The Megahertz Myth – Are Hertz all that matter?

The Megahertz Myth

The megahertz myth is the incorrect understanding that Ghz and MHz are the only way of measuring how good a CPU is.

People often get caught in this trap because some CPUs may seem to be better than another CPU just because it completes twice as many cycles (twice as much MHz) as another CPU. However, the other CPU completes twice as much with each cycle meaning that both CPUs would process the same amount of information.

People would upon seeing the faster clock speed automatically believe that the first CPU was much better. Intel have been pushing that the faster the clock speed the better the CPU, however this is untrue. AMD have slower clock speeds however in an attempt to move away from the myth, they have given their processors numeric suffixes approximating clock speed, by matching their performance.

Intel pushed the MHz myth when they built the Pentium 4s, With some having clock speeds of 3.8Ghz. However, recently Intel has built the new generation Core 2 Duos. These CPUs are much better then the Pentium 4s, however many of the Core 2 Duos are slower (in clock speed) than the Pentium 4s.

What makes it even more confusing is that some high-end video editing programs and other software, in the minimum requirements claim that the processor must be faster then 2.8Ghz or some fast speed. However a slower Core 2 Duo would easily run this program, much better then a fast Pentium 4 could.

It is important when selecting a CPU that you don’t get confused about this clock speed business.


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