What is a Good Processor Speed for Your Laptop? (Definitive Guide)

CPU is an important component of every computer. The speed of the CPU will determine how smoothly your laptop functions. However, every person does not use a laptop for the same reason. Different requirements need different CPU speeds.

If you’re using a computer to edit videos and photos, a different speed is required compared to someone who uses it for gaming. Unfortunately, there is no clear set of rules as to which CPU is the absolute best. It ultimately depends on the usage.

There are many different types of CPUs in the market meant for different job requirements. If you don’t know which CPU speed is ideal for your laptop, we got you covered.

What is the Best Processor For My Laptop

There are so many good processors out there for laptops. Intel Core is one of the best in the market so far. However, its rival– the AMD processor- offers stiff competition. Choosing the best processor for your laptop depends on the frequency and the intensity of your work.

What is a good processor speed

If you’re searching for a good processor, don’t assume that the pricier or the most recent one is the best. Although Intel’s  Core i7 processor or AMD’s Ryzen 7 are costlier and better than the older models, processing differences are not that evident when performing day-to-day tasks.

If your primary requirement is to write, stream, or just browse, Intel’s processors like the Core i3 or the Core i5 are sufficient. AMD’s Ryzen models 3 and 5 are also good options for basic necessities.

A higher-end processor is required to play demanding games with heavy graphics or even edit 4k videos. Intel’s processors such as the Core i7 or AMD’s processors like Ryzen 7 are perfect choices. Just remember that higher-end processors drain your laptop’s battery quicker.

How can I know Which Processor is on My Laptop

Every laptop runs on a processor that is either manufactured by Intel or AMD. If you’re not sure about the model of processor on your laptop, here’s how you can find it out.

If you’re using Windows 10, just follow these simple steps. First, right-click on the Start menu and select Task Manager. Next, go to the Performance tab, and under there, you will find CPU. The name and the speed of your CPU will be displayed here.

Task manager Performance CPU

Another method to find CPU information is from the settings menu. Go to Start > Settings > System > About. There you will find information about your OS, processor, and RAM.

About Your PC Windows 10

For people using Windows 7,  the control panel can find your CPU model and speed. Once you’ve opened the control panel, search for the system and security tab. Then, right-click on it and navigate to the System tab. You will find your CPU’s model and the speed there.

AMD Ryzen vs Intel Core Processor

Intel processors like the i3, i5, and i7 have dominated the market for a long time. But the AMD Ryzen processors perform just as well as an Intel processor. So to know which processor is better, let’s have a better look at the specification sheet.

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Core i3Basic4.6 GHz90 W
Ryzen 3Basic4 GHz65 W
Core i5Middle4.1-4.6 GHz65-95 W
Ryzen 5Middle4.2-4.4 GHz65-95 W
Core i7Top-notch4.7-4.9 GHz65-95 W
Ryzen 7Top-notch4.4-4.5 GHz65-105 W
Source: Intel and AMD Processor Differences

If we are looking at the numbers, Intel processors show more positive promises than their competitors. Between the Core i3 and Ryzen 3, Intel’s processor is the clear winner in terms of clock speed. However, the Core i3 is more power-demanding. This is easily resolved by charging your laptop properly. So between these two, Intel’s processor is the better option.

Intel’s Core i5 and Ryzen 5 are neck-and-neck. Both offer the same capabilities. However, Intel’s numbers are better by a slight margin. Both Intel and AMD’s top-notch processors offer great numbers. Both processors are fast when performing heavy workloads. However, if we judge the processors by numbers, 4.9 GHz is clearly better than 4.5 GHz.

The basic models are suitable for streaming and watching YouTube videos. The mid-range models allow you to use applications like Adobe Photoshop and even play some average games. The higher-end models are mostly for intense video editing or for games that require heavy processing power. However, in general, Intel’s processors are slightly more powerful.

Which Intel Processor is the Best

Intel 10th gen processors

If you want to know which of Intel’s processors is the best option for you, you need to understand the specifications. The first aspect to note is hyper-threading. This allows a single physical core processor to act as two virtual cores. The general rule is that the more core a processor has, the faster it computes. Intel’s processors like the Core i3 and i7 both support hyper-threading, but Core i5 does not. 

