Determining processor speed on a PC

I am wondering if there is a way of finding out the speed of the CPU in a PC if there are no identifying labels on the outside.

As background, I look after a number of PC’s that do not have any indication on the box of the speed of the processor and I need to find out what speed they are. I have looked in the System information in the Control Panel, but all that tells me is what type of CPU is in there (ie: Pentium II or Pentium III) but not what the actual speed is.
How do I find out this information without pulling the cover off and physically looking at the CPU itself?

If you boot the computer, and watch carefully, one of the first screens you see (maybe the first, but I can’t re-boot right now, as I’m in the middle of something…) says how fast the processor is… or, if you have Direct X, you can run the DirectX diag tool, and it will tell you IIRC…

Hope that helps!

All of the above assums that you are using Windows… I dunno about macs, tho…

*Astro is right for most newer systems or updated BIOS, but some of the older BIOS version (still in use on some boards for some reason) can misdetect a lot of stuff.

For example my work utility box (the one I actually use for work and not browsing or gaming) is a P-II 266 but for some reason it shows up as a P-I 233 MMX (P-II=no MMX). I think the older BIOS is just confused. Similar issue at home when I built my roomates computer her mother board detected her K-6II 450 as a Celeron or P-II (I can’t remember but it was weird) and the board won’t even take one of those but the BIOS never met a K-6 II before so it just did the best it could. Fortunately there was a ROM update to take care of that (not that I noticed any negative side effects but better to take no chances).

[hijack] Astro: How do you use the Direct X tools for this? I have never done that before and it sounds nifty. Does it depend on propert BIOS chip recognition or would it work despite the issue I mentioned above? [/hijack]

On a Mac, you can run the Apple System Profiler, and it’ll tell you everything you ever wanted to know about your machine. Not every machine comes with and can use the System Profiler, though. Such machines are usually the older ones, in which case you can go to Low End Mac, which specializes in info on older Macs and maintains specs lists on every Mac model ever made.

On my computer (PII 450 running windows) I go to start>>run and type in “dxdiag” (w/o the quotes) and a box pops up and tells me the info.

I tried running the Direct X diagnostic and it still didn’t tell me the actual speed of the processor - PII 266, PIII 400, or whatever. All I got was the same info I can find in the System Information from the Control Panel ie: PII MMX, but no information about the clock speed of the CPU.
Does anybody else know of other methods I might use?
Thanks heaps!

Oooops! Sorry, I screwed up…

I posted my earlier reply from work, where the computer has only Korean Windows installed (due to my lack of Korean abilities, I mess with it as LITTLE as possible, as all of the menus, error msgs, etc. are in Korean!) and was going on memory… now that I’m home (with English Windows), I find that using DirectX tools will not tell you the processor speed! Sorry!!

But, still, the re-boot method works for me… if it’s a BIOS problem, and the BIOS will NOT correctly tell you your processor speed, then I’m over my head, and can offer no further assistance… :slight_smile:

Sorry Whytehawk and zen101! Astro pules in a miserable fashion, hoping that my fiancee will notice and decide to try to, ahem, cheer me up…:smiley:
*Astro is now depressed for REAL! Fiancee said “You’ll get over it!” :frowning: *

BTW: Yow! 500!

OK. Thanks for the effort anyway.

::Sighs, breaks out the screwdriver and wanders off to void a few warranties::

Wait, don’t void your warranty yet! I think I may have a shareware utility that can help you. Many BIOSes will not display the processor speed, even newer ones. Let me see if I can find this program and I’ll post again in a couple minutes.

Crap. I was wrong. PcDoctor doesn’t tell you the CPU speed; just the type. I’m afraid that taking your computer apart would not work either. Someone can correct me if they’ve seen otherwise, but I have never seen an Intel CPU that had the processor speed written on it.

Were your computers made by a major manufacturer? If so, you may be able to search by the computer’s model number on their web site. That’s about the only thing I can think of.

If you haven’t thrown those things out the window yet, you can use a linux bootdisk. As it boots up, it will flash the processor speed in hertz at you. If you miss it, you can either type “dmesg | less” (that’s the shift-\ symbol, not an L) or “cat /proc/cpuinfo” at the prompt to see the same thing.

I tried the DirectX diag tool that Astroboy 14 spoke of and it DID display the processor type and speed on the system information tab.
This is on a Win 98SE system.

I’m pretty sure some of the newer games will properly detect processor types in the installation rpocess (at least a couple do it for me), so I’m sure there is a software solution but I’ll be damned if I can name one off the top of my head.

Here is a suggestion write a nice letter asking Jerry Pournelle to ask if any of his readers know of a util that will do it.

the addy is he’s a pretty helpful guy buw what with his writing schedule and his Byte deadlines he can take a while to get back to you or to post your question. Still it’s the best help I can offer.

Try the Intel web outfitter site.
You have to register but there is a downloadable program that does this.

They will aslo send out a CD with a some useful plug ins too.

Sorry I don’t have the URL but that’s because its on my PC as a shortcut.

This seems to work absolutely fine for me as well. Running on Windows 98 at least, and I’ve tried it at home on WindowsME, works fine.

CPUSpeed is a nifty little freeware utility for determining CPU speed.

Funny, I’ve never seen an Intel CPU that didn’t, and I’m talking about from the i80386 on up to Pentium III SECC (I don’t have a socket-370 CPU lying around, so I can’t check those).

As far as finding a utility to do it, go to and search for benchmark; I’ve downloaded a few benchmark utilities that give the real speed. Sorry I can’t be more specific.

Oh lookee here.

Found a URL for you.

Try WCPUID, which is available here:

or under the download section at