FreeBSD Display Information About The System Hardware

FreeBSD comes with different utilities, which can be used to gather the information as per your needs. The uname command is used to print system information, and dmesg command is used to print kernel ring buffer information. The sysctl command is use to configure kernel parameters at runtime as well as to read hardware information. Let us see all commands that can display hardware information on the FreeBSD server or desktop.


FreeBSD Display Information Hardware Using the CLI

Following list summaries, all the command you need to gather FreeBSD hardware information.

Determining the FreeBSD Hardware Type/platform

# uname -m
Find machine processor architecture:
# uname -p
Determining FreeBSD release level:
# uname -r
Generally, following command is use to get all info at a time:
# uname -mrs
Sample outputs:

FreeBSD 5.0-RELEASE i386

One can find out if we are using 32 or 64 bit FreeBSD kernel/system:
getconf LONG_BIT

How To Find Out FreeBSD Version and Patch Level Number


FreeBSD CPU info

Finding CPU information such as speed, make etc
# dmesg | grep CPU
Sample outputs:

CPU: Pentium 4 (1716.41-MHz 686-class CPU)
acpi_cpu0:  on acpi0
acpi_cpu: CPU throttling enabled, 8 steps from 100% to 12.5%

One can filter out unwanted information using the grep command/egrep command;
# dmesg | grep ^CPU
Another option is to type the following sysctl command:
sysctl -a hw.model
sysctl -a | grep -i hw.*cpu

Getting info about the memory on FreeBSD

Getting real and available memory to FreeBSD box:
# dmesg | grep memory

real memory  = 201326592 (192 MB)
avail memory = 188555264 (179 MB) 

Alternatively, try following command to grab memory information on FreeBSD:
# sysctl -a | grep hw.*mem
# sysctl -a | grep mem


hw.physmem: 194985984
hw.usermem: 167641088
hw.cbb.start_memory: 2281701376

Note systcl has more info, just type the sysctl command to see rest of all information:
# sysctl -a | less
Please note that dmesg command information is retrieved on boot. After a while of server usage, that data can be “lost.” Therefore, I suggest that use grep command directly on /var/run/dmesg.boot file:

grep ^CPU /var/run/dmesg.boot
grep -w 'memory' /var/run/dmesg.boot

How to find out free and used memory size on FreeBSD

One can run either top command or htop command that displays the top processes on the system, including free and used memory:
htop ## need to install using 'pkg install htop' ##
Finding FreeBSD hardware info using free and used RAM and memory
Another option is to install freecolor utility. It is a free replacement that displays free memory graphically as a bargraph. It supports the same options as free command from Linux:
# pkg install freecolor
Run it:
# freecolor -t -m -o
How to view hardware specs including memory on FreeBSD

Determining how long a system has been up

# uptime

Finding out when a system was last rebooted or shutdown

# last -1 reboot
# last -1 shutdown

Getting swap file system usage

# swapinfo -k

Finding out who is logged in and what they are doing

Following all commands can be used. The users command displays the list of all logged in users only on FreeBSD box:
# w
# who
# users

Find out when user was last logged in – You can use last command as follows:
# last user-name
For example, find out when was user named ‘vivek’ last logged, enter:
# last vivek

Say hello to pciconf

Want to find info about the PCI bus and devices on FreeBSD? Try:
pciconf -lv
Sample outputs:

ahci0@pci0:4:0:0:       class=0x010601 card=0x91721849 chip=0x91721b4b rev=0x11 hdr=0x00
    vendor     = 'Marvell Technology Group Ltd.'
    device     = '88SE9172 SATA 6Gb/s Controller'
    class      = mass storage
    subclass   = SATA
pcib6@pci0:5:0:0:       class=0x060400 card=0x11501849 chip=0x11501a03 rev=0x02 hdr=0x01
    vendor     = 'ASPEED Technology, Inc.'
    device     = 'AST1150 PCI-to-PCI Bridge'
    class      = bridge
    subclass   = PCI-PCI
vgapci0@pci0:6:0:0:     class=0x030000 card=0x20001849 chip=0x20001a03 rev=0x21 hdr=0x00
    vendor     = 'ASPEED Technology, Inc.'
    device     = 'ASPEED Graphics Family'
    class      = display
    subclass   = VGA
igb0@pci0:7:0:0:        class=0x020000 card=0x15331849 chip=0x15338086 rev=0x03 hdr=0x00
    vendor     = 'Intel Corporation'
    device     = 'I210 Gigabit Network Connection'
    class      = network
    subclass   = ethernet
igb1@pci0:8:0:0:        class=0x020000 card=0x15331849 chip=0x15338086 rev=0x03 hdr=0x00
    vendor     = 'Intel Corporation'
    device     = 'I210 Gigabit Network Connection'
    class      = network
    subclass   = ethernet
ahci1@pci0:9:0:0:       class=0x010601 card=0x92301849 chip=0x92301b4b rev=0x11 hdr=0x00
    vendor     = 'Marvell Technology Group Ltd.'
    device     = '88SE9230 PCIe SATA 6Gb/s Controller'
    class      = mass storage
    subclass   = SATA

dmidecode command

FreeBSD users can install the dmidecode tool using the pkg command:
# pkg install dmidecode
Sample outputs:

