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. The faster the clocks rate, the faster the CPU, or the faster it can execute instructions.
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 will perform, 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 there are several brands of computer processors 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 performance of a computer can increase even if the CPU speed remaining 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.