Array Handle: 0x002C
	Error Information Handle: Not Provided
	Total Width: 64 bits
	Data Width: 64 bits
	Size: 2048 MB
	Form Factor: DIMM
	Set: None
	Locator: DIMM-1
	Bank Locator: Channel A
	Type: DDR3
	Type Detail: Synchronous
	Speed: 1333 MHz
	Manufacturer: Samsung
	Serial Number: 9396004A  
	Asset Tag: A1_AssetTagNum1
	Part Number: M378B5773CH0-CH9
	Rank: 1
	Configured Clock Speed: Unknown

Handle 0x0032, DMI type 17, 34 bytes
Memory Device
	Array Handle: 0x002C
	Error Information Handle: Not Provided
	Total Width: 64 bits
	Data Width: 64 bits
	Size: No Module Installed
	Form Factor: DIMM
	Set: None
	Locator: DIMM-4
	Bank Locator: Channel B
	Type: Unknown
	Type Detail: Synchronous
	Speed: Unknown
	Manufacturer: A1_Manufacturer4
	Serial Number: A1_SerNum4
	Asset Tag: A1_AssetTagNum4
	Part Number: Array1_PartNumber4
	Rank: Unknown
	Configured Clock Speed: Unknown

Handle 0x0034, DMI type 17, 34 bytes
Memory Device
	Array Handle: 0x002C
	Error Information Handle: Not Provided
	Total Width: 64 bits
	Data Width: 64 bits
	Size: 2048 MB
	Form Factor: DIMM
	Set: None
	Locator: DIMM-2
	Bank Locator: Channel B
	Type: DDR3
	Type Detail: Synchronous
	Speed: 1333 MHz
	Manufacturer: Samsung
	Serial Number: 9396000B  
	Asset Tag: A1_AssetTagNum2
	Part Number: M378B5773CH0-CH9
	Rank: 1
	Configured Clock Speed: Unknown

What you see is that my computer has 4 RAM slots, Maximum RAM supported is 32G. I have two modules installed 2G each, type is DDR3, speed is 1333 MHz. Searching by part number (M378B5773CH0-CH9) in Google I can find how much it cost to order two more blocks and to expand my RAM to 8G.

Find Memory Ubuntu Linux

When you need information about hardware specs on a Linux computer, you can use dmidecode to get all info that you need without actually having to be near the machine or have any documentation or open the box.

Hope you find this article useful. I will write more about dmidecode in next articles.

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