When shopping for a laptop, most users tend to look at the CPU generation & speed to make a purchase decision.
But since there are so many varieties of processors in various brands of laptops, it can get a bit overwhelming. And that’s where this article comes in.
Read on, as I’ve discussed what a good processor speed can be to handle various tasks.
Processor Clock Speed 101
Before we address what a good CPU speed is, we need to know what is a processor clock speed and why does it matter?
The main component responsible for executing commands is the CPU. Synchronous hardware and software communication help to carry out the process. And the CPU clock speed determines how fast it can execute and process commands at a given time frame.
Too brief? Let me explain.
The CPU clock speed measures the number of cycles it can process within a limited time frame(one second) which is measured in Gigahertz(GHz). During each cycle, billions of transistors inside the CPU open & close, which is how the processor executes the received instructions.
Inferring this to a more real-world example; if a CPU has a 4GHz clock speed, then it can process 4 billion instructions per second.
Now the question that comes to mind is, why is it important?
Well, higher frequency=more instructions executed per second. This means, in theory, the faster the clock speed is, the more performance it can deliver.
When comparing CPUs from the same generation, the one with the lower clock speed will get outperformed by the one with a higher boost clock. But, things might turn out to be different if they’re from different brands and generations. This brings us to our next topic…
What is a Good CPU Speed for a Laptop?
In general, 3.5GHz to 4.2GHz is an ideal processor speed for laptops as pretty much all sorts of tasks can be done with such clock speed. But multi-core performance is also crucial. A dual-core laptop CPU running at 3.8GHz won’t perform as efficiently as a quad-core 3.2GHz CPU.
Keep in mind, processor clock speed alone is not the most accurate measure of CPU performance. The number of cores, threads, IPC, and architecture are much more important than simply the base/turbo speed of a CPU.
As an example, a six years old processor with a higher clock speed can get outperformed by the latest processor clocked at a lower frequency. It’s because the newer architecture can process the instructions much more efficiently.
But that’s not all! Different workload demands different clock speed and core counts. A single-threaded application will run better on a 3.8GHz dual-core processor than a quad-core 2.4GHz one. That’s why a user’s purpose is an important factor in determining a good CPU speed.
So in order to answer the question at hand, let’s divide the users’ purpose into two sections to get a better perspective.
What is a Good Processor Speed for a Gaming Laptop?
Current gaming laptops on the market have enough processor and graphical horsepower to run any CPU-intensive games such as Valorant, Apex Legends, Warzone, etc. At least a 4-core/8-thread processor clocked at 3.9 to 4.2GHz is absolutely needed to run such titles.
For example, Cyberpunk 2077 cites 3.4GHz as the minimum processor speed while Warzone 2.0 requires 3.7GHz.
Although a greater emphasis is placed on the GPU in a gaming laptop, the CPU is equally important to get buttery smooth gameplay. Not to mention, it also needs to do other heavy lifting like streaming gameplay and editing high-resolution videos which are quite CPU-demanding.
A great way to better understand the ideal CPU clock speed of a gaming laptop is by taking a look at the recommended CPU requirements for some newer AAA games.
As we can see, most of the modern AAA titles require at least 3.2 to 3.6GHz clock speed to get a satisfying gaming experience.
So if you want your gaming laptop to be future-proof and get optimal performance in every task, a 6 core/12 thread processor clocked at 4.2GHz is recommended.
What is a Good CPU Speed for Everyday Use?
If you’re not going to play CPU-intensive AAA titles and only buying a laptop for browsing, studying, or casual office work, then even a dual-core 1.8GHz processor speed should be enough.
Furthermore, you can play some light indie games, granted your device has the necessary GPU power to run it.
In case you want to play 4K/8K videos on Youtube or have multiple Google Chrome tabs opened on your laptop, the processor speed is expected to be around 3.6 to 4.2GHz, along with 4 or 6 CPU cores.
How to Check Laptop Processor Speed
If you want to know the processor speed of the laptop that you want to buy, check the product’s official web page. In such cases, Google is your best friend.
You can also check the Amazon/NewEgg listing for that laptop as they usually provide a detailed specification of each product. But for checking the CPU speed of your own laptop, use Task Manager.
Here’s how to check laptop processor speed:
- Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to quickly launch the Task Manager.
- Navigate to the Performance tab.
- Click on the CPU section from the left pane.
You should be able to see your laptop’s processor speed in the top-right corner. It is also mentioned in the Maximum speed: section below the CPU usage graph. Users can also measure how fast their processor speed is to get a better idea of their device’s capability.
If you ever notice that the processor clock speed is jumping/switching, you should take the necessary steps to fix this issue ASAP.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a 2.4 GHz processor good for a laptop?
2.4 GHz processor speed for a laptop is acceptable for daily usage in 2023.
Is 1.8 GHz good for a laptop?
As long as you’re not doing CPU-intensive tasks or playing games, a 1.8GHz laptop processor should suffice.
How many GHz is good for a laptop?
A laptop that has at least 6 cores/12 threads CPU clocked at around 3.6GHz can do any day-to-day task or run CPU heavy workloads.
Choosing the most suitable laptop for your preferred workload is hard. But after going through this article, you should get a general idea about which processor speed will be most suitable for your purpose.
If you still have any doubts in your mind, feel free to let us know in the comments below.
Have a nice day!