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I have a dual core CPU in my laptop. Supposedly it's supposed to be running at 2 Ghz.

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When a dual core CPU is said to be running at 2 Ghz, does it mean that each of the cores should be cranking at 2Ghz? Or the sum of the core speeds should be equal 2Ghz?

This is a screenshot of CPU-Z

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The power plan is High Performance and the laptop is plugged in at all times. Is my computer running as its supposed to or should it be running faster?

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3 Answers 3

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When a dual core CPU is said to be running at 2 Ghz, does it mean that each of the cores should be cranking at 2Ghz? Or the sum of the core speeds should be equal 2Ghz?

Each core runs at the mentioned speed

Most newer processors, including yours, come with features such as Intel's SpeedStep which downclocks when there isn't any (or minimal) load to save on battery & heat. Start a game or so, and you'll see the increase in clockspeed

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To add to your answer, I tracked down the problem that was causing the CPU to never go above 995 MHz (even when running CPU intensive apps). It was overheating. I downloaded a temp app and it clocked the CPU at 85 Celsius. I cleaned up the laptop and now its back at 50 Celsius and the CPU speed is back up to what is needed. –  AngryHacker Feb 27 '12 at 16:56
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Your CPU is clocked at 2GHz, that means that every core is running at 2GHz. You can not add up core clock rates to each other. Your computer is running as it is supposed to be, but I suggest you to use a 64bit OS to take advantage of your 4GB RAM.

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The frequency of a CPU describes how many cycles are occuring every second. For example 2 GHz equals 2 000 000 000 cycles per second. Some CPUs need one cycles to perform one operation (e.g. add two numbers) but complex CPUs also perform multiple operations during a cycle (thats why a core i7 may be faster than a i5 whith the same clockspeed). Both of you cores can work at 2 GHz independent from the other one.

So for the simple example of 1 cycle = 1 operation the two cores could 'add' 4 000 000 000 numbers per second. But the task has to be running on two independent threads (= the software has to support multiple cores). 'Most' software is just running 1 thread so the are using just one core, the second one can be used by another program though.

Modern CPU (especially Laptops) govern their speed in order to save power/reduce heat. Even when you are using the computer, the CPU is waiting on data from the ram or harddrive, so running at full speed would be a waste of energy. Even more so if the computer is just idling.

Your computer is fine and okay. Run a benchmark if you want to see how fast it really is.

See also this.

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