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Advertised clock speeds for CPUs usually don’t matter that much – but why?
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So you won’t miss any future videos. It’s no secret that marketers like numbers whether it’s horsepower on a car screen size on a tv or the number of items on the buffet. There’s this general idea that people are drawn to large numbers and computer processors are no exception.
If you’re shopping for a new system. It’s pretty easy to find retailers that prominently listed the processors gigahertz there’s just one small problem it’s basically an utterly meaningless. Metric these days and has been for at least the last 10 years now we touched on why you shouldn’t just go buy raw speed.
When you’re buying a processor in this video. But we’re gonna go into it in a little more detail today first off speed in megahertz or gigahertz measures. How many clock cycles.
A cpu goes through each second and a cycle is basically what happens.
When an electrical pulse. Hits your cpu allowing it to execute instructions and keep its activity in sync. With the rest of your system.
So this means. That a processor rated. At 4 gigahertz can handle a billion more cycles per second than one rated at 3.
What’s simple enough to understand. But things get more complicated when you consider what happens during a clock cycle. One big determining factor of a cpus performance is how many instructions that can execute per clock cycle.
Modern processors can work on more than one instruction at a time. Thanks to pipelining. Which you can think of as being similar to how an electronics factory can turn out a huge number of smart phones per day.
Though it might take a long time for one phone to make it all the way through the assembly line so different stages of production are pipelined to take place simultaneously. So that the guy that installs the screen isn’t constantly waiting around for the next phone to work on pipelining in cpus is similar in principle. But quite a bit more complicated and engineers use different methods to allow the processor to chop up instructions into parts that can be worked on simultaneously or even combine smaller operation to complete them in fewer cycles.
Increasing efficiency. Exactly how this gets accomplished depends on the specific microarchitecture of the processor. Which can learn more about up here.
But bringing things back to the topic at hand it means that because the number of instructions per clock cycle and the pipelining efficiency can very enormous ly between cpu brands and even the individual models from a single brand clock speed can end up being very deceiving cpus also need to be able to read ahead on the page. So to speak to work efficiently. Modern programs aren’t all that linear and need to be able to respond to many different user inputs quickly.
I mean just think about how fast you expect your pc to show you the right thing after firing your weapon. After someone else throws. A grenade in a high budget video game.
So cpus are designed to examine out of order.
Instructions and make sure that they’re executed such that they don’t interfere with other parts of the program as well as to anticipate. What instructions might be needed next. A feature called a branch prediction.
Cpus with better branch. Prediction can have significantly better performance. And again.
This is something you simply won’t be able to determine just from looking at the clock. Speed. And there are many other factors that tie into the performance as well like the type of ram.
That is supported the types of instructions that are supported remember with mmx and cpus can come with different types and amounts of cache memory you can learn more about it up here. But basically. It’s this super fast memory that stores small pieces of data that the cpu thinks.
It will need in a hurry.
So a processor with a well implemented cache can fetch things. It has to work on much. More quickly.
Finally. If you’re working on cpu intensive. Tasks like video.
Encoding or file. Compression. Having many cores to spread the workload out and crunch.
More data in parallel can speed things up more than a clock speed boost now don’t get me wrong clock. Speed shouldn’t be ignored completely if it was totally irrelevant. There wouldn’t be a thriving community of overclockers trying to squeeze as many megahertz as they can out of there chips for dem performance gains.
And it can be a useful indicator of performance as long as you are only using it to compare cpus with the same microarchitecture features and number of course or if you are compensating appropriately for the other differences that exist.
The point is just that it shouldn’t be a huge factor in your buying decision just like you probably shouldn’t choose a car based on how many cupholders. It has that is unless you really like fast food speaking of fast do you ever find the pace of work. Whether you’re a freelancer or a small business owner is making it impossible to reconcile all your accounting well freshbooks is there for you it’s the simplest and easiest way to be more productive.
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