WHAT IS A GOOD PROCESSOR SPEED FOR A LAPTOP?

What Is A Good Processor Speed For A Laptop?

As you can understand, there is no straightforward answer to this question. In this article, I will try to explain why this is the case and give you some guidelines and additional information so you can choose a processor speed for a laptop.

A general answer would be that if you are using your laptop professionally, for gaming, or for very intensive tasks, you probably want a late-generation CPU with a high clock speed of 4.0 GH (boost mode) or even more.  However, if you use your laptop to browse the internet, type a paper, or write an essay, then you would probably do just fine with a 2.4 GH.

Before I go into more detail about processor speeds, it is necessary to understand that you should not judge a processor by its clock speed alone. Many other factors like the number of cores and threads, and the manufacturing process, are more important than the clock speed.

But for now, let’s start with the basics and explain what a processor’s speed is.

What Is A Processor’s Speed?

laptop cpu

A processor’s speed is its frequency and is measured in Hertz. It is indicated by a number with one or more digits after the decimal point. You will very often come across processor speeds such as 2,000MHz (2GHz), 3,000MHz (3GHz), and 4,500MHz (4.5GHz). 1 Hertz = 1 cycle per second, so a 2GHz processor will reach 2,000,000,000 cycles in one second.

In more understandable terms, this means that the higher the frequency, the more work your processor can do in a given time.

Related Article: Can I Upgrade My Laptop Processor?

What processor speed should you get for your laptop?

Before I go into more details, I will try to give you some rough guidelines as to what processor speed you should buy for your laptop, depending on your needs.

Light Everyday work

light work laptop cpu

If you are using your laptop mostly for web browsing, typing up documents, checking your emails, etc., then you should aim to buy a laptop processor speed of 2.4GHz or more.

Both Intel and AMD have a dedicated series of CPUs for laptops which are called the “U” series (Ultra-Low Power processors).  

These CPUs are made for very light everyday use and are more energy-efficient. Also, these types of processors are quite affordable when it comes to prices.

Casual Gaming & Demanding Work

laptop cpu for casual gaming

If you use your laptop for tasks that are more demanding than just light everyday work, like photo editing or casual gaming, then you should aim to buy a laptop with a processor clock speed of 3.0GHz or more.

Professional Gaming or Design Work

professional gaming cpu

If you are a professional who needs to run intensive programs for your work, then you should aim to buy a laptop with a good processor speed of 4.0GHz (boosted) or more.

Programs like AutoCAD, Photoshop, or Maya are very intensive and require a computer processor speed of at least 4GHz.

The same thing applies if you are a gamer needing a laptop for demanding games.

Workstation

workstation laptop cpu

Finally, if you need a laptop that is dedicated to professional work, such as editing videos and 3D models, AI, and machine learning, then you should aim to buy a laptop with a 9-series CPU like Intel’s i9 or AMD Ryzen 9.

Related Article: Can I Use Laptop HDD In Desktop?

Single Core CPU vs. Multi-Core CPU

As I already mentioned, when you are shopping for a CPU for your laptop, you should not only look at the processor speed in GigaHertz but also consider other factors to properly gauge its performance.

And one of the most important factors is the number of cores and threads.

Technically, a processor with multiple cores and threads will be able to process more tasks at once and, therefore, will be faster than a CPU with fewer cores and threads. While this is usually the case, people usually buy processors with more cores than they need, wasting money.

In fact, most of the everyday software you use for word processing and web browsing, but also designing software like Autocad or Photoshop, will not be able to use more than 1 core.

On top of that, MMO games like Overwatch and League of Legends are designed for mass numbers of players. Because of this, these types of games are not very demanding a dual-core processor should be enough to run them.

On the other hand, if your work needs heavy multitasking, running complex software, or you are a very hard-core gamer, it might be a good idea to buy a laptop with a multi-core performance (quad-core processor or more).

So you should check both single-core performance and multi-core performance before buying a CPU.

