What is a Good Processor Speed for a Laptop?

What is considered a good processor speed will depend on what you use your laptop for. A good processor speed for casual and everyday use is around 2.1 to 2.7 GHz, whereas a high-performance or gaming laptop should have 3.5 to 4.0 GHz or more. 

For the past decade-plus, I have exclusively used a laptop for everything from work, to school, to watching videos, and much more. As a laptop user, it is very important to know what your computer can handle, and what sorts of tasks it may struggle with.

Keep reading to learn more about what a good processor speed is for your laptop, no matter what you use it for.

Key Takeaways

  • The best processor speed for you depends on what you use your laptop for.
  • A good processor speed for light, casual, and everyday usage is between 2.1 and 2.7 GHz.
  • If you do very intensive work or play games on your laptop, you should look for a processor speed of 3.5 to 4.0 GHz, or more.
  • Other factors like the amount of cores, energy usage, and the cache size of your processor are also important to consider.

Good Processor Speed for Everyday Use Laptop

If you generally use your laptop for lighter tasks like browsing the internet, watching videos on YouTube, or using word processors, you should be fine with a 2.1 to 2.7 GHz processor. This speed is great for students, office workers, and those who simply use their laptop casually.

These types of tasks are not very intensive, and most laptops will be able to run them with ease. As long as the software and programs that you used aren’t known for using a lot of resources, you shouldn’t need an incredibly fast processor to enjoy great performance.

You may even be able to make due with your 1.2 GHz or 1.8 GHz processor, but will certainly notice a performance and speed difference if you opt for one that is 2 GHz or higher, especially if you want the laptop to handle multiple tasks at once.

Good Processor Speed for High-Performance Laptop

Now, if you need your laptop for higher-intensity tasks like gaming, graphic design, or rendering videos, you should generally look for one with processor speeds of 3.5 to 4.0 GHz, or higher. The more intensive the tasks, the higher up in this range you should look to go.

For example, running Minecraft or another graphically simple game won’t require the same processing speed as something like Red Dead Redemption 2, which features very crisp details.

If you try to perform these intensive tasks on a laptop with subpar processing speeds, you will find that the performance will suffer greatly and the programs/games won’t look or work as well as they could if you had a faster processor.

Things to Consider Other Than Speed

While the clock speed of your processor is important, it isn’t the only thing that you need to consider. Here are a few other things to think about when deciding which processor you should use.

Amount of Cores

Each processor will have a different number of cores, generally 2, 4, 6, or 8 cores. These cores are each an individual processing unit within the CPU of the laptop. The more cores your laptop has, the better it will handle multiple programs or applications at once.

If you want to multitask on your computer, multiple cores are a must-have. However, if you simply use your laptop for one thing at a time (i.e gaming), having a high number of cores won’t really help improve the performance of the laptop.

Energy Usage

You should also consider how much energy your processor consumes. If you try to maximize the performance of your laptop with the best and fastest processor, be aware that it will eat away at your battery life.

You need to find a happy medium between efficiency and performance. You want to be able to adequately run all of your programs, but still maintain a decent battery life for when you are on the go.

Some laptops come with a base clock speed and then a boost speed, so the laptop can save energy most of the time, and then only boost speed and performance when it needs to.

Size of the Cache

You should also think of the cache size of a processor. The cache is essentially the memory that a processor has. The larger the cache, the better and faster your processor will run. It is important to note that cache memory is split into three levels, which are L1, L2, and L3.


Here are a few common questions asked about computer and processor speeds, along with their answers.

How to see your processor speed?

On a Windows device, a simple way to view your processor speed is to click Settings > System > About, and it will display your processor. 

If you have a Mac, simply visit the About This Mac page and it will clearly show your processing speeds, as well as other useful information about the device.

How to increase your CPU speed?

While getting a better processor can often improve the speed of your computer, it isn’t the only thing you can do. Limiting the programs at startup, uninstalling software you never use, and closing out unnecessary tabs or programs can also boost performance.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, what you use your laptop for will often determine what a good processor speed is. 3.5 to 4.0 GHz is often good enough for high-end laptops that run complex tasks, while casual and light users should be fine with 2.1 to 2.7 GHz in their laptops.

What is the processor speed of your laptop and how do you feel it performs? If you think there is something we should have mentioned in this article, but didn’t, let us know in a comment!

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