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lscpu is a command which can be eternally useful when checking the
hardware capabilities of a given host. At it’s simplest, lscpu can be run after
installing the util-linux package (on Debian and Debian-based distros) with no
options, and will end up with an output similar to the below:

This tells us information such as the bit-type, number of cores (CPUs), number of threads, the vendor, model and frequency. Some of the more cryptic lines include ‘BogoMIPS‘ or ‘Bogus MIPS’ – a rough score for how much processing power is available to a CPU calculated by the Linux kernel when it boots – or the cache lines, which state how much cache memory your CPU features at each level.

Sockets refers to each physical CPU on the motherboard, which for the vast majority of workstations will be a straightforward value of 1. Cores per Socket refers to the number of physical cores on that socket, and threads per core is the number of threads a physical core can carry at once. This is often two for most recent x86 processors. Finally, CPUs is the number of logical threads as seen by the operating system; this is threads per core multiplied by cores per socket multiplied by the number of sockets; in this case, 2*2*1=4.

The flags at the bottom of this output is a run-down of everything your CPU can do. Some common examples include fpu, floating point support; lm, a 64-bit architecture; aes, support for accelerated AES (Advanced Encryption Standard); smx, a trusted platform module; vmx or svm, hardware virtualisation from Intel and AMD respectively; tm, thermal monitoring (scaling back the clock speed to keep things cool); hypervisor, the system is running on a hypervisor.

A full list of flags can be found in the Linux kernel source file cpufeatures.h.


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