how to check processor speed (Windows & MacOS)

Updated on April 22, 2020

If you’ve been wanting to check out the processor speed of your laptop. Here’s a quick but detailed guide on how to do exactly that!

How To Check Processor Speed On Windows

On Windows it’s pretty easy to check what your current processors speed is. You won’t even need a third party application for this. However in some cases they can provide more detailed information then Windows own onboard diagnostic tools.

Task Manager

1. Press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys at the same time to launch Task Manager.

2. Click the performance tab.

3. Here you can view your processors clock speed.

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This section allows you monitor your laptops current processor clock speed.

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This section gives you a detailed graph of how your laptops clock speed has changed over the past 60 seconds. 

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There is also a section that can give you more detailed information about your specific laptop processor. There is a field over here called Base Speed. 

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This is the Base Clock of your laptop that we discussed before. If your laptop goes under this base clock when under load. There might be a problem with the CPU, or it could be cutting back power because it overheated. 

This PC Properties

1. Click on the folder icon located in the taskbar

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2. Scroll through the left side menu until you side an option that says “This PC

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3. Right click on it, and choose properties

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4. Over here you can find out your laptops factory rated clock speeds, often the base clock is displayed here. Do note this does not tell you your current processor speed.

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DirectX Diagnostic Tool

You can also run the DirectX Diagnostic Tool. This tool can help you find out your laptop processors speed, as well as some additional information such as core count and threads. 

1. Press the Windows Key + R keys at the same time

2. Type in dxdiag

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3. Click on system in the upper tab section

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4. From this section you can find out your laptop CPU’s clock speed

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Third Party Windows Applications

Third party applications can be a great tool for finding out and measuring your laptop processors clock speed. They usually give a lot more information than Windows onboard diagnostic, as well as tools for measuring clock speeds over a period of time to get a benchmark on performance.


CPU-Z is a lightweight and easy to use application that can monitor, and give you extremely detailed information about your specific laptops processor.

It goes into such detail that some information might even seem jargon to the most avid of tech enthusiasts. However we’re here to only measure clock speeds using this application .

To download CPU-Z click on the link here.


1. Open the CPU-Z application

2. Click on CPU in the upper menu section

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3. From here you can monitor the current clock speed of your processor.


Open Hardware Monitor

Open Hardware Monitor is another free tool that although is primarily used for monitoring and controlling variables in your laptop such as fan speed and temperature. It’s also pretty useful for monitoring the clock speeds of your laptops processor.

To download Hardware Monitor click on the link here.

1. Open Hardware Monitor

2. Click on the section that shows a picture of your CPU and/or your CPU name

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3. From here you can monitor the current clock speed of your computer

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How To Check Processor Speed On MacOS

It’s almost as easy if not easier to check the clock speed on your MacBook using MacOS. You also like Windows won’t need to download any third party application, but if you choose to. It can once again give you more detailed information then MacOS can provide.

1. Click on the Apple Logo

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2. Choose About this Mac

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3. Click on Overview in the top section if your not there already

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4. From here you can get you can check your MacBook processors speed

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5. To get more detailed information click on “System Report

6. From here you can find out more detailed information of your MacBook

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Third Party MacOS Applications

You can also download third party applications for MacOS that will give you more detailed information on your laptop processors speeds.


Prime95 is an application that can help you not only find out the clock speeds of your processor, but also see how your processors clock speeds fare under a heavy load.

Prime95 is one of the most popular CPU stress benchmarks. It puts your laptop under an extremely resource intensive and unrealistic load that is designed to test the limits of your CPU.

Using this application you can monitor the clock speeds of your MacBooks processor with ease. To download Prime 95 click on the link here. It’s also available for Windows as well.

Intel Power Gadget

Intel Power Gadget is a free to download, and very lightweight software that can display relevant CPU information to the user including clock speed among other things like power package and CPU utilization.

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To download Intel Power Gadget click on the link here. The application is available to download for Windows, MacOS and Linux. So no matter what laptop you have, this will work for you.

Once you’ve downloaded and installed the application, you will be presented will this layout. The second graph displays processor speeds.

What Is Processor Speed ? 

Before we dive into the nitty gritty stuff lets define exactly what “Processor Speed” is. You’ve probably often seen CPU’s being marketed by their processor speed, or as it is more commonly known their clock speeds.

It could be anything from as low as 1.8Ghz to over 5Ghz on some gaming processors. The clock speed of a CPU is the number of cycles per second at which it operates and is able to process information. Generally the faster the clock speed, the faster the processor will perform.

There could be tirade of reasons of why you would want to check the processor speed on your laptop. Perhaps you feel the laptop has been running slower than usual and you want to check if the processors speed has anything to do with it.

One more thing to note is that just because the advertisement said that your laptop processor can run at 4Ghz doesn’t mean it will be running at that speed all the time.

If that were the case a CPU would have a much shorter lifespan than it does currently. A processor will only hit high clock speeds when under load. At idle you might see it running at like 2Ghz to save both power and battery. 

We’ve put together detailed guides on how to check clock speeds on both MacOS and Windows. So pretty much whatever laptop you have, this guide should work for it.

Base Clock vs Boost Clock

CPU’s often come with two rated clock speeds on there boxes or advertisement blurb. That is Base Clock and Boost clock.

The Base clock is speed your laptop processor will run at under most conditions. Such as light web browsing or going through folders. It could also run even lower than the base clock at time, when it is completely idle.

The boost clock is what speed your CPU is going to run at when under load, and even then not all your processor cores will run at this speed.

So lets say your processor has four cores, and a boost clock of 3.6Ghz. At most only one processor core will turbo up to this speed for a short amount of time. The max sustained clock speed you would find across all cores might be something like 3.3Ghz, or 3.4Ghz. 


So after reading through our guide, no matter what laptop you have with whatever common operating system. You should be able to now check the processor speeds of your laptop. 

Tell us which method you used by leaving a comment down below. Also if you feel we missed anything be sure to mention that down below as well.

Hassaan has been passionate about technology for as long as he remembers, and aims to provide you with all the information you need to find the right laptop for you.

Article by:
Hassaan Ahmed
Hassaan has been passionate about technology for as long as he remembers, and aims to provide you with all the information you need to find the right laptop for you.

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