Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I was looking around for laptops one day on BJs, and found one I really liked - the HP Envy 17-j020us. But the processor was a 4th Generation Intel Core i7-4700MQ Processor with Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 at 2.4 GHz. However, another laptop - Toshiba Satellite S55-A5275 Laptop - had a 4th Generation Intel Core i7-4700MQ Processor with Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 at up to 3.4 GHz. It's also cheaper, but has less features.

Could somebody help describe what a GHz is?


Does a 2.4 GHz processor and 3.4 GHz processor have a big speed difference?


SO, the processors are the same but they both range from 2.4 to 3.4 ghz depending on usage, and I'll choose the hp envy.

Thanks for the answers! They were really helpful.

share|improve this question
A GHz (gigahertz) refers to the clock speed of a processor. It used to be highly relevant in the era of one-core CPUs, but it's less significant now. Still, it's a (very rough) indicator of computing speed. However, it strikes me as weird that the same processor could be listed with such a wide difference in clock speed. Are you sure it's the same? Maybe it's a typo on the website. – Timst Aug 8 '13 at 17:17
GHz = 1,000,000 Hertz – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Aug 8 '13 at 17:18
I'm pretty sure- here are the links to the sites: Toshiba Satellite – Lambda Ninja Aug 8 '13 at 17:19
and HP Envy – Lambda Ninja Aug 8 '13 at 17:20
Specs for that processor are available from Intel and if you read that, it tells you straight out: 2.4GHz with max frequency (Turbo) up to 3.4GHz. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Aug 8 '13 at 17:21
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Yes, 2.4GHz vs 3.4GHz is a big difference.

However you're comparing the same processor, and they're both capable of achieving 3.4GHz. For the i7-4700MQ, 2.4Ghz is the base speed and 3.4Ghz is the turbo speed.

If the processors had otherwise different clock speeds (and all the other features were mostly the same), there would be a pretty big difference in their capability.

Note that there's other features of a processor that can out weigh small differences (ie 0.1 - 0.2Ghz) in clock speed. Features like:

  • the number of cores
  • hyper-threading enabled
  • cache sizes

will also affect the comparison between two processors.

Whether or not you would notice these differences also depends on what you're using the computer for. If you aren't using your computer for gaming, video/music rendering, or some other computationally-intensive task, the difference will mean very little to you.

Apart from the answer:

If you want a computer that performs well for general tasks (ie internet browsing, document editing, etc), get a computer with an SSD. Especially when you're buying a laptop, SSDs will increase battery like and drastically increase boot-time (and other drive-intensive operations). When it comes to general-purpose computing, SSDs make more of a difference than faster RAM and CPUs.

Not to judge your purchase, but both computers come with 1TB 5400RPM drives - that is slow. Unless you actually need all that space, you will enjoy the capabilities of an SSD more.

And if you are looking to buy an HP laptop, do some research to make sure that none of the ports or internal parts are proprietary - HP is notorious for this.

share|improve this answer
For the average user though, the perception is probably not as bit as it is for the majority of people who would know the answer to that question. Also probably worth linking to the Intel Ark Site. I would bet the majority of people in the former category would notice a bigger change between SSD and HDD. Good response. – nerdwaller Aug 8 '13 at 17:24
@nerdwaller added a link. – Taylor Flores Aug 8 '13 at 17:33

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .