A hardware monitoring tool is necessary to catch problems early on and reduce the likelihood of a node or server platform going down.
Causes of hardware failure range from malware to old age. Implementing hardware monitoring software is essential for gaining visibility over device performance.
The challenge is that it’s not always easy to spot when any hardware is failing either. Using hardware monitoring software to spot problems early on is critical for staying online.
Here’s our list of the 13 best Hardware Monitoring software (Includes PC):
- SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor EDITOR’S CHOICE The industry leader from a provider of a suite of infrastructure monitoring tools. Runs on Windows Server and can monitor CPU, memory, disk space, fan speed, and power supply and app performance to keep you on top of aging hardware. Start 30-day free trial.
- Opmantek Open-AudIT (FREE TRIAL) The basis of this system management tool is the automated asset discovery and auditing of all devices on your network. Installs on Windows Server and Linux.
- Datadog Infrastructure Monitoring (FREE TRIAL) A cloud-based infrastructure management and monitoring package that includes infrastructure monitoring plus other useful system monitoring utilities.
- Paessler PRTG Network Monitor A unified network, server, and application monitoring tool that can be fine-tuned by selecting which hardware monitoring sensors to turn on.
- ManageEngine Applications Manager This tool doesn’t just monitor applications, it covers server statuses as well. The software can be installed on Windows Server and Linux.
- Atera A cloud-based system monitoring and management package aimed at managed service providers that can monitor hardware throughout a network.
- Zabbix A free, open-source infrastructure monitor with an attractive interface. Installs on Linux.
- CPUID HWMonitor A basic hardware monitoring program. Available in free and paid versions.
- HWiNFO A real-time network hardware monitor that focuses on device statuses. Runs on Windows.
- Open Hardware Monitor Free, open-source hardware monitor software that installs on Windows and Linux.
- AIDA64 A hardware and application monitor aimed at SMEs.
- Monitis A server monitor with some great status visualizations.
- SysGauge Reports on the statuses of all equipment that is connected to the network. Available in free and paid versions. Runs on Windows.
Server hardware monitoring
The term “server” is used both for a physical computer and for applications. Examples of software systems that are often called “servers” are a “webserver” and an “FTP server.” When looking for server software, it is important to be very clear in your mind exactly what you are hoping to monitor. Virtual servers complicate the concept of a server even further. Virtualization creates a “virtual machine” (VM), which is supported by a server – in this case a software-defined server. Both the VM and the virtual server run on a physical server.
When examining application servers and physical servers, you will be watching different sets of metrics. For a physical server, for example, you will need to watch the power supply, fan speed, internal temperature, and environmental temperature – these might be factors that need to be monitored on the rack rather than the server itself.
Monitoring physical, virtual, and software-created servers requires watching CPU, memory, and disk capacity and usage. In each case, these same titles might be referring to different things. It is possible to reserve memory and disk space for specific applications, so if a virtual server is running out of memory, that doesn’t mean that the physical server that it runs on has no memory to spare.
The best hardware monitoring software – includes PC
Hardware monitoring software provides you with a centralized platform to monitor the health and performance of connected devices. These tools offer visual displays that highlight faults with notifications and alarms.
SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (SAM) is a hardware monitoring tool that can identify performance issues throughout a network. The tool can monitor CPU, memory, physical disk space, fan speed, and power supply. All of this information is shown to you in the form of a dashboard that provides you complete visibility over your network status and the usage of Windows applications, Linux applications and server resources whether they are located on-premises or in the cloud. You can monitor Azure, AWS IaaS, PaaS and SaaS services.
The installation process offered by SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor is incredibly lightweight. You can start the installation and automatically discover devices connected to your network. It takes less than an hour to be up and running to monitor your local environment.
Once the installation is complete you can start to customize the monitors you deploy to manage your environment. The Component Monitor Wizard helps you to choose what service or application you want to monitor. Having this level of control makes sure that you have complete visibility throughout your hardware stack.
- Monitors key server statuses
- Integrates with network management modules
- Alerts system
- Attractive data graphs
SolarWinds SAM is a natural choice for those SMEs searching for low maintenance but highly effective hardware monitoring software. The price starts at $2,995 (£2,368). You can download the 30-day free trial version.
SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor is one of the most powerful tools for monitoring & preventing performance issues that stem from hardware malfunctions and failures. It has an intuitive and customizable dashboard that makes it seamless for you to optimize your resources and prevent server outages.
Get 30 Day Free Trial: solarwinds.com/server-application-monitor/
OS: Windows Server 2016 or later
Read more: Step-By-Step CPU Benchmark Test
Opmantek produces a range of IT system monitoring and management tools and Open-AudIT is the hardware and software inventory management module in the suite. The first task that this auditing tool will perform is a network sweep, automatically discovering and auditing each device for hardware, software, services, and operating systems.
