Today’s Best Tech Deals
Picked by PCWorld’s Editors
Top Deals On Great Products
Picked by Techconnect’s Editors
Do you know which CPU you have, and just how fast it runs? And can it be quick enough to run Windows 10 at a capable clip? The latter question we can answer immediately: As long as you’ve got a PC-compatible CPU manufactured in the previous five decades, there is very little reason to think it can not run Windows 10. The minimum Windows 10 chip shredder is just 1GHz, after all.
There are a few constraints for older chips, though, and in these circumstances you’ll want details on which CPU you’re running. Sandy Bridge chips from 2011, as an instance, can operate earlier versions of Windows 10, but those chips are phased out and aren’t supported by newer builds of the operating system.
If you have a modern chip and you are concerned about how well your PC is running, consider incremental upgrades such as including more RAM or having an SSD for primary onboard storage. This will probably give the human body the boost it requires –even for machines operating lower-end CPUs.
If, however, your PC needs to execute high energy tasks like video editing or video rendering, then getting to know your CPU is a fantastic idea. You may find it is time for a CPU update
How to find your CPU information in Windows
First, let us start with quickly figuring out which processor you have. In Windows 10, tap the Windows Key + the letter”I” on your keyboard to start the Settings program. From that point visit System > About. Scroll down to the”Device specifications” heading, and you will see the name of your CPU and its base clock rate. In our example we can observe that this laptop is operating a”Kaby Lake” Intel Core i3-7100U using a base rate of 2.4GHz.
If you would like a little more information, then type Task Manager into the Windows 10 search bar to launch this utility. Expand the Task Manager out of the fundamental state by clicking More information . Underneath the Performance tab in the new window, it’ll present your CPU name, the base rate, the number of cores and threads (logical chips ), and how big your different caches. In this example, we’ve got a six-core Ryzen 5 2600 now running at 2. 11GHz, with a base speed of 3.4GHz
Either way to discovering your processor is a fantastic beginning, but here’s the issue with CPUs: Those basic specs do not tell you a lot about how well your processor really functions. The annoying bit about CPUs is that clock speeds (those amounts measured in gigahertz) are relative in just a generation. By way of instance, a 10-year-old dual-core 2.5GHz Sandy Bridge chip isn’t the same as a dual-core 2.5GHz Comet Lake chip from last year.
The exact same is true for a very simple core count. While generally more useful than looking at clock rates, a higher core count still won’t necessarily tell you if a single CPU is better than the other between generations. There can be dramatic jumps in performance, also –if comparing across a wide enough generation gap–a CPU with fewer cores can conquer a older chip with more cores.
The differences in both cases are due to improvements in CPU design, instruction set, instructions per cycle (IPC), and other changes. The bottom line is that different generations of chips aren’t easily comparable on newspaper.
A newer processor is usually the quicker option, but not consistently … that is why the best plan of action is to benchmark your CPU and compare it to other programs. Comparisons can be done online, as many CPU benchmark evaluations either have built-in contrast graphs, or there are third-party websites that host results from different customers, as we explained in our how-to benchmark your PC tutorial.
You may also follow together with our CPU testimonials here in PCWorld, and conduct a number of the same tests we perform for comparison. Just keep in mind that our testimonials use high-end elements which may help squeeze out a little more performance from a system than mid-range parts.
If you can’t be bothered with conducting tests, it is possible to check out sites like UserBenchmark that provide head-to-head comparisons of any two chips according to a database of user-provided benchmarks. These data doesn’t come from lab-caliber evaluation outcomes, but they ought to give you an overall idea of performance.
If even that is too much of a hassle, then you are able to rely on a basic rule to direct your decision on whether to update: If your PC stops upgrading to newer variants of Windows 10, or incremental upgrades like RAM and SSDs do not noticeably improve system functionality, then upgrading to a newer chip is likely in order.
Note: When you buy something after clicking links in our posts, we may make a small commission. See our affiliate link coverage for more details.
Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who hasn’t met a technician subject he didn’t enjoy. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming gear, video and music streaming services, social networks, and even browsers. When he is not covering the news he is working on how-to tips for PC users, or tuning his eGPU setup.