Turbo boost is another important function offered by a processor, which speeds up your tasks. For example, if you’re playing heavy games or editing a large file, your process will activate the turbo boost to ensure extra speed. This is a useful feature offered by Intel’s processors, such as the Core i5 and i7. However, the Core i3 does not support turbo boost.

The cache size is also another factor to consider. The cache acts as the memory of the processor. The Core i3 has a cache size of 3 Mb, while the Core i5 has a cache size between 3 Mb- 6 Mb. The Core i7 stands at 4-8 Mb. The Core i3 by Intel has two physical cores, while the i5 and i7 have both dual cores and quad cores.

ProcessorPhysical CoresHyper-ThreadingTurbo BoostCache Size
Core i32YesNo3 MB
Core i52-4NoYes3-6 MB
Core i72-4YesYes4-8 MB
Source: Differences between Intel’s processors

The Core i3 by Intel is best suited for people who don’t use their laptops for editing or gaming to make it simple and easier. Instead, it is perfect for just browsing or streaming. The Core i5 is a mid-range performer capable of handling average tasks smoothly, including moderate gaming. The Core i7 will suit users who have an intensive workload that requires multitasking.

Which Generation of Intel CPU is Better

Intel’s 10th, 9th and 8th generation cores all use the 14 nm fabrication. However, there are minor refinements with each successive generation. So, to know which core is better suited for you, let’s have a look at the specifications.

The 10th generation processor offers hyper-threading in all its processor models, from the i9 to the i3. Previous generations do not offer hyper-threading on all the processors.

The 10th generation core, when compared to the 9th or 8th offers better potential for speed. You will find features like Turbo Boost and Thermal Velocity Boost, which allow your device to function smoother and faster while working on heavy stuff like high graphics gaming or 4k video editing. The cache size of the 8th generation core maxes out at 12 MB. The 9th generation Intel Core has a maximum cache size of 16 MB, while the 10th generation offers 20 MB. 

Generational improvement in graphics and media Intel CPU
Generational improvement in graphics and media (Intel CPU)

The decision of which generation’s core is the best comes down to personal use. In absolute terms, if we’re looking at numbers and the specifications, the 10th generation is the clear front-runner. However, if you don’t really use your laptop to do intensive work, even the older generations are solid options.

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Which Feature of a Processor is More Important

Every feature of a CPU is equally important. All the features work in tandem to offer a seamless operation. For example, hyper-threading comes in handy when you need additional cores to run your tasks. The number of physical cores determines the efficiency of the processor. It lets you multitask seamlessly, while the clock speed determines the speed at which you operate.

Ideally, you would want a balanced processor. So a processor that offers all these features will be an optimal option. However, if you’re using a laptop simply to browse or watch videos, you can always compromise on the number of cores and go for a CPU with moderate to high clock speed.

Hyper-threading is a great feature offered by most processors these days. If you have a processor that has only a few physical cores, hyper-threading can virtually double that. So if you have a processor with 1 or 2 physical cores, hyper-threading can solve that problem. 

Your needs will determine the different CPU features that are required. If you’re planning on playing heavy gaming, a CPU with a better clock speed is a better option. If your work requires you to render large videos, having more physical cores is better.

How do You Identify Your Processor?

To know which model and generation of processor you use, you just need to look at the digits listed in the processor.

Intel Processor Names and Numbers

Every processor has four digits, followed by a letter. The first digit identifies the generation, while the following three digits of the product number are the SKU. SKUs are generally assigned in the order in which processors in that generation and product line are developed. And the letters present will tell you what function the processor best provides.

Intel Processor Suffix

Intel processors ending with the letter K are fast processors with a high clock speed, while  U ones are designed for power-efficient laptops, and the G processors have in-built graphics.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a laptop fast?

A laptop with a moderate to high clock speed will give you a fast-running laptop. This is because the clock speed of the CPU determines how quickly the instructions are carried out. Typically, a fast processor with a good clock speed can carry out commands every second.

Most processors these days have multiple physical cores. This enables the processor to compute over a billion instructions in a second. Having a high clock speed and more physical cores will make your laptop run not only faster but smoother as well.

The cache and the RAM are equally important for a fast laptop. The cache is super fast in computing and carrying out commands. A processor with more L2 or L3 cache will store more data for you, along with processor information. If your laptop has more RAM, it will store more data. Slowing down your laptop is not a problem with better RAM.