The Open-AudIT service operates as a configuration manager. It takes an image of each device’s settings and then stores it. The asset discovery sweep can be scheduled to suit any cadence, with each device audit, the service resamples the device’s configuration and reports on any changes. Another security benefit of Open-AudIT is that it can spot unauthorized devices connected to the network.
All results of system scans are stored in a database, so they can be referenced at any time. As well as creating and managing a hardware and software inventory, the Open-AudIT system produces scheduled audit reports. The dashboard for the system shows live scan results and offers historical data analysis tools.
- Fast asset discovery
- Configuration management
- Software inventory
- Capacity tracking
Opmantek markets the software for Open-AudIT on an annual license. The package is available in versions to run on Windows Server and Linux and it can also be run as a virtual appliance over a hypervisor. The service is available in two editions: Professional and Enterprise. Each package is priced according to ranges of node numbers to be scanned. Open-AudIT is offered for free to manage up to 20 nodes which is ideal for evaluating the product.
Datadog is a system monitoring and management service that is based in the cloud. The base package of Datadog is called Infrastructure and it monitors hardware as well as service performance. The Datadog system is packaged into modules and the more modules you get, the more control you have over your system. The modules link together to produce better visibility of what is going on in your IT resources. Other modules offered by Datadog include Security Monitoring, Network Performance Monitoring, Application Performance Monitoring, and Log Management.
Features in the infrastructure module include autodiscovery, so you don’t have to spend time setting up the monitor with a list of your hardware. The tool will also monitor your system’s performance, enabling you the option of remapping your resources to make better use of existing hardware.
- Network devices autodiscovery
- Search tag, and sort hosts
- Create host and container maps
- Live hardware process monitoring
The Infrastructure module of Datadog is available in three plan levels, the cheapest of which is the Free plan. The two paid plans are called Pro and Enterprise. The Enterprise plan has more features and is more expensive than the Pro plan. Utilities in the Enterprise plan include machine learning for the creation of alert threshold levels and the examination of live processes. The Enterprise tool also includes security monitoring and forecasting features. Both the Pro and Enterprise plans of Datadog Infrastructure are available for 15-day free trials.
Paessler PRTG Network Monitor is another hardware monitoring tool that strikes the balance between depth and accessibility. With PRTG Network Monitor you can monitor the CPU, RAM, and hard drives of network devices. The software supports products from vendors including IBM, Cisco, Dell, Synology, and Linksys. All performance data can be viewed instantly through the on-screen dashboard.
However, you don’t have to stay glued to the computer just to know what is going on. PRTG Network Monitor has an alerts system that sends you a notification via email or SMS if there is a problem in your environment. For example, you can configure critical alerts to be sent if disk space drops too low.
The setup process with this tool is also quite straightforward. You can set the program to ping IP ranges to find devices connected to your network. You can also build maps of your network with a drag-and-drop editor if you want to troubleshoot from a geographical perspective.
- Customizable monitoring package
- Live data on server statuses
- Network device monitoring
- Device autodiscovery
PRTG Network Monitor operates a flexible pricing scale depending on the number of hardware sensors you want to use. The tool is free for less than 100 sensors but beyond that point, you will have to play. Paid versions of PRTG Network Monitor start at $1600 (£1,265) for 500 sensors and 1 server installation. There is also a 30-day trial.
Related: CPU Temperature Monitoring Tools
ManageEngine Applications Manager is an infrastructure monitoring solution designed for monitoring the status of applications and hardware. Things you can monitor with this tool include memory, CPU configuration data, disk data, temperature, CPU fan speed, and power supply rating. The hardware health of these elements can be identified with a green or red button.
ManageEngine Applications Manager also uses alarms to alert you when a piece of hardware fails. You can configure alerts to be sent when hardware falls into the following categories; warning, critical, failed, degraded, error, and non-recoverable. These alerts are great for giving you the heads up before a device malfunctions.
The monitoring experience offered by ManageEngine Applications Manager is particularly suited to organizations with a diverse range of applications. The tool can monitor network hardware, virtual machines, web servers, and cloud applications through one platform. In terms of bandwidth, the tool can monitor up to 50,000 applications.
- Covers hardware statuses
- Alert-based monitoring
ManageEngine Applications Manager is free for up to 5 apps or servers. There are two main paid versions; the Professional Edition and the Enterprise Edition. The Professional Edition starts at $945 (£747) for 25 monitors, and the Enterprise Edition starts at $9,595 (£7,586) for 250 monitors. There is also a free trial available.
Atera is a system monitoring platform created especially for managed service providers (MSPs). The service is delivered from the cloud, removing almost all hardware requirements from the MSP’s own site. Access to the console of the system, both for MSP managers and their technicians is made through any standard web browser. Atera also produces free apps to enable customers to get to its system from mobile devices.
