Operational hardware is the bare minimum you need to stay productive throughout the working day. However many enterprises are failing to monitor their hardware sufficiently. Amongst conscientious enterprises, the hardware monitoring tool HWMonitor is a household name but even so, at scale, it runs into limitations.
We get into a lot of detail on each of the tools we feature below, but in case you are short of time, here is our summary list of the 10 best alternatives to HWMonitor:
- SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (FREE TRIAL) A monitoring system that covers all statuses on Windows Server and Linux servers.
- Paessler PRTG Network Monitor This tool monitors networks, servers, and applications. On servers, it covers all hardware statuses and includes alerts for out-of-bounds conditions.
- WiNFO An infrastructure monitoring tool that covers hardware statuses. Runs on Windows.
- ManageEngine OpManager A network monitor that uses SNMP to keep tabs on the statuses of network devices. Available in Windows Server and Linux versions.
- AIDA64 A hardware monitor for Windows that is available in four editions.
- SysGauge A lightweight hardware performance monitor that runs on Windows. Available in free and paid editions.
- PA Server Monitor A monitoring tool for Windows Server, and Linux operating systems. Priced per monitored device.
- Open Hardware Monitor A lightweight, free server monitor that is available for Windows and Linux.
- Atera A system monitoring and management package aimed at managed service providers.
- Progress WhatsUp Gold A network monitor that includes device status monitoring. Can be extended to include server monitoring.
What is HWMonitor?
HWMonitor is a free hardware monitoring program that monitors the speed, voltage, temperature, fans of PCs connected to your network. The tool can tell if a device is overheating or performing poorly. HWMonitor is designed to work with ARM processes from popular providers like AMD, Intel, and VIA.
Performance data is displayed in a list table format, that shows health sensors with the data recorded from connected devices. All you need to do to find the performance data you’re looking or is to scroll down to the relevant section.
For visualizations, there is a Graphs Generator that automatically creates graphs of usage data which is saved to a log folder. You can interact with the size of graphs by clicking on Option. While this isn’t as sophisticated as some other proprietary products it does help give you a top-down perspective.
Why Use HWMonitor?
The main reason you should use HWMonitor is that it is lightweight. The basic layout of the table design makes it easy to scroll and find the data you need. You won’t get lost or sidetracked by other features. It is relatively easy for you to view all the hardware information you need on-screen without too much searching.
Another good reason to use HWMonitor is that it is updated regularly. While many tools CPU monitoring tools are updated inconsistently HWMonitor has new updates every few months. Regular patches help to tighten up the monitoring experience and eliminate bugs found by users.
Beyond the technical abilities of HWMonitor the low price point is another reason to consider the tool. The standard version of HWMonitor is available for free, putting it in the reach of SME’s and larger organizations. However, there is a Pro version that includes additional logging capabilities, remote operation, and graphing. The price of HWMonitor Pro is $22.40 (£17.69) for 10 remote connections and $39.33 (£31.05) for up to 20 remote connections.
The Best Alternatives to HWMonitor
The only issue with HWMonitor is that it only shows you data points like temperatures, voltages, and frequencies. It doesn’t have the depth of monitoring features that other competitor tools have. Similarly, it doesn’t have the production value or visualization features that some other popular hardware monitoring providers have.
So we’ve had a look at the best alternatives and ranked them according to their feature and benefits, ease of use, and overall performance.
SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor is a server and hardware monitoring platform that provides one of the most streamlined monitoring experiences on this list. The tool can monitor the health of hardware recording information on CPU, memory, disk space, temperature, fan speed, and power supply. The user interface shows this information in a list format that you can drill down or minimize as needed.
However, the visual elements included with SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor are more advanced than those of HWMonitor. For example, current hardware health is shown alongside green buttons to denote devices that are up. Devices in between are marked as warning and once they reach critical levels they are marked with red. You also have detailed graphs to show you the change in hardware performance overtime.
To work better with third-party vendors, SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor comes with templates for monitoring over 200 different applications. Templates are available for Windows, Microsoft IIS, Exchange, SQL Server, Active Directory, Linux, Apache, and more. So if you’re looking for a tool to monitor hardware from disparate vendors this tool is an ideal choice.
The price of SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor is also competitive for a premium hardware monitoring product. The price starts at $2,995 (£2,364). There is a 30-day free trial version.
Paessler PRTG Network Monitor is a network monitoring tool that can also monitor hardware. With PRTG Network Monitor you can monitor the CPU, RAM, and hard drives of network devices. Devices that the tool monitors include computers, switches, routers, and printers. The tool pings devices in your network to assess response time and availability. The tool is thus a good choice if you want to monitor the performance of a wide-cross section of devices connected to your network.
The alerts system on PRTG Network Monitor is exceptional. Sensors can be customized to notify you if a device is experiencing performance issues or outright fails. Notifications are sent as emails, text messages, and push notifications. Push notifications are available for Android and iOS devices so that you are always aware of current developments.
