What Is a Good Processor Speed for a Laptop or Desktop PC?

What Is a Good Processor Speed for a Laptop or Desktop PC

Processor speeds have been steadily increasing over time as newer computers come out with more powerful processors. This article discusses how much processor speed people need, so they will know if they should upgrade their computer to gain better performance or if they will be fine with their current laptop or desktop. A good rule-of-thumb is that higher GHz numbers indicate faster speeds, but this is not always the case.

Processor speed or CPU clock speed is usually measured in GHz. The higher the number, the faster it can execute computer instructions. However, other factors come into play to measure how fast a computer processes data. For example, one factor is multi-core processors. A typical laptop or desktop today has two processing cores since Intel released its first dual-core processor in 2005. Before then most computers only had one core for processing data. Dual-core means that the computer processes information twice as quickly since it has two cores instead of just one! Computers with 4+ cores have even better overall performance for multi-tasking applications and games. Another factor is the frequency of the processor, which refers to how many instructions can be performed per second. You will see this labeled as Ghz, and you should think twice if a deal that sounds too good to be true pops up on a laptop with a 1 GHz processor because that’s slower than most laptops today.

In terms of purchasing a new computer, there are two main decisions to make based on processing speed: How fast do I want my processor to be? And how much memory should my computer have? The first question depends mostly on what you need to do with your computer. If you will be doing lots of different tasks at once, such as surfing the net, watching videos, running several programs together at once, etc., then a faster processor speed would make those functions run faster and more efficiently.

Need for speed

A processor speed is the number of instructions a computer can perform in one second. The faster the processor speed, the faster a computer can perform tasks. However, other things also determine how fast a computer performs tasks. For example, multitasking capability is an important component of how quickly a laptop or desktop PC completes tasks. Also, the memory capacity and internal components of the computer play key roles in determining performance speed as well as what applications are running at any given time on the computer.

If multitasking is not important to you and you’re just performing simple daily tasks like checking email, writing reports, or doing research online then pretty much any modern processor will be fast enough for your needs; however, if you plan on using programs with intensive computing functions (advanced photo editing, video editing, gaming, etc.) you should consider investing in a more powerful processor.

Your computer’s processor speed can usually be seen on the box it came in or on that manufacturer’s website if you purchased the product used. If your computer does not have a way to view its processor information via display then you will have to look up this information online by entering the specifications of your particular model into a search engine. The type of processor (AMD vs Intel) is also important, though most standard processing software applications are capable of running on both types of processors with minimal differences in speed.

Identify your need for speed

If you are looking for business laptops or desktops, you will need to get anything at least 2 GHz or more because even though most office apps won’t require much processing power. You still want to make sure that the devices are fast enough for employees’ work not to be interrupted while they’re waiting on their computers to catch up with them.

So essentially, the answer to this question is that it’s hard to tell what’s best without knowing what tasks you would be using it for? It depends on your budget and personal preference since there are so many specs out there today that claim to be the “fastest”, but aren’t necessarily true when comparing apples-to-apples. If I had to give an example of what would be considered fast enough for most office users, that is something like an i5 processor, 8GB of ram, and an SSD drive.

That’s just one example, but I think it’s safe to say that most standard office laptops (non-gaming) won’t need much more than this.

The last thing you want is for your employees to be waiting around for their computers to load programs, so get them the best you can afford.

Now if you are an avid gamer, I would recommend a configuration like an i7 CPU or equivalent, 16GB of ram (or more), and a solid-state drive (SSD).

One last thing to keep in mind is that not all processors are created equal. You don’t want to go with an older generation processor if you intend on keeping the computer for a while. For example, an i5 10th generation and i5 11th generation processor both seem like similar processors, but they perform very differently due to the age gap between them. You would be much better off going with something newer than those two as it will speed up your programs dramatically.

That being said…

It’s not all about your processor

Another factor that plays into how quickly a program runs on different computers is the actual specifications of both the computer and what exactly is being run on it. For example, if your computer came equipped with an AMD processor clocked at 4GHz, then it would take slightly longer than someone who had purchased their desktop or laptop with an Intel processor at its standard 3.1 GHz speed. Likewise, if one person were running Photoshop while another was using a program designed for 3D animation, the one running Photoshop would complete their tasks in a shorter amount of time. If someone were going to be doing any type of multitasking with several different programs open at a time, then a higher processing speed would also be beneficial because it could help keep all of these programs from slowing down when they come into use. So between RAM, motherboard, and processor speeds, you can see that it is hard to determine exactly what your computer is capable of without looking at each component individually.

So for example: If I was looking at two laptops where one has 2 GB DDR3 SDRAM and 500 MHz frequency and another that has 4 GB DDR3 SDRAM and 800 MHz frequency, the second laptop would most likely run faster when it came to programs. This is because even though they both have 8 GB of RAM, the computer with higher frequency can process more commands in a shorter amount of time via its CPU which makes it run faster.

Laptop users..always remember

Processor speed in laptops is not something we can change. You are stuck with your laptop processor until you get the next one. Desktop users can however upgrade their CPU speed (move up from let’s say an i3 to an i7 within the same generation) easily.

This doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything you can do to maximize what your laptop has though.  One way is by making sure all of the software on your PC is up to date and using an SSD.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...