Nowadays when it comes to buying a computer there are literally thousands of hardware combinations to choose from, if not more. There are so many manufacturers and each one of them offering so many different products that it’s hard to keep track of them all. That being said, one computer may end up being completely different from another in terms of brand/price or specs, but yield the same performances. Nevertheless, each component works at its own parameters and has its own limits in terms of temperature or voltages, and that’s why it is essential to have a tool which can monitor your hardware temperatures, especially for those who are using a laptop or a beefy overclocked desktop system.
SpeedFan is just one of these tools that monitors the temperature of your computer, but it also offers the possibility to tweak the fan speeds or overclock your hardware to some extent.
Installation & Requirements
Installing SpeedFan is a real cakewalk and there’s nothing much to worry about except for pointing towards the destination folder. Seeing a freeware program that’s not brimming with ads and toolbars is like a breath of fresh air, especially when considering the fact that SpeedFan is the creation of an independent developer.
Platform-wise, SpeedFan is a Windows exclusive program that supports pretty much every version of Windows released after (and including) Windows 95, so in other words: Win9x/ME/NT/2000/2003/XP/Vista/Windows 7
Although it can be labeled as “minimalistic”, the SpeedFan user interface is not user-friendly in the least. In all fairness, it’s easy to take a glimpse at the main window and notice the hardware temperatures which are conveniently displayed for everyone to see, but everything else feels crowded, hard to comprehend and digging deeper into the menus will most likely compel the average user to close the main window and be happy with the fact that there’s a SpeedFan system-tray icon that’s cleverly displaying the hardware temperatures in real time.
On the other hand, the more experienced user might find him/herself at home when navigating through the SpeedFan menus, and here is where you notice that this particular software is more than just a gadget able to read a few temperature sensors. Interestingly enough, SpeedFan offers voltage readings, a certain degree of clock tweaking, full S.M.A.R.T. capabilities, temperature charts and fan control.
- Free with no nagging windows or adware
- Able to provide lots of information from voltages to S.M.A.R.T. readings
- It’s easy to read the temperatures via the main window, system-tray icon or the temperature graph
- Stable and low on system resources
- SCSI support
- The user interface is easy to navigate but hard to comprehend
- The main window isn’t resizable, causing some clustered information to be hard to read
- CPU Core reading is usually 5 degrees Celsius below the actual temperature
- Supports only the Windows platform
It’s quite challenging to choose a SpeedFan alternative, not for the reasons you might expect, but because these types of hardware monitoring utilities come in a very large number and it’s rather difficult to keep track of them all. All in all, we can easily consider iStat menus a good SpeedFan alternative for the Mac user. iStat menus offers a very neat user interface and tons of information regarding what’s going inside your Apple computer, but sadly it comes at a price once the 30 day trial has expired.
A second SpeedFan Alternative that supports both Windows and Linux platforms is Open Hardware Monitor, a freeware tool that you might end up choosing over SpeedFan in case you’re on a lookout for a utility that can give you hardware and temperature information without too much of a hassle. The downside is that Open Hardware Monitor does not offer fan control or the possibility to change hardware clocks.
SpeedFan stands out amongst the other similar programs due to the fact that it undertakes that little extra, such as fan control and by giving the user the possibility to fiddle with the clocks. It offers a fair amount of information about your hardware but the average users may find themselves overwhelmed by the extra information and the clunky user interface. Nevertheless, SpeedFan is a tool that better suits power-users with more extended needs to control what’s going on inside their computer and it’s undeniably embracing this role.