PRTG “Core service” is available on Microsoft Windows 2012 R2, 2016, 10, 8, 2008 R2, and 2008. For cash-strapped SME’s PRTG Network Monitor is a good choice because it uses a scalable pricing model. The product is free for monitoring with less than100 sensors.
Paid versions of PRTG Network Monitor start at $1600 (£1,263) for 500 sensors and go up to $60,000 (£47,369) for unlimited sensors with 5 server installations. You can download the free trial.
HWiNFO is a hardware monitoring tool with real-time system monitoring capabilities. The hardware components you can view with this tool include CPUs, GPUs, drives, mainboards, and peripherals. In terms of data, you can monitor the RAM, logical CPU number, temperature, memory speed, and battery charge of connected devices.
Similar to other network monitoring tools, HWiNFO offers features like alerts and reports to keep the user updated. Alerts are customizable so that you can monitor parameters of your choice. Likewise, you can generate reports in XML, CSV and HTML to share findings with your team.
There are also add-ons to enhance the core monitoring experience of HWiNFO. Add-ons available for HWiNFO include RivaTuner/MSI Afterburner/EVGA Precision On-ScreenDisplay, Rainmeter plug-in, HWiNFOMonitor, LCDHost plug-in and more. Each add-on adds a new feature to the program. For example, the HWiNFOMonitor extension adds a customizable sidebar that adds additional graphs for you to monitor.
HWiNFO is the natural successor to HWMonitor and offers a clear cut but detailed hardware and system monitoring experience. The program is available on Windows in 32-bit and 64-bit. You can download HWiNFO for free.
ManageEngine OpManager is a hardware and network monitor for Windows and Linux. The tool uses SNMP to ping devices and pulls performance data. Things you can monitor with ManageEngine OpManager include temperature, fan speed, voltage, and processor status. The software is compatible with VMware, Dell, Cisco HP, and more so you maintain complete transparency.
As a top network monitoring tool, ManageEngine OpManager also has an alerts system. Alerts are sent via email and SMS to make sure that you don’t miss anything important. When devices go down or match certain parameters alarms are raised. Alarms are divided into 4 categories; Service Down, Attention, Trouble, and Critical. These are shown as dials on the left-hand side of the alarms page.
There are three versions of ManageEngine OpManager available to purchase; the Standard Edition, Professional Edition, and Enterprise Edition. The Standard Edition costs $245 (£193.42) for 1000 devices. The Professional Edition costs $345 (£272.37) for 1000 devices with additional features like VMware monitoring and hyper-v monitoring. The Enterprise Edition costs $11,545 (£9,114.56) for 10,000 devices with additional features.
AIDA64 is a piece of hardware monitoring software that offers temperature, CPU, fan, speed, and disk monitoring. The tool works by using a hardware detection engine to find information on the software being used by connected devices. Being able to see what software devices are using remotely increases transparency. As an added bonus, AIDA64 also provides stress testing for your computer, hard disk, SSD, and OpenCL GPU.
One of the reasons why AIDA64 is so widely used is because of its benchmarking abilities. Benchmarks are used to measure how fast a computer completes processes and tasks. In other words, benchmarks allow you to test for the signs of poor performance and spot hardware issues like hardware degradation.
AIDA64 is available for Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP, PE, 2003, Vista, 2008, 7, 2008 R2, 8, 2012, 8.1, 2012 R2, 10 and 2016. There are four versions of AIDA64 that you can purchase; Extreme, Engineer, Network Audit, and Business. The Extreme version is aimed at home users and starts at $39.95 (£31.54). The Engineer version adds command-line automation and starts at $199.90 (£157.80).
The Network Audit version has network inventory, command-line automation, and change management for $100 (£78.94). Finally, the business edition includes all of the above with remote management for $199.90 (£157.83). You can download the free trial.
SysGauge is a system monitoring solution with a range of CPU monitoring functions. The CPU Monitor module shows information such as CPU usage, user CPU usage, kernel CPU usage, CPU interrupt rate, CPU frequency, and more. The display Is broken down into graphs and text data. The visual display is relatively basic but it is easy to read.
The program is also highly customizable. For instance, you can use the System Monitor module to configure CPU monitoring profiles for your users. Then you can select the local and remote computers that you want the user to be able to monitor. In the paid versions of SysGauge there is also a command-line interface, where you can monitor CPU usage directly.
SysGauge is available for Windows as a 32-bit and 64-bit application on Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10, 2003, 2008, 2012, 2012 R2, and 2016. The SysGauge platform is free for 10 monitors or less.
There are three paid versions of SysGauge: SysGauge Pro, SysGauge Ultimate, and SysGauge Server. SysGauge Pro comes with 50 monitors for $50 (£39.48). SysGauge Ultimate supports up to 100 monitors for $125 (£98.70). SysGauge Server is also $125 (£98.70) and supports up to 200 monitors with extra remote control capabilities. You can download SysGauge for free.
