One of the most important components of a computer is its CPU as it is responsible for doing heavy work and processing. We are all familiar with the CPU benchmark as it is something that every laptop or desktop buyer delves into when buying a computer.

A lot of applications are there to measure the performance of a CPU one of which is processor passmark benchmark app, PC mark and so on. The one that is used for judging performance on is passmark. The CPU benchmark score depends on a lot of factors. First and for most is its clock speed which has been traditionally the most important factor in judging the performance. So what is a clock speed? It is an expression of number of cycles that a CPU can process in a second. Usually higher score is better but not always.

Higher clock speed and turbo boost

A higher clock speed lets computers complete tasks faster and slower clock speed may bog down processing. However lately a number of processors come with a Turbo Boost feature that increases speed of cores based on the TDP. You can find this feature in Core i5 and i7 in both laptop and desktop processors. In the specifications you will still find a CPU suffixed by its minimum clock speed but if turbo boost is present it will be able to increase its speed by 0.5MHz easily. If you are buying a CPU for a desktop computer, simply go for the one with fastest speed and quad cores but if you are buying a laptop and portability is the key, it makes sense to go for Core i5 with turbo boost will benefit you more than going for i7.

cpu passmark and benchmark performance site

CPU manufacturing technology

Second is manufacturing technology that has been used to manufacture a chip. A 28nm chip is more efficient and produces less heat than a 45nm one. When we talk about heat and processors, most CPU experts will use the term TDP which refers to the amount of heat generated.

Cores vs clock speed

Number of cores too play an important part as having more cores allow you to process more data (provided that app supports multiple cores). However adding lots of cores may not result in better performance which means a dual core 3GHz processor may still surpass a quad core 2GHz one in most tasks except may be in video or 3D rendering.

cpu benchmarks

Ultra low processors

Usually a Core i7 ultra low voltage (ULV) chip will be a lot of less powerful than a traditional non-ULV Core i7 laptop chip. This is because there is a lot of space inside a traditional laptop to dissipate heat but not in case of super thin computers like Ultrabooks. So an ultrabook / ULV processor can only generate so much heat before it turns the system off or slows itself down.