Hardware

What CPU do I have?

What CPU do I have

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Are you curious as to what specifications your desktop or laptop computer has? Good news: there’s a dead easy way to find out, and you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your desk.

Why would you want to know? Maybe you’re trying to see if your PC is good enough to run a game. Or perhaps it’s just an easy way of remembering approximately when you bought the darn thing without digging into a box full of dusty receipts…

What CPU do I have in my PC?

There are actually plenty of ways to get Windows to cough up this information.

  1. If you have a “My Computer” link on your desktop, right click it and then select Properties from the dropdown. Something like the below will appear, and your CPU will be listed under “Processor”:
what cpu do I have
  1. Alternatively, press the Start button and then Settings – which may be abbreviated to a small cog icon, depending on how your PC is set up. Press System, and then About from the submenu, and the same information will pop up:
About Menu Windows device specifications
  1.  Yet another way: right click on your task bar at the bottom of the screen and press Task Manager. Switch to the Performance tab, and your processor will once again be listed, along with how hard it’s working right now.
Task Manager Windows CPU
  1. Finally, there’s the good old Control Panel – which is actually the same as Point 1, but via a different route. Head to Control Panel, then System and Security and then System to see it. 

Any of these will reveal the make – most likely AMD or Intel – along with the clock speed in Gigahertz (or GHz) and a model number. A Google search of the latter will reveal all the pertinent information: when it was made, how much it cost and how much it will sell for now if you feel it’s time to upgrade.

If it’s an Intel chip, take a look at its product specifications page.

What CPU do I have in my Mac?

Obviously, this isn’t the same for Macs, and here the process is a little more complex if you want the same level of detail. 

One way is to search for your Mac’s serial number and Google it. Because Apple assembles all its own desktop Macs and MacBooks, you should be able to find out what CPU is in that particular model relatively easily.

Alternatively, if you’re on the Mac right now, you can find vague details by pressing the Apple button in the corner of your screen and selecting “About This Mac”. Not only will that provide the serial number mentioned above, but also give you a clue about the CPU inside – such as, “2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7”.

You’ll note that this description isn’t as detailed as the PC entries above. If it doesn’t give you everything you need to know, you’ll have to dig deeper.

Open Terminal and enter the command “sysctl -n machdep.cpu.brand_string” (without the quote marks). This will reveal the exact model number of your processor for you to investigate further.

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About the author

Alan Martin

Alan has been writing about tech professionally for a decade, and answering tech questions to family members on a voluntary basis for even longer. That should make him an ideal fit for Big Tech Question, then...

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