Related Article: Does Ryzen Have Integrated Graphics?

Benchmarks vs Manufacturer specs

But before you go and buy a CPU (Central Processing Unit) for your laptop based on the manufacturer’s specs, I want to give you some words of advice about benchmarks.

Benchmarks are very useful because they allow people to compare the specs between different processors and laptops. This is especially important for professionals who need to choose a laptop with exactly this or that type of processor to do their work properly.

If you study benchmark scores from reliable sources like PassMark and Cinebench, you can understand that looking just at speed in GHz without also considering other factors like processor cores and threads might lead you to buy a CPU that is not the best option for your needs.

For example, as you can see, the Intel Core i7-10700E @ 2.90GHz has a clock speed of 4.5GHz but a lower benchmark score compared to AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS which has a clock speed of 4.2GHz. So, you can understand that there are other factors too and that this might lead you to buy a laptop with a CPU that is not the best for your needs.

The point I am trying to make is that CPU speed is one other many factors that should be considered when buying a laptop. Things like the brand, the generation, the series, and the number of cores and threads should also be considered and can be more important than just looking at clock speed.

The only case where clock speed is the most important factor is when you compare two laptop processors of the same generation and the same brand, and the only difference is the clock speed.

Related Article: Can I Upgrade The Graphics Card In My Laptop?

CPU Clock Speed Per Generation

AMD4000 vs Intel 10th gen

In this section, we are going to talk about CPU speed per generation. We are going to compare the top-performing AMD 4000 series CPUs to Intel’s 10th generation CPUs.

CPU ModelPassMark ScoreGPU Speed (Base/Boost)No Cores / ThreadsRelease Date
AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS19,5083.0 GHz / 4.3 GHz8/16Q2 ’20
Ryzen 9 4900H19,2703.3 GHz / 4.4 GHz8/16Q2 ’20
AMD Ryzen 7 4800H19,0942.9 GHz / 4.2 GHz8/16Q1 ’20
AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS18,8642.9 GHz / 4.2 GHz8/16Q2 ’20
AMD Ryzen 7 4800U17,0741.8 GHz / 4.2 GHz8/16Q2 ’20
Intel Core i7-10700E @ 2.90GHz17,0202.9 GHz / 4.5 GHz8/16Q4 ’21
Intel Core i9-10980HK @ 2.40GHz16,4832.4 GHz / 5.3 GHz8/16Q2 ’20
Intel Core i7-10700TE @ 2.00GHz16,3322.0 GHz / 4.4 GHz8/16Q1 ’21
Intel Core i9-10885H @ 2.40GHz15,9912.4 GHz / 5.3 GHz8/16Q2 ’20
Intel Core i7-10875H @ 2.30GHz15,5102.3 GHz / 5.1 GHz8/16Q2 ’20
Intel Core i7-10870H @ 2.20GHz15,1902.2 GHz / 5.0 GHz8/16Q4 ’20
Intel Core i9-10880H @ 2.30GHz15,0642.3 GHz / 5.1 GHz8/16Q2 ’20
AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 4400GE14,7953.3 GHz / 4.2 GHz6/12Q4 ’20
AMD Ryzen 5 4600H14,7783.0 GHz / 4.0 GHz6/12Q2 ’20
AMD Ryzen 5 4600HS14,7733.0 GHz / 4.0 GHz6/12Q2 ’20
AMD Ryzen 7 4700U13,6962.0 GHz / 4.1 GHz8/8Q2 ’20
AMD Ryzen 5 4600U13,5832.1 GHz / 4.0 GHz6/12Q2 ’20
AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 4650U12,9282.1 GHz / 4.0 GHz6/12Q2 ’20
Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz12,4322.6 GHz / 5.0 GHz6/12Q1 ’20
Intel Core i7-10850H @ 2.70GHz12,1612.7 GHz / 5.1 GHz6/12Q2 ’20
All Benchmark Scores were sourced by cpubenchmark.net

As you can see in the tables above, Intel does a better job than AMD when it comes to CPU speed, the number of cores and threads is almost the same in both cases, and when it comes to benchmark scores, AMD is better.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that AMD is better than Intel; it is just an example of a more holistic comparison of CPUs from the same generation, which you should always do when buying a CPU for your laptop.