PA Server Monitor is a hardware and server monitoring tool that can monitor Windows and Linux devices. PA Server Monitor shows you the ping, CPU, memory, and disk data on your local environment. There is also remote monitoring to monitor remote computers and other devices. The user interface is slightly outdated but still provides a high-quality monitoring experience with the potential to monitor over 1,000 servers or devices.
The software also has more advanced features like alerts. Alerts are sent automatically by email or SMS once a specific trigger condition has been met. The program can be configured to automatically restart a service or run a custom script to respond to issues. The automation offered by the alerts system decreases your response time when addressing performance issues.
For further detail, you can translate network usage data into reports. Reports come in the form of status reports for devices complete with uptime data. Reports are available in HTTP and can be sent by email to the rest of your team. You can also develop maintenance schedules to deactivate monitoring outside of business hours.
There are four versions of PA Server Monitor available to purchase; Lite License, Pro License, Ultra License, and Corporate Ultra. You need to purchase a license for every monitored server or device. The Lite License range starts from $49 (£38.68) each for devices 1-9 up to $4 (£3.16) for 1000+ devices. For more information on pricing options, you will need to check the comparison table on the site. You can download the free trial version.
Open Hardware Monitor is a lightweight hardware monitoring utility that is popular amongst Windows users. The program is open-sourced and can monitor temperature, CPU load, fan speed, voltage, and clock speed. All of this information can be viewed in the form of a basic table. While there isn’t much in the way of fancy features or presentation, Open Hardware does a good job of showing your computer’s performance in one window.
If you’re looking for a basic hardware monitoring experience Open Hardware Monitor has you covered. The program simply shows you the metrics you need and nothing more. Open Hardware Monitor is available for Linux, WindowsXP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10. Check out the free download.
The remote monitoring and management (RMM) functions of Atera cover all hardware on a client’s site, not just endpoints. The tool supports the work of managed service providers (MSPs) and so it includes administration functions as well as monitoring utilities.
The Atera system is a cloud-based service that includes server time and space for processing and storage, so the MSP that signs up for this package doesn’t need to have any major infrastructure on its own site. The remote systems being monitored do need to have agent software installed, however. The MSPs managers and technicians access the Atera dashboard through any standard web browser. Atera also produces free apps for mobile devices to give access to the system.
The hardware monitoring sections of Atera supervise CPU, memory, and disk space, noting the potential capacity of each and monitoring utilization. Admin functions included in the tool extend to maintenance tasks, such as system backup and restore and disk cleaning and defragmentation. Other controls in the system enable a technician to audit all software on a device, install new service and programs and shutdown and startup servers and endpoints.
Technicians get remote desktop access to endpoints as part of the Help Desk support suite in Atera. This section of the Atera package also includes remote access for system exploration, patch management, and script execution for automated administration and onboarding tasks.
The Atera system is charged for by subscription with fees applied per technician. The MSP can decide whether to pay for the service monthly or annually – the yearly plan works out cheaper. The subscription model of Atera makes this service very scalable and suitable for MSPs of any size. You can check out the features of Atera with a 30-day free trial.
WhatsUp Gold is a hardware monitor widely used by SME’s and large organizations. WhatsUp Gold can monitor the temperature, fan status, and power supply of your devices. The APC performance monitor tracks the power usage of connected devices automatically once they have been discovered. The program is also capable of monitoring any printer that supports IETF Printer, MIB, RFC 3805.
One of the most useful features included with WhatsUp Gold is the ability to automatically discover your entire network. All connected devices are located and plotted on a topological map. From here you can view their status with up devices shown in green and failed devices shown in red.
The alerts system is also extremely useful. You can create custom alerts to notify you when a certain parameter has been met. Alerts are sent by email, SMS, Slack, web alarms and IFTTT posts to make sure that you don’t miss out on anything.
There are three versions of WhatsUp Gold that you can purchase: Premium Annual Subscription, Premium License, and the Total Plus License. The difference between the Premium and Total Plus license is that the latter has network traffic analysis, application monitoring, virtualization monitoring, configuration management, and more. However, you’ll have to contact the vendor directly if you want to view pricing information. Progress offers a free trial.
HWMonitor Alternatives: SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor, PRTG Network Monitor, and HWiNFO
HWMonitor is a versatile tool in its own right but if you’re looking for something different or more modern, SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor, Paessler PRTG Network Monitor, and HWiNFO stand in as great alternatives. If you have the budget then SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor offers a full-featured hardware monitoring experience that is easy to configure.
However, if a low-price point is essential then Paessler PRTG Network Monitor’s free edition is ideal. It offers higher-quality displays and visualization then HWMonitor for the same price. That being said if you would prefer something a little more simple HWiNFO stands at the natural successor to HWMonitor with alerts and plugins for those additional monitoring capabilities.