Good Processor Speed for A Laptop
Good Processor Speed for A Laptop

I am sure you wonder what a good processor speed for a laptop is.

Several different laptop processors are available, each with its own specifications such as core count, thread count, cache memory, TDP, etc.
However, the clock speed of a CPU is still an essential aspect that people consider when assessing its performance.

So, what is a good processor speed for a laptop?

But as with all PC hardware, good speed for your laptop will depend on your requirements. People who do many demanding tasks and gaming will benefit from the rate of AROUND 3.0GHz (base). Everywhere from AROUND 2.5 GHz (bottom) will do just fine for basic tasks and light office work.

Emphasis is placed on the word “AROUND” as the clock speed is not the only determinant of the performance of the CPU.

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer for this, the ideal case would be to have as high a clock speed as your budget would allow, just in case you need it.

On top of that, different workloads require a different set of specifications. For example, if you want a video rendering, encoding, file compression processor, etc., a processor with a higher core count would make more sense. But, as you can see, higher core counts do not generally lead to higher single-core efficiency.

You could then juggle between a good single-core performance (primarily influenced by clock speed) or an excellent multi-core performance (significantly affected by more core counts).

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Review contents

What Is A Good Processor Speed for A Laptop?

what-is-a-good-processor-speed-for-a-laptop
Today’s article aims to decide a reasonable processing speed for a laptop.

To better understand what clock speeds to expect, let’s look at some flagship processors in each price group.
For convenience, let’s concentrate on the newer AMD processors, i.e., the AMD Athlon 3000 series and the 4th Gen AMD Ryzen processors.

So, for example, the flagship mainstream Ryzen 4th Gen laptop processor is the Ryzen 5 4600H.

Product Clock Speed
Base/Boost
Cores/
Threads
Passmark Cinebench R20
Single Core/
Multi-Core
Notes
AMD Athlon
Gold 3150U
2.4/3.3
GHz
2/4 4233 183/
254
Flagship Entry Level CPU
AMD Ryzen 3
4300U
2.7/3.7
GHz
4/4 7697 425/
1502
Flagship Budget CPU
AMD Ryzen 5
4600H
3.0/4.0
GHz
6/12 14853 448/
3247
Flagship Mainstream CPU
AMD Ryzen 7
4800H
2.9/4.2
GHz
8/16 19186 472/
3847
Flagship High-Performance CPU
AMD Ryzen 9
4900H
3.3/4.4
GHz
8/16 19055 501/
4332
Flagship Workstation CPU

The table above shows the clock speed and the benchmark results for all standard Ryzen laptop processors (relatively newer ones only).

You need to understand two things, i.e., Single-Core vs. Multi-Core performance, and that clock speed is not the only measure of Processor performance.

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Difference Between Single-Core vs. Multi-Core Performance

Many people believe that the more cores a processor has, the faster it is. Although this is valid to a certain degree, having more cores than you need wastes money.

league-of-legends-system-requirements
System Requirements for League of Legends. The recommended processor is two-core with 3 GHz.

Much of the apps you’re using and the games you’re playing don’t leverage a lot of cores anyway. Games like League of Legends, Dota 2, Fortnite, etc., do not benefit from a CPU with more than two cores.

In other words, for the most popular online games, a dual-core processor will do just fine, and if you’re going to buy a laptop with a CPU that’s enough for those games, then you don’t need an excellent multi-core CPU.

At the same time, work such as modeling in CAD, sculpting in Blender, etc., has the most effect on the Single Core. The CPU clock is a crucial factor for enhanced single-core performance.

Tasks and games that use multiple cores and can benefit from excellent multi-core efficiency include rendering, decoding, and file compression, games like Cities Skylines, Ashes of Singularity, Flight Simulator, etc.

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Why Clock Speed is Not the Most Accurate Measure of CPU Performance

The benchmark results for the AMD Ryzen 5 4600H and the AMD Ryzen 7 4800H in the above table show one critical point: despite having about the same clock speed per core, the AMD Ryzen 7 4800H has better single-core performance, the AMD Ryzen 7 4800H has a slower clock speed of 1.1 GHz.

Just looking at the clock speed to judge the single-core output would make you assume that the Ryzen 7 4800H and the Ryzen 5 4600H would be more or less the same. However, that is not the case.

