I am looking to get the new 12″ MacBook and as a result I would like to know the clock speed (in GHz) my current MacBook Air (late 2010) is running at so I know the processor on the MacBook will cope.

At the moment I know my processor running at the lowest frequency is 1.86GHz (as shown in System Information) and when I look in Activity Monitor as suggested here it only shows me the CPU usage and not the current clock speed. I have also looked at this suggestion but again it does not show me my processing frequency.

The reason why I want to find out the current speed my MacBook Air is running at is because Turbo Charge (explained here) can have it's clock run at various speeds from moment to moment. I have also tried Intel's power gadget software as suggested by @grgarside however my Air's CPU is not supported as shown here.

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  • It is a variable that depends on the load, so it would be constantly changing in micro second intervals.
    – Ruskes
    Mar 13, 2015 at 17:32
  • Thanks for that tip. I just want to have a roughy idea. I mostly use it for YouTube, Stack Exchange, Research, Word and programming (in vim) so it shouldn't be too up and down should it?
    – iProgram
    Mar 13, 2015 at 17:45

2 Answers 2


There may be a way to view your CPU's clock speed at this exact second, but as mentioned elsewhere, it is a constantly changing variable (due to Turbo Charge). Comparing clock speeds between different CPU generations, especially nearly five years apart, is also not at all useful.

A much more useful approach would be to use benchmarks. MacWorld uses Speedmark 8 to test most (if not all) Mac models that are produced, and there is a list here of the results. They "take the performance results from the 15 individual tests that make up Speedmark and boil them down to a single number", resulting in an easily-compared list which reviews multiple facets of the computer (not just the CPU). That list does not yet have the new MacBook models on it, but it likely will soon.

You can also compare scores on the GeekBench browser, which directly measure the CPU's performance. Your model's benchmarks are here and average about 1950. The Core M-5Y70 processor, which powers the new MacBook, is available at 1.1 GHz, 1.2 GHz, or 1.3 GHz. The only benchmarks currently available are for the 1.3 GHz version of the CPU, and the score for that averages about two times higher than your model's score. (Hence why the clock speed is irrelevant when comparing different generations of CPUs.)

A score of two times higher on GeekBench indicates two times the performance. Even accounting for the slower base models at 1.1 GHz and 1.2 GHz, performance will still be significantly increased versus your existing MacBook Air.

  • Thank you for your informative answer. Are you meaning the new Core-M processor is more powerful then my MacBook air 2010 processor?!?
    – iProgram
    Mar 13, 2015 at 22:10
  • 1
    Yes as stated above, up to four times more powerful, depending on the clock speed.
    – tubedogg
    Mar 13, 2015 at 22:23
  • So does this mean that if the MacBook Air 2010 does me fine then the new MacBook should cope with what I want it to do?
    – iProgram
    Mar 13, 2015 at 22:26
  • 1
    Correct. ------
    – tubedogg
    Mar 13, 2015 at 22:28
  • Cool. Defiantly getting it on the 10th then!
    – iProgram
    Mar 13, 2015 at 22:33

Intel Power Gadget can show the current CPU frequency.

  • When I try installing I get 'GPU not supported' I have posted the screenshot in my answer.
    – iProgram
    Mar 13, 2015 at 17:30
  • Are there alternatives to this?
    – Royi
    Nov 21, 2017 at 14:04

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