How to Check the Mac Processor Speed
Want to know how fast a Mac is? You can check a Macs processor clock speed, chip type, and CPU architecture a few different ways, but we’ll cover two quick methods to determine the clock speed of a given Mac. First, a super easy glance at processor speed through the GUI, and second, a more advanced way to find processor details through the command line.
Check a Mac CPU the Easy Way from the Apple menu
Finding the CPU details of a Mac this way is the same in all versions of OS X:
- Go up to the Apple menu and select “About This Mac”
- The About This Mac overview screen will reveal processor details as well as much more about the given Macintosh
This window shows what version of Mac OS X you are running, what your processor and processor speed is, and how much memory your Mac has, amongst other details.
Older versions of OS X has the same window, but it looks slightly different:
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 via the Command Line
The GUI is easy, but what fun is that? What if you want to check a machines processor remotely through ssh? Maybe you’re stuck in Single User Mode and want to check CPU data from the command line? Let’s use the Terminal instead.
Using the following command you can check what the CPU is:
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 @ 5.00GHz
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.