The service checks on the statuses of network devices, endpoints, and physical or virtual servers. In addition to hardware monitoring, Atera is also able to track and improve the performance of applications, such as databases and web and email servers.
As a cloud-based service that supports remote access, Atera can deliver connections to any customer resource, including cloud-based AWS or Azure servers – The Atera system is actually resident on Azure servers. The monitored system just needs an agent installed on it.
Atera includes a Help Desk portal, which gives technicians remote access to endpoints for investigation and problem solutions. The package also includes a remote desktop service that lets the endpoint user watch the actions of the technician.
Customers of Atera don’t need to pay for the software upfront, which is a big advantage for independent freelance support specialists and is very appealing to startup MSPs. Instead, the MSP pays a subscription per technician. This pricing model makes Atera suitable for MSPs of all sizes, and it is particularly interesting for rapidly expanding service providers. When an MSP gets to full capacity and hires new staff, it just needs to add on the appropriate number of Atera subscriptions to get those new technicians fully tooled up.
- Suitable for MSPs
The Atera subscription also includes processing power and storage on cloud servers, so it is a very cost-efficient deal. You can try out the Atera system on a 30-day free trial.
Zabbix is a network monitoring tool that can track hardware availability. Zabbix automatically discovers devices on setup and recognizes when devices have been connected or disconnected. Once tools are connected, you can monitor system status, disk space, device temperature, power supply, and fan state of network hardware. There are also out-of-the-box templates for monitoring popular servers from manufacturers like IBM, Lenovo, Dell, Linux, Solaris, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
To keep you updated you can look at alerts through email, SMS, jabber, custom scripts or messenger. Alert messages can be customized based on the recipient. For instance, you can customize date and time, hostname, item value, trigger values, host profile, user macros and escalation history.
The visualization offered in Zabbix is also top-notch. You can view graphs of hardware that automatically refresh. For example, you can view graphs of CPU load and CPU utilization monitoring to see how devices are performing. You can also generate availability reports to show other members of your team.
- Monitors hardware statuses
- Attractive interface
- Free to use
One of the key selling points of Zabbix is that it is free and open-source. You can download Zabbix for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, Oracle Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and Raspbian. You can download Zabbix for free.
Related post: Nagios vs Zabbix
Cupid HWMonitor is one of the most widely-used hardware monitoring tools on this list. HWMonitor monitors the health status, voltages, temperatures and fan status of connected devices. Information is shown to you in a list format that breaks down the performance of connected devices. All data readings are shown in real-time so you can stay up to date with the performance of devices within your network.
One advantage of HWMonitor is that it is easy to use. After completing a startup it will automatically start monitoring your network for performance issues. Once the program is up and running, you can use features like reports to gather further information on your hardware and troubleshoot.
If you’re looking for a straightforward hardware monitoring experience without some of the more advanced features and visualization of other platforms, HWMonitor is a good choice.
- Monitors hardware statuses
- Easy to use
- Free version
The program is available as a free version or a paid full version (the pro version offers additional logging capabilities and remote operation). You can download HWMonitor for free.
HWiNFO is a network monitoring tool that is used for hardware and system monitoring. HWiNFO offers real-time hardware monitoring for your computer’s CPUs, GPUs, mainboards, drives, and peripherals. The tool is geared towards identifying if your device is overheating or failing. While the user interface is a bit outdated it makes it easy to find the information you need.
The information collected by the tool is categorized into different segments; memory, CPU, motherboard, bus, drives, monitor, ports, network, audio, and video adapter. The sheer range of categories gives your monitoring activities visibility throughout your entire network.
Even though HWiNFO’s experience is a little more basic than some of the other tools on this list, it still has its own alerts system. Alerts are customizable and can be updated with extensions. You can also collect more information with XML, CSV, and HTML reports complete with customizable graphs and tables.
- Live hardware status monitoring
- Used by NASA
- Free to use
For smaller enterprises that require a simple hardware monitor, HWiNFO is an ideal choice. HWiNFO works on Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. Learn more and download it at this link.
Open Hardware Monitor is an open-source hardware monitoring solution that monitors CPU load, temperature, fan speed, voltage, and clock speed. You can view the system performance of these elements in list format. The last update for Open Hardware Monitor was released in 2016.
As an open-source product, Open Hardware Monitor is cost-free and easy to install. You can download the program as a file or source code.
- Monitors server statuses
- Live reporting
- Free to use
The program is available for Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10 and Linux (x86 based operating systems). You can download Open Hardware Monitor for free.
AIDA64 is a hardware and software monitoring solution designed specifically for SMEs. The tool has a hardware detection engine that can discover connected devices from a database including over 208,000 entries. The hardware monitoring capabilities offered by AIDA64 include CPU, disk, and temperature monitoring tools. Once data and information has been collected from devices it can be saved as CSV, XML or an SQL database.
