CPU clock speeds also known as clock rates or CPU frequency. CPU clock speed is a measure of total clock cycles a CPU can perform in one second. It is measured in hertz which is a common measurement used for waves and it is one cycle per second. In modern CPUs, clock speed is measured in gigahertz i.e. one billion hertz.
It is a single electrical impulse in a CPU during this electrical impulse the CPU can perform a basic task like accessing memory or writing data. Instructions can be processed per clock cycle and how those instructions are actually handled tend to matter a lot more you can do things like breaking up a single instruction into multiple parts that can be worked on simultaneously or combining smaller instructions into fewer operations so that they can all be completed within fewer clock cycles.
When it comes to the CPU speed clock speed is not the best way to measure some CPUs can perform faster at slower clock speeds just due to the nature of how they process information some processors architecture focuses on high clock speeds with fewer instructions per cycle while others have slower clock speeds with more instructions per cycle. Both of which have their limitations and benefits
Case of Intel and AMD
Intel and AMD use different approaches to how they designed their chips, Intel offers more clock speed in their CPUs and AMD has been adding lots of cores and threads to their processors.
As advertised clock speed is generally multiple of the base clock which depends on the motherboard’s chipset and the CPU multiplier. Intel’s CPUs are clocked 5 gigahertz or higher and AMD CPU Threadripper has 64 or more core.
When it comes to architecture AMD zen3 performs better then Intel.
Overclocking is done to raise CPU’s clock speed higher than the manufacturer has set the default speed. As the clock speed is raise though you will run into stability issues where your PC might just crash this can happen when you have told the CPU to run faster without giving enough power to do so so with overclocking comes overvolting as well overvolting is when you raise the voltage given to the chip to run at these higher clock speeds.
If clock speed is higher then the CPU is going to consume more power as well as generate more heat and heat is really difficult to dissipate from a CPU.
A lower clock speed and a higher clock speed at least in the clock speeds that we see on most consumer CPUs these days and there’s a lot of downsides to the lower core count obviously if you need to do things like rendering virtualization any of those type of workflows they’re going to suffer greatly from that low core count.
Gaming is on of those areas where you’re really going to notice a difference but even then the margins between four and five gigahertz are very small not to mention that improvements in the CPU architecture itself is going to have much more impact.