What is Clock Speed – The performance of your CPU or the “brain” of your PC has a huge impact on the loading speed of programs and how smoothly programs run. However, there are different ways to measure processor performance. Clock Speed (also “clock rate” or “frequency”) is one of the most significant. If you’re wondering how to check your Clock Speed, click the Start menu (or click the Windows button*) and type “System Information.” Your CPU model name and Clock Speed will be listed under “Processor”.
What is Clock Speed
In general, a higher Clock Speed means a faster CPU. However, many other factors come into play. Your CPU processes a lot of instructions (low-level calculations like arithmetic) from various programs every second. Clock Speed measures the number of cycles your CPU runs per second, measured in GHz (gigahertz).
“Cycles” are technically pulses synchronized by an internal oscillator, but for our purposes they are the basic unit that helps understand CPU speed. During each cycle, the billions of transistors in the processor open and close. A CPU with a Clock Speed of 3.2 GHz runs 3.2 billion cycles per second. (Older CPUs had speeds measured in megahertz, or millions of cycles per second.)
Sometimes, multiple instructions are completed in one clock cycle; in other cases, a single instruction may be handled over several clock cycles. Since different CPU designs handle instructions differently, it is best to compare Clock Speeds within the same CPU brand and generation. For example, a CPU with a higher Clock Speed than five years ago may be outperformed by a new CPU with a lower Clock Speed, because the newer architecture handles instructions more efficiently.
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