How Do I Compare Different Processors (Dual-Core? i3? Ghz?)

What does processor speed really mean?

Clock speed is the rate at which a processor executes a task and is measured in Gigahertz (GHz).  Once, a higher number meant a faster processor, but advances in technology have made the processor chip more efficient so now they do more with less.

For example:  An Intel Core i5 running at 3.46 GHz is not faster than an Intel Core i7 running at 3.06 GHz.

Comparing the speed of your old Pentium 4 CPU (an old scale which peaked at 3.4 GHz) with the speed of the current i series CPU’s (the new scale which started at 1.6 GHz) is a bit like comparing the Fahrenheit with Celsius temperature scales.  The i series 1.6 GHz CPU runs faster and outperforms the old style Pentium 4 CPU. Hence your new i5 or i7 running at 3.0 GHz plus cannot be compared to any older generation Pentium 4 hardware.

Remember: Don’t compare computers based on clock speed unless they use the same line of processors – such as Intel core i3, i5 or i7.

You may come across Intel’s Turbo Boost Technology while shopping for a new PC.  This is one of the many exciting new features the Intel chip has built into core i5 and core i7 processors. It automatically speeds up the processor for a burst of heavy-duty activity when your PC needs extra performance.  For example, a core i5 chip rated at a hefty 2.5 GHz can kick up to 3 GHz on demand without stressing the processor or running the risk of overheating.