Alternatively referred to as clock rate and processor speed, clock speed is the speed that the microprocessor executes each instruction or each vibration of the clock. The CPU requires a fixed number of clock ticks, or cycles, to execute each instruction.
Clock speeds are measured in MHz, 1 MHz representing 1 million cycles per second, or in GHz, 1 GHz representing 1 thousand million cycles per second. The higher the CPU speed, the better a computer performs, in a general sense. Other components like RAM, hard drive, motherboard, and the number of processor cores (e.g., dual-core or quad-core) can also improve the computer speed.
The CPU speed determines how many calculations it can perform in one second of time. The higher the speed, the more calculations it can perform, thus making the computer faster. While several brands of computer processors are available, including Intel and AMD, they all use the same CPU speed standard, to determine what speed each of their processors run. If a processor has dual or quad-cores, the computer's performance can increase even if the CPU speed remains the same. A dual-core 3.0 GHz processor would be capable of performing double the number of calculations as a single-core 3.10 GHz processor.