Features like Turbo Boost, which many processors possess, will also speed up your laptop. The Turbo Boost feature is activated if you’re working with heavy applications and your processor thinks you need a little extra speed. Likewise, processors with this feature allow your laptop to speed up when it needs more power.

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Is the GHz or a processor more important?

GHz or clock speed is a feature of every processor. Getting a processor with a good clock speed is the ideal situation. Different processors offer different clock speeds. If we look at the utility purpose, a good processor seems more important.

GHz is one of the many features of a CPU. However, a processor has several other essential features besides GHz. Turbo Boost, Hyper-Threading, Physical Cores, and even Cooling Systems are all part of a good processor.

Prioritizing just the GHz might be a good idea only for specific lines of works. For example, a good clock speed (GHz) will come in handy only during gaming that demands good speed from your processor. But a good processor will ensure overall smoothness and functionality.

Is a processor with a high GHz a good option for my laptop?

GHz determines how fast your processor computes information in a second. A higher clock speed means a faster operation. GHz kicks in when you’re playing heavy games or using memory-intensive applications.

If your laptop involves browsing or streaming videos, a high GHz won’t show noticeable differences. However, even a processor with a basic clock speed will be enough to run everyday tasks.

A processor with 3.4 GHz is considered a good clock speed. This will get you through moderate to intensive gaming. However, even a processor with 2.0 GHz is good when your only work is browsing, reading, writing, or watching videos.

Should I buy a laptop with a Core i5 or i7 processor by Intel?

Processors within the same family share standard features. Picking a laptop with a good processor can be tricky. You first need to know which model offers better specifications and numbers.

If you compare the Core i5 and i7 that share the same generation, differences can be subtle. The Core i5 will have lesser capabilities than the i7. The Core i7 will perform better while multitasking, editing large media files, or creating media files.

Both Core i5 and i7 have multiple physical cores. Both these processors carry four or even more cores. A processor with more cores means you’ll have no problem multitasking. What matters is also the generation of the cores. If the Core i5 belongs to Intel’s 9th generation while the Core i7 belongs to the 7th generation, the Core i5 is the better choice.

The recent generation of cores offers better potential in terms of speed, effectiveness, and overall performance. Each successive generation has tweaks and adjustments lacking in the previous generations. But if you’re comparing within the same generation, the Core i7 will perform slightly better than the Core i5.

Which is the best processor for gaming?

Gaming requires some of the best processors in the market. Unfortunately, gaming with intense graphics pushes your processor to the limit. If you’re using a processor that is not cut out to handle overload, your laptop or PC may shut off or even start lagging. Here’s a table to show you how different processors handle gaming.

Processor1080p Gaming Score1440p Gaming scorePhysical CoresGHz
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X100%100%123.7-4.8 GHz
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X97.21%98.42%83.8-4.7 GHz
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X77.82%84.50%163.5-4.7 GHz
Intel Core i9-10900K88.97%94.48%103.7-5.3 GHz
Intel Core i7-9700K79.09%86.84%83.6-4.9 GHz
Intel Core i7-8700K73.11%78.39%63.7-4.7 GHz
Source: Gaming benchmarks of Intel and AMD processors

It is clear the AMD’s Ryzen 9-5900X is capable of handling both 1080p and 1440p gaming without any difficulties. It scored a perfect 100% on the benchmark test, making it a good option for game lovers.

Within Intel’s processor, the latest generation core performs the best. For example, the Core i9 in a 10th generation core beats out its predecessors in terms of benchmark scores.


There are so many processors out there, good and bad. Picking one seems complicated when there are so many good options within the same price point. We hope that our guide has helped you choose the laptop with the perfect CPU for your needs. Just remember, pricier doesn’t mean better.

Did you find a good processor for yourself? How did you come about it? We’d be glad to know how you choose your processor. What do you look for in a processor? Please drop a comment so we know your tips and tricks!

Chris Martin is a professional tech writer. He's been covering tech tutorials, hardware reviews, and more as a professional writer for over seven years now and it doesn't look like he'll be stopping anytime soon! In addition to writing about the latest gadgets on the market, he also covers topics such as how to set up your home network or troubleshoot any computer problems you may have.

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