Related Article: What Is AMD Equivalent To I5?

AMD5000 vs Intel 11th Gen

Below you can see the table with the top-performing AMD Ryzen 5 and Intel Core 11th gen CPUs.

CPU ModelPassMark ScoreGPU Speed (Base/Boost)No Cores / ThreadsRelease Date
AMD Ryzen 9 5980HX23,4333.3 GHz / 4.8 GHz8/16Q4 ’21
Intel Core i9-11980HK @ 2.60GHz23,3432.6 GHz / 5.0 GHz8/16Q2 ’21
AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX23,2333.3 GHz / 4.6 GHz8/16Q1 ’21
Intel Core i9-11950H @ 2.60GHz22,7162.6 GHz / 5.0 GHz8/16Q2 ’21
AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS22,2973.0 GHz / 4.6 GHz8/16Q1 ’21
Intel Core i9-11900H @ 2.50GHz21,8972.5 GHz / 4.9 GHz8/16Q2 ’21
Intel Core i7-11850H @ 2.50GHz21,6422.5 GHz / 4.8 GHz8/16Q2 ’21
Intel Core i7-11800H @ 2.30GHz21,6012.3 GHz / 4.6 GHz8/16Q2 ’21
AMD Ryzen 9 5980HS21,5893.0 GHz / 4.8 GHz8/16Q1 ’21
AMD Ryzen 7 5800H21,5273.2 GHz / 4.4 GHz8/16Q1 ’21
AMD Ryzen 9 5900H20,9603.1 GHz / 4.6 GHz8/16Q1 ’21
AMD Ryzen 7 5800HS20,8932.8 GHz / 4.4 GHz8/16Q1 ’21
AMD Ryzen 7 5800U19,0521.9 GHz / 4.4 GHz8/16Q1 ’21
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 5850U17,8461.9 GHz / 4.4 GHz8/16Q1 ’21
AMD Ryzen 5 5600H17,2073.3 GHz / 4.2 GHz6/12Q2 ’21
Intel Core i5-11500H @ 2.90GHz16,4302.9 GHz / 4.6 GHz6/12Q2 ’21
AMD Ryzen 7 5700U16,2821.8 GHz / 4.3 GHz8/16Q1 ’21
Intel Core i5-11400H @ 2.70GHz16,1502.7 GHz / 4.5 GHz6/12Q2 ’21
Intel Core i7-11600H @ 2.90GHz16,0302.9 GHz / 4.6 GHz6/12Q4 ’21
AMD Ryzen 5 5600U15,6092.3 GHz / 4.2 GHz6/12Q2 ’21
All Benchmark Scores were sourced by cpubenchmark.net

As you can see in this generation of CPUs, the number of cores and threads is the same, just like before, and Intel still has a higher clock speed across all CPUs compared to AMD.

Finally, when it comes to benchmark scores, you can see that the Intel CPUs are, in most cases, slightly better than the AMD Ryzen 5 CPUs. This means that there is a correlation between CPU speed and benchmark scores when comparing CPUs of the same generation with the same number of cores and threads.

However, when we compare CPUs from different generations, like the Intel Core i9-10880H @ 2.30GHz and the AMD Ryzen 9 5980HX, the benchmark scores and the CPU speed are not correlated at all because different generations also have different architectures.

Related Article: What Is AMD Equivalent To Intel Core I7?

GPU Clock Speed Per Product Line

Another way to compare GPU speed is by looking at the GPU clock speed per product line. Manufacturers have different lines of GPUs. For example, the U line for both NVIDIA and AMD is the most power-efficient; thus, these GPUs have a lower clock speed than the gaming lines. On the other hand, the H series for both NVIDIA and AMD is the fastest of all their products.