The alerts system of AIDA64 can send notifications to the user once there is an issue or a piece of hardware or software is changed. For example, you can receive a notification if the system drive free space is below a certain percentage or there is a system memory size change. Notifications are sent by email so that you don’t miss anything important.
One of the exciting features included with AIDA64 is the ability to monitor devices remotely. You can launch, restart and shutdown applications and services remotely. The remote management capabilities of this tool allow you to monitor remote PCs seamlessly.
There are four different versions of AIDA64 available for purchase; Extreme, Engineer, Network Audit and Business. The Extreme version starts at $39.95 (£31.57) for home users. The Engineer version starts at $199.90 (£157.99) with command-line automation. The Network Audit version costs $100 (£79.03) and includes command-line automation, network inventory, and change management.
- Status alerts
- Aimed at SMEs
- 30-day free trial
The Business edition costs $199.90 (£157.99) and supports remote management, command-line automation, network inventory, and change management. You can download the free trial.
Monitis is a server hardware health monitoring tool that can monitor the CPU, memory, storage and disk usage of network or PC components. The tool comes with native agents for Windows and Linux making it ideal for cross-platform monitoring activity. You can also monitor network bandwidth to see if there is any suspicious traffic that could indicate an attack.
The tool also offers alerts to keep you in the loop if there is a problem with your hardware. You have reports so you can pass on more detailed information about hardware failures straight to your team. Reports have a production quality that is on par with any other tool on this list.
Monitis is worth consideration if you’re looking for a server monitoring solution.
- Server status monitoring
- Attractive interface
- 15-day free trial
The user interface is simple and contains all the information you need to run troubleshooting on connected servers. However, to view the price you’ll need to contact the sales team directly. You can download the free trial of Monitis.
Although technically a ‘system monitor’ and not a true ‘hardware monitor’, SysGauge made it to our list because it can cover the hardware monitoring needs of most network administrators. SysGauge is a network performance monitor that provides an overview of connected devices. The tool monitors CPU usage, memory usage, resource usage, disk space usage, and disk read/disk write for all logical and physical disks installed within a computer. For hardware monitoring, the System Status Monitor will be where you spend most of your time.
The System Status Monitor shows you graphs and dials displaying CPU usage and memory allocation data. These are relatively basic but they do a great job of visualizing the raw data. In the CPU usage chart display, you can view usage data from the last minute, last two minutes, or last five minutes.
To deliver notifications, SysGauge has system monitoring rules. These rules allow you to configure notification conditions. For example, you can add an option like’ If Memory Usage Current Value is More than 90% Show Error’ or ‘If Disk Space Usage Current Value is More Than 90% Show Warning’.
- Network performance with hardware monitoring
- Covers server statuses
- Free version
SysGauge is available on Windows as a 32-bit or 64-bit package. There is a free version of SysGauge that supports up to 10 monitors and profiles. The paid versions of the program are as follows: SysGauge Pro$50 (£39.52), SysGuage Ultimate $125 (£98.80), and SysGauge Server $125 (£98.90). These support 50, 100, and 200 monitors/profiles each. You can download SysGauge.
Choosing Hardware Monitoring Software
Hardware monitoring is the only way to safeguard against the failure of a device. Using a proactive hardware monitoring solution like SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor, Datadog Infrastructure Monitoring, Opmantek Open-AudIT, and Paessler PRTG Network Monitor can help to minimize the rise of a node failing and halting productivity.
These tools each have their own dashboards to oversee hardware performance metrics and an alerts system to compliment real-time monitoring efforts. Whether you are an SME or a large organization, both tools have the bandwidth to manage hardware performance at scale.
PC & Hardware Monitoring Software FAQs
Is Open Hardware Monitor safe?
Open Hardware Monitor is safe. The program doesn’t communicate with a remote control center and so it is not vulnerable to message hijacking over the internet. The purpose of the software only checks the physical statuses of the monitored device and does not tough data files or interact with software services. As an open-source project, the source code for the utility can be read through, enabling the user to check that the program isn’t doing anything untoward.
What is the best hardware monitor you have found?
We really like the SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor. It is very rare that any business will only want to monitor its server’s physical statuses. Server performance problems can be caused by faults with applications, services, and software as well as physical issues. Using an integrated monitor covering all aspects of a server’s performance is better than just focusing on physical properties.
How do I monitor my CPU temp?
CPU temp is a typical hardware status that most server monitors will cover. When looking into different server monitoring packages, make sure the tool you are interested in is specifically a hardware monitor rather than an application monitor. If it is a server hardware monitor, it should monitor CPU temp. Standard PC monitoring tools also typically cover CPU temp.