Updating FreeBSD repository catalogue...
FreeBSD repository is up to date.
All repositories are up to date.
The following 1 package(s) will be affected (of 0 checked):
New packages to be INSTALLED:
	dmidecode: 3.2
Number of packages to be installed: 1
62 KiB to be downloaded.
Proceed with this action? [y/N]: y
[1/1] Fetching dmidecode-3.2.txz: 100%   62 KiB  63.4kB/s    00:01    
Checking integrity... done (0 conflicting)
[1/1] Installing dmidecode-3.2...
[1/1] Extracting dmidecode-3.2: 100%

Simply run it as follows:
# dmidecode
# dmidecode -t processor
# dmidecode -t memory
# dmidecode -t bios
# dmidecode -t 0 ## code for bios (see table below) ##

Code Description
1 System
2 Baseboard
3 Chassis
4 Processor
5 Memory Controller
6 Memory Module
7 Cache
8 Port Connector
9 System Slots
10 On Board Devices
11 OEM Strings
12 System Configuration Options
13 BIOS Language
14 Group Associations
15 System Event Log
16 Physical Memory Array
17 Memory Device
18 32-bit Memory Error
19 Memory Array Mapped Address
20 Memory Device Mapped Address
21 Built-in Pointing Device
22 Portable Battery
23 System Reset
24 Hardware Security
25 System Power Controls
26 Voltage Probe
27 Cooling Device
28 Temperature Probe
29 Electrical Current Probe
30 Out-of-band Remote Access
31 Boot Integrity Services
32 System Boot
33 64-bit Memory Error
34 Management Device
35 Management Device Component
36 Management Device Threshold Data
37 Memory Channel
38 IPMI Device
39 Power Supply
40 Additional Information
41 Onboard Devices Extended Information
42 Management Controller Host Interface


This page showed you various command-line tools to gather information about hardware, PCI devices, CPU, RAM, and much more on a FreeBSD based system. See FreeBSD getsysinfo.bash script. It is use to find general FreeBSD system information such as, hostname, OS version, Kernel version, Processor/CPU, Total RAM, System load, network interface, total logged in users, Hard disks, Runlevel etc. Make sure your read the detailed installation instruction.

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9 comments… add one
  • Anonymous Apr 14, 2005 @ 3:39

    Thanks. Needing to branch out from my Linux and Solaris world. . .

  • jamie May 18, 2005 @ 9:28

    Note that the “dmesg” information you are referring to is that retrieved on boot. After a while of system usage, that data can be “lost” as it’s replaced by other information that is appended to the buffer.

    For this reason, the usual startup scripts copy the ‘dmesg’ output on bootup to /var/run/dmesg.boot – you’d be safer grepping your information from that file

  • Nilesh Hiray Jan 21, 2006 @ 22:09

    adding to what jamie said …

    a more reliable way to find say the number of CPU’s will be

    cat /var/run/dmesg.boot | grep CPU


  • Anonymous Jun 22, 2006 @ 11:10

    thanks nilesh.. that was great help

  • Daz May 14, 2008 @ 7:28

    If you only want to know the number of CPUs, try this:

    # sysctl -a | grep hw.ncpu
    hw.ncpu: 8

  • SIFE Aug 17, 2009 @ 18:31

    Salamo ALikom
    what i have to type if i want full system hardware like sound card ,video card etc .
    thx for the tutorial .

  • tigos2 Sep 26, 2009 @ 11:47

    dmesg not work if system has few days and more uptime!
    /var/log/messages* overwrited too!
    I want full report of hardware on the system. How may I do? (ls /dev and pciconf -vl, but is not full report 🙁 )
    May I restart utility like dmesg?

  • Khan Nov 18, 2009 @ 15:34

    how to get the mother board model in freebsd

  • Joe Apr 30, 2010 @ 13:09

    There’s a utility called dmidecode (available in ports, even), which will provide way more information that you are probably expecting, including motherboard mfg & model. I imagine it’s dependent on the motherboard mfg properly providing this information in whatever data structures this utility queries, but that shouldn’t be any surprise.

    It was able to tell me (on the 2nd & 3rd “Handles”) that I have a Supermicro X7SBi. Quite handy when you want to order the IPMI module for it, and it’s located 45min away. for more information.

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