How to Check the Mac Processor Speed

Oct 23, 2010 - 3 Comments

check mac processor speed

Want to know how fast a Mac is? You can check a Macs processor speed a few different ways, but here are two methods: super easy through the GUI, and a more advanced way through the command line.

Check a Mac CPU the Easy Way: GUI

Go up to the Apple menu and select “About This Mac”:

how to check mac processor speed

You will then get a window that shows what version of Mac OS X you are running, what your processor and processor speed is, and how much memory your Mac has.

If you want, you can then go through and check CPU usage through the Mac Task Manager, known as the Activity Monitor.

Check a Macs CPU the Fun Way: Command Line

The GUI is easy, but what fun is that? What if you want to check a machines processor remotely through ssh? Let’s use the Terminal instead.

Using the following command you can check what the CPU is:

sysctl machdep.cpu.brand_string

The string returned includes both the brand and the clock speed of your Macs processor. For example, you might see:

machdep.cpu.brand_string: Genuine Intel(R) CPU T2500 @ 2.00GHz

Keeping with the theme here, you may then want to monitor what your Mac CPU is doing. If you want a command line activity monitor, use this variation of the ‘top’ command to monitor CPU usage. I like it better than the standard top command because it uses less CPU itself, and it sorts processes by their CPU usage. Give it a go.

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Posted by: David Mendez in Command Line, Mac OS X


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  1. Jason says:

    You can also get this information from the System Profiler but I think for a noob digging around in there isn’t the simplest approach.

    I hadn’t seen that command before, nice tip there.

  2. LordZedd says:

    The terminal command doesn’t work for PPC macs.

  3. […] but these two are detailed and give you the information you need. For the record, there is a much easier way to get this information, just go to “About This Mac” under the  Apple menu. […]

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