The thing is, looking at clock speed is a very myopic and old-school way to assess the output of a CPU.

Although the clock speed is significant, the 3.0 GHz processor will be preferable to the 2.4 GHz processor. Other considerations decide the overall efficiency of the CPU.

CPU clock speed will help you select between two processors of the same family, i.e., Intel Core i5-10400 vs. Intel Core i5-10600K, but when you equate it to a different series, clock speed is only one of several factors.

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So, What is a Good Processor Speed for Your Laptop?

If you are willing to get a precise answer to your question, you should be well served by the table above. The following results have been summarized:

Essential Work: Word Processing, Light Office Work, Browsing

If your workload demands are low, meaning if you plan to work on simple tasks like word processing, internet surfing, social media usage, and light office work, then the following CPU with their clock speed is recommended:

  • Lower Performance: Intel Pentium 6405U – 2.4 GHz (base)
  • Higher Performance: AMD Athlon 3150U – 2.4 GHz (bottom) – 3.3 GHz (turbo)

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Moderate Work: Processional Office Work, Casual Editing / Gaming

You can get a primary Intel Core i3 or a Ryzen 3 processor for this. You don’t reasonably need to go into the mainstream processor lines for office work that deals with Excel sheets, report writing, etc.

  • Lower Performance: Intel Pentium 10110U – 2.10 GHz (base) – 4.10 GHz (Turbo)
  • Higher Performance: AMD Ryzen 3 4300U – 2.7 GHz (base) – 3.7 GHz (Turbo)

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Gaming and Intermediate Work: For All Sort of Gaming and Intermediate Level of Editing and Designing Work

Mainstream processors are recommended for gaming. We are talking about AMD Ryzen 5 and Intel Core i5 processors here. These have an excellent single-core performance and have enough cores for most games.

Generally, going for a high-performance processor with more cores, i.e., the Ryzen 7 or Core i7 processor, does not give a huge performance boost for gaming since most games do not utilize the overkill amount of cores offered.

  • Recommended: AMD Ryzen 5 4600H – 3.0 GHz (base) – 4.0 GHz (turbo)

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High Performance and Workstation

The higher core count is as critical as the clock speed for this line of work.

Work such as rendering, heavy multitasking, demanding applications running simultaneously, streaming sports, encoding files, file compression, etc., requires high-performance or station-grade processors.

Again, although the clock speed here is more or less the same as the conventional processors above, the core count differentiates these processors and significantly boosts their multi-core performance.

  • Lower Performance: Intel Core i7-10750H – 2.6 GHz (base) – 5.0 GHz (turbo)
  • Mid Performance: AMD Ryzen 7 4800H – 2.9 GHz (base) – 4.2 GHz (turbo)
  • High Performance: AMD Ryzen 9 4900H – 3.3 GHz (base) – 4.4 GHz (turbo)

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Final Thoughts

In short, the typical processor with an excellent all-around performance ideal for gaming and the intermediate stage of technical work should have a standard clock speed of about 3.0 GHz with a turbo boost of around 4.0 GHz.

Holding this as the average, you can go for lower clock speeds if your work demand and budget are common, and inversely, you can go for higher clock speeds (and cores) if you’re a specialist looking for a CPU powerhouse.

Again, in this article, we spoke about what a good laptop processor is. Looking at common alternatives, the sheer clock speed is not the best determinant of the processor’s performance. Instead of comparing two processors, we recommend that you adopt benchmark findings. Some standard benchmarks are Passmark and Cinebench R23, R20, and R15.

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Kevin Johnson
Hi, I'm Kevin Johnson, an author for TheComputerGeeks.org. I'm obsessed with all things related to computer monitors, from LCDs to LEDs, touch screens, and gaming. I've been writing about these topics for years and am passionate about helping people learn more about the latest in computer monitor technology. From selecting the right monitor for your needs to troubleshooting any issues you might be experiencing, I'm always here to provide helpful guidance. I always look for the latest monitors to share all my findings with our readers. I am a computer geek and proud of it. From building my custom rig to figuring out what's wrong with your PC, you can count on me for top-notch service at an affordable price. Whether you're looking for someone who knows his way around technology or wants help fixing the basics, like setting up email accounts, I'm here to serve. So if you need a reliable tech support professional in Denver, call Kevin today!