How do I determine the type and speed of my processor?

Updated: 06/30/2019 by Computer Hope
Computer CPU

There are multiple ways to determine the speed of a computer processor. The following sections contain details on various methods.

Note

Before following any of the steps below, it is important to realize that a processor's settings can be adjusted or overclocked. In other words, software settings could be altered to show a speed higher than the processor's native speed.

Quick links

Windows users

If you are running Microsoft Windows, you can determine the processor type and speed by pressing the Windows Key and Pause key at the same time. Doing so opens a System window similar to one of the examples below.

Windows System Properties
Windows 8 System Properties.

Windows 7 System Properties
Windows 7 System Properties.

In this window, you should see the manufacturer of the processor (e.g., Intel or AMD), the model of the processor (e.g., Core 2), and the speed (e.g., 1.86 GHz). For new versions of Windows, it also shows you the System type, which in the Windows 8 example below shows a 64-bit operating system on an x64 processor.

The Windows 8 computer has an "Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2600 CPU @ 3.40 GHz 3.40 GHz." Intel is the brand and company of the processor, Core i7-2600 is the model of the processor, and 3.40 GHz is the speed of the processor.

macOS users

If you are running macOS, you can determine the processor speed by following the steps below.

  1. Click on the Apple menu (the Apple icon in the top left corner).
  2. Select About This Mac in the menu.

On the Overview tab, look for the Processor entry, which will list the speed of the processor in your Mac computer.

Linux users

In a Linux OS, you can use one of the following commands to view information about the processor in the computer.

$ cat /proc/cpuinfo
$ less /proc/cpuinfo
$ more /proc/cpuinfo

Documentation

If you purchased the computer from an OEM like Dell or HP, the manufacturer should include documentation that lists the system specifications of the computer. If you don't have documentation, you can find it online after entering the model or Service Tag of the computer.

At boot

Some computers show the computer processor speed as the computer boots. For example, as the computer boots, you may see text displayed on the screen similar to the following:

Intel Pentium(TM) III 1000 MHz

The above example indicates that the computer has an Intel processor running at 1 GHz, or 1000 MHz.

Note

Unfortunately, the boot process can be very fast. You may have little or no time to read all that is on the screen during one boot. Also, many motherboard and computer manufacturers have a BIOS splash screen that shows the company or motherboard logo as the computer boots up. Press the Esc key to display the text behind the logo. Finally, you can also press the Pause key to pause the boot process, allowing you to read all the text.

CMOS

If the computer does not have documentation or indicate the processor speed as it boots, it's possible the processor speed is in the CMOS Setup under the main or advanced settings menu.

Software

There are also a wide variety of software utilities designed detect the computer processor. See the third-party tools in the link below for a listing of the most popular programs designed to list system hardware.

Additional information