U line GPU Clock Speeds

CPU ModelPassMark ScoreGPU Speed (Base/Boost)No Cores / ThreadsRelease Date
AMD Ryzen 7 5800U19,0521.9 GHz / 4.4 GHz8/16Q1 ’21
AMD Ryzen 7 4800U17,0741.8 GHz / 4.2 GHz8/16Q2 ’20
AMD Ryzen 7 5700U16,2821.8 GHz / 4.3 GHz8/16Q1 ’21
AMD Ryzen 5 5600U15,6092.3 GHz / 4.2 GHz6/12Q2 ’21
AMD Ryzen 7 4700U13,6962.0 GHz / 4.1 GHz8/8Q2 ’20
AMD Ryzen 5 4600U13,5832.1 GHz / 4.4 GHz6/12Q2 ’20
AMD Ryzen 5 5500U13,2262.1 GHz / 4.0 GHz6/12Q1 ’21
Intel Core i7-10710U @ 1.10GHz10,0771.1 GHz / 4.7 GHz6/12Q4 ’19
Intel Core i7-8569U @ 2.80GHz8,4942.8 GHz / 4.7 GHz4/8Q1 ’20
Intel Core i7-10810U @ 1.10GHz8,3531.1 GHz / 4.9 GHz6/12Q2 ’20
All Benchmark Scores were sourced by cpubenchmark.net

As you can see in the table above, in most cases, the Intel processors have a higher GPU clock speed than AMD processors, but at the same time, AMD CPUs dominate in benchmark scores.

Related Article: Is Intel Core i7 Good For Gaming?

H line GPU Clock Speeds

In this section, we’ll look at the H-line (premium) comparison of AMD vs Intel CPUs.

CPU ModelPassMark ScoreGPU Speed (Base/Boost)No Cores / ThreadsRelease Date
AMD Ryzen 9 5980HX23,4333.3 GHz / 4.8 GHz8/16Q4 ’21
Intel Core i9-11980HK @ 2.60GHz23,3432.6 GHz / 5.0 GHz8/16Q2 ’21
AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX23,2333.3 GHz / 4.6 GHz8/16Q1 ’21
Intel Core i9-11950H @ 2.60GHz22,7162.6 GHz / 5.0 GHz8/16Q2 ’21
AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS22,2973.0 GHz / 4.6 GHz8/16Q1 ’21
Intel Core i9-11900H @ 2.50GHz21,8972.5 GHz / 4.9 GHz8/16Q2 ’21
Intel Core i7-11850H @ 2.50GHz21,6422.5 GHz / 4.8 GHz8/16Q2 ’21
Intel Core i7-11800H @ 2.30GHz21,6012.3 GHz / 4.6 GHz8/16Q2 ’21
AMD Ryzen 9 5980HS21,5893.0 GHz / 4.8 GHz8/16Q1 ’21
AMD Ryzen 7 5800H21,5273.2 GHz / 4.4 GHz8/16Q1 ’21
All Benchmark Scores were sourced by cpubenchmark.net

Like the previous tables, Intel does better at CPU speed; the number of threads and cores are the same; when it comes to benchmark scores, AMD does slightly better.

Conclusion

To sum it up, a good processor speed for a laptop depends on what you are going to use it for. If you are going to play a lot of games or do other GPU-demanding tasks, a higher CPU speed of 4.0 GH is better, but if you are going to use your laptop mostly for everyday activities like browsing the internet and checking emails, then a lower CPU speed (2.3 GH) will be ok.

But please don’t get fixated on the number of GHz as it can be deceiving. So always compare CPUs from the same generation and don’t forget to consider other things like cores, threads, series, and benchmark scores.

I hope I have helped you choose your laptop’s processor speed.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments below.

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