I have an AMD A6-3500 three-core CPU. AMD System Monitor shows each core with a maximum 2100 MHz. This also shows in AMD OverDrive.
Does this processor run at the speed 3*2100 MHz?
Can I say that I have got a 6.3 GHz processor?
Multi-core CPU:s can perform several actions per clock cycle, loosely speaking. The clock speed is measured in Hz, and it is not correct to say that it is tripled just because you have more cores.
Everyone loves car analogies! A three-file motorway as compared to a one-file motorway with the same speed limit will not predictably enable you to arrive at your destination three times faster.
If you run perfectly parallelizable processes, then a three-core CPU can effectively perform operations at three times the capacity of a single-core CPU at the same clock speed ("all motorway lanes filled").
However, subsequent CPU operations often depend on previous ones and thus can not be run in parallel. With a perfectly linear process, you will only be able to do calculations on a single core at a time, and thus effectively be identical in processing speed to a single-core CPU.
Therefore it is very incorrect to say that 3-core CPU @ 2.1GHZ = 6.3GHz.
For further information, see
EDIT to address your question edit. Quoting myself from above:
No, you do not have a 6.3GHz CPU. It would perhaps be something that someone without technical knowledge in a marketing department that tries to sell you new hardware would say, but it is false.
Your processor has 3 cores, each running in parallel at 2.1Ghz currently
(as per the specs, it can be variable from 2.1-2.4Ghz)
|show 2 more comments|
I will boldly go against the consensus here and argue it is perfectly fine to say the frequency has tripled. Here is why.
Frequency is not a CPU specification. It is a physical quantity, the reciprocal of time, and it can be used to express a large number of variables. The number of clock ticks per unit time, how many decimals of pi it can calculate per unit time, how often it needs replacement and its angular velocity when you throw the processor around like a frisbee, are all frequencies of your CPU. The unit Hz simply counts the number of events per second, but doesn't specify what event you are counting.
In the context of CPUs, 'frequency' usually means clock rate. This value is not increased by additional cores. Counting the grand total of clock ticks per second in every core, however, will get you a number three times as large as the clock rate. Likewise, putting a second noisy clock up on the wall does not make time go twice as fast, yet I can hear twice as many ticks per second as before.
What if two out of three cores are idle and the other one barely has enough to do to keep the computer running? Most clock cycles will pass without the processor doing work. In your screenshot, it's effectively doing about 84 million operations a second. That's also a frequency.
When bragging about your hardware, these values aren't particularly useful. But even when talking hard numbers and specifications, 'frequency' can mean a number of things: CPU cycles per unit time, front side bus speed, floating point operations per second...
To be clear, clock rate multiplied by number of cores is not the frequency by which 'we' measure the speed of a processor, but to say it's wrong is something else entirely.
Akash answer is correct but I am willing to make it more clear.
Speed is not same as frequency, frequency is not speed and speed is not frequency.
You are asking about speed but talking about MHz which is frequency unit. Actual speed depends on how each core processes instructions, do they need to wait for each other and do they use common memory or does all cores have reserved cache. You can make use of all cycles only if there is three separate threads so that all cores process instructions at same time.
Of course, if you are only counting overall cycles, you could say that your CPU speed is
You can't say you have 6,3GHz CPU but you can say that in theory you processor can go 6300000000 cycles per second but frequency stays at 2,1GHz for individual cores (2100000000 cycles per secod). You need to say that you have three 2,1GHz processors (or cores as often when speaking about processor it means separate individual units) if one core runs at 2,1GHz and you got three of them.
If you say that you have 6,3GHz CPU it could do 6300000000 cycles/second for single thread and that is not case with your 3*2,1GHz CPU.
|show 5 more comments|