What is CPU Clock Speed?

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What is CPU Clock Speed?

The CPU, or central processing unit, of a computer is the part which performs all of its logical and arithmetic calculations you need in order to make the computer work. All calculations are done by first converting the user’s input into binary, and then the calculations are performed on the binary. The binary system consists of only two different digits – 0 and 1. They are referred to as the logical zero and logical one. For every calculation the computer alternates between these two numbers. A single change from 0 to 1 or vice-versa is known as a clock cycle. The speed of a CPU is measured in clock rate. In short, the clock rate is the frequency of the clock in a circuit. It is measured in Hz, MHz (Million cycles per second) and GHz. The clock rate can also be defined as the speed at which the microprocessor executes instructions. This rate is used to compare the speeds of different computers.

The clock rate of a CPU depends on various factors such as system architecture, clock rate of RAM and file system, so two computers with the same clock rates may not perform the same. The first commercial PC the Altair 8800 which used the Intel 8080 chip had a speed of 2MHz while the original IBM had a clock rate of 4.77 MHz.

The Intel Pentium (2002) chip ran at 300MHz while the more recent Core i7 4790k runs at 4 GHz (4 billion cycles per second).

To find your CPU’s speed (Windows):

1. Right click on “My Computer” and click on “Properties”.

2. Under the “System” section, look for Processor – The processor’s name as well as speed (in GHz) will be mentioned.

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Choosing the Right Motherboard

The motherboard is the heart of every computer. It is that big flat board inside the computer that everything is connected to. It performs the role of directing information and connecting components. A motherboard is often the central part of the computer design process. Therefore, choosing a motherboard that’s right for you is essential to your computer build.

Choosing the right motherboard does not have to be a problem, even though there is a lot to consider. We will start off with the larger parts and move onto the things that are less essential.

Firstly is the socket type. The socket is where the processor (CPU) connects to the motherboard. There is no compatibility between sockets, so you have to get a processor and motherboard with the exact same socket size. The socket connection needs to match the connection of the processor you have or the one you intend to buy for the computer.
Most older Intel Pentium 4s utilize socket 478. Newer computers use socket 775 and 1151. AMD chips utilized socket A for a long time, but now the AMD Athlon 64 series and Semprons use socket 939. Be sure to double check the socket size before ordering your products! It saves a lot of time and frustration later if you do your research before you order the parts.

Your choice of CPU will have a lot to do with your needs, but choosing one with an up to date socket type will ensure slightly longer motherboard life as you can upgrade the chip for a while.

DDR3 is the RAM of choice for most systems, but some newer systems, like the ones with the new core I7-6700K use DDR4. These two kinds are not interchangable and have a different number of pins. DDR2,  DDR3 and DDR4 RAM chips come in different speed ratings measured in MHz. Make sure your motherboard supports the speed in MHz that yuo want to buy your memory in. This can be found in touring a prospective motherboard’s manual online.

Finally, we must look at the expansion slots. If you want to add a graphics card to your system, make sure you have a PCI-E x16 slot on the motherboard. That is the long slot with a clip on the end of it. This will allow you to expand your system in the future.

Choosing a motherboard should be proactive; you should think about how you want to upgrade your system in the future when you purchase a motherboard. Motherboards aren;t extremely cheap and if you can reuse the same motherboard in a future build or upgrade it currently, you can save a lot of money in the long run.

A motherboard must be chosen carefully, to both match all the other components and fit in the case you choose. A little bit of research before you buy will save a lot of hassle later on.

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How to Apply Thermal Paste to A CPU

Ever wonder how to apply thermal paste to a cpu?

Here’s your answer!


To Apply thermal paste to a cpu, here is what you need:

  1. Thermal Paste – don’t have some? See our article on how to make your own!
  2. A CPU
  3. Isopropyl Alcohol
  4. A heatsink to mount on top of the CPU
  5. A fan can’t hurt either


Here’s how you do it

  1. CPUs are designed to have most of the head concentrated in the center of the metal plate that you see. The sides of the CPU are there to redirect excess heat and also allow for mores surface area contact with the heatsink for the most efficient heat transfer
  2. Be sure to clean off old thermal compound or other debris with isopropyl alcohol. You can use a cotton ball for this. Just dab the cotton ball with the alcohol and rub it around on both the CPU and heatsink
  3. Make sure the processor is properly seated in its slot.
  4. Take the thermal compound and make a quarter inch x in the middle of the processor
  5. Put the heatsink over the processor, making sure you have properly inserted the heatsinks with the proper securing mechanisms in place.
  6. Secure the heatsink to the CPU
  7. Put the fan over the CPU.
  8. Plug the fan power connector into the motherboard’s pin headers for the fan.
  9. Wait an hour for the compound to set.
  10. After the hour has passed, use your computer and have fun!

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