A Little About The ‘lspci’ Command

Today’s article is going to be another article where we get back to the basics, where we’ll learn a little about the ‘lspci’ command. As far as articles go, this one should be both fairly brief and easy to understand. To learn more about the ‘lspci’ command, read on! 

I am going to be writing some articles that cover the basics. I decided to not write them all at once, but to intersperse them with other articles. So far, we’ve had:

A Little About The ‘lsusb’ Command
A Little About The ‘lscpu’ Command

Well, this time around we’re going to cover ‘lspci’. 

So, what is ‘lspci’? We can find no better source than the man pages, which helpfully describe ‘lspci’ as:

lspci – list all PCI devices

Well, we see that it lists PCI devices, but what are those? PCI is another way hardware components talk with the CPU. If you have a fancy graphics card, it’s probably PCI-based (but likely PCI-X). If you’re really curious, PCI stands for “Peripheral Component Interconnect” but think of it as a way hardware can talk to the central processing unit.

So, the ‘lspci’ command will list things attached to the computer on the PCI bus. This is remarkably similar to the ‘lsusb’ command, though PCI can have a USB device attached to it through a hub.

Anyhow, that’s what PCI is and that’s what ‘lspci’ is meant to do. So, with that in mind, let’s just belly-flop into the article!

The ‘lspci’ Command:

You’ll find that ‘lspci’ is a terminal-based command. As such, you’ll have to have a terminal window open. If you don’t know how to open your default terminal emulator, just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

We will not be covering everything that can be done with the ‘lspci’ command. We might have time and space (this time around), there’s really no reason to dive deeper into the ‘lspci’ command. We’re just going to cover the basics – because that’s all you’ll realistically have to worry about.

With your terminal now open, just run the command with no flags (but with sudo, ’cause ‘lspci’ wants elevated permissions to operate):

If you want a more verbose output, you can do that. Your choices are -v, -vv, and -vvv with ever-increasing amounts of verbosity. That can be pretty handy. Try this command to experience the most verbose output:

Where you might find the ‘lspci’ command most useful would be when you already know the class and category of information you want returned. When you use ‘lspci’ with ‘grep’, it gets more useful. For example, to learn about your memory:

See? It’s pretty straightforward. You’ll get this. I’m sure of it! (See 2nd edit below.)

As you can see, there’s quite a bit that you can do with the ‘lspci’ command. It’s a pretty handy command and we’ve just covered the ways you’re most likely to use ‘lspci’. 

EDIT: Fixed some information. I had somehow started to include lshw commands.
EDIT: So, this article was horribly written. Now it’s just short. I conflated ‘lspci’ with ‘lshw’ somehow – probably ’cause they’re next to each other in my notes. I’m just going to leave it as it is now.

Closure:

There it is, another new article! This time, we’re learning a little about the ‘lspci’ command. It’s a handy command to have learned, as you’ll eventually want to know about the hardware using the PCI bus. When that day does come, you’ll be able to use the command. Also, I’m ahead of schedule with pre-written articles.

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