What Is Processor Speed?

By Gabriel Dockery

"How fast is the processor?" is the first question many computer buyers ask when trying to ascertain the power of a computer. Though the technicalities are not known to most consumers, the higher a processor's number, the better.

History

Clock speeds have increased dramatically over the years giving rise to processors clocked as high as 3.2 GHz from the manufacturer.

Effects

Though not all inclusive to knowing your computer is fast, having a higher clock speed rating on your processor is a good starting point for determining a computer's maximum speed.

Significance

The clock speed is the number of instructions a processor can execute in one second. Thus a 3.2 GHz processor can execute 3.2 billion instructions per second.

Types

There are as many types of processors as there are uses for them. However the leading suppliers of consumer level processor chips are Intel and AMD.

Misconceptions

Processor clock speed should never be taken as the only specification that matters when judging a computer's power. Supporting components such as RAM speed, Front Side Bus speed and memory sizes should also be taken into account.