The CPU (central processing unit) is one of the most important parts of every modern computer, if not the most important. Whether you use a desktop PC, laptop, phone, tablet, or even a smartwatch, all of these devices have some form of CPU.
If the graphics card is the brawns of a computer, the processor provides the brains to make everything work properly.
Not every CPU is built equal, meaning they handle tasks differently. Some are better for basic tasks such as word processing, while others will be suitable for gaming. This is why you might be wondering, “What is my CPU?”
To help you find the answer to that question, we have prepared this guide.
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Find Your CPU With Windows
The majority of computer owners are using a Windows operating system, specifically Windows 10, so we will start there.
Using System Settings
Before you download a bunch of programs trying to figure out what kind of processor you have in your computer, there is a simple way to do it using Windows’ built-in settings.
Open the Start Menu and click on Settings (cogwheel icon). From here, head into System.
This will give you access to various settings. We’re looking for the About tab. To reach that tab, scroll down the left navigation menu to the bottom, and you should find it.
With the About tab selected, you will see your device’s specifications on your monitor. If you look next to “Processor”, you should be able to see exactly which CPU you have.
In our example, it is an Intel mobile chip. Specifically, an Intel i5-10210U @ 1.60 GHz, with a boost clock of up to 2.11 GHz.
Unfortunately, from this window, you won’t be able to see any more information regarding your CPU.
If you’re looking for another way to find info on your CPU or you aren’t running Windows 10, you can use Device Manager. This applet has been available for many generations, so whether you are on Windows XP or even Windows 11, you will be able to use it.
The easiest way to access this is by using Windows Search. Open the Start Menu and search for “Device Manager.”
Alternatively, you can access it via Control Panel, which can also be found by using Windows’ built-in search.
In Control Panel, open Hardware and Sound, and then, under Devices and Printers, look for Device Manager.
Here, you should see several categories/types of devices, one of which should be the Processor. By expanding this category, the name of your CPU will be revealed. This will also tell you exactly how many cores and threads it has, but how?
After expanding it, you might notice that your processor’s name is repeated several times. The number of times it is repeated is exactly how many cores or threads you have.
Each of these methods is a reliable way to check exactly which processor you have on your Windows computer.
However, there is still one more built-in method that is superior to both of them: Task Manager.
Using Task Manager
Task Manager is one of the most important built-in features of all systems running Windows. Not only can you use it to oversee every program and process running on your computer, but you can also use it for performance monitoring.
To do that, you will first need to open Task Manager. The quickest way is with the Ctrl + Shift + Escape shortcut or Ctrl + Alt + Delete.
With the window open, click on More Details at the bottom left and then select the Performance tab.
You will see information regarding your GPU, Memory, Wi-Fi, SSD/HDD, and CPU. At the moment, you want details regarding your CPU, so select that.
As visible in the image above, you will see various information. At the top, there is the name of the processor, a graph showing utilization percentage, the number of cores and threads (logical processors), virtualization, and other useful details.
If you want to make the information regarding your CPU even more accessible, you can download one of the many third-party programs that facilitate this.
Some of the most popular of these are CPU-Z, HWMonitor, and HWinfo. HWinfo provides the most information, but it is also the most complicated program, so we will focus on CPU-Z as it is easy to install and use.
First, download CPU-Z. You can either download the setup file, or you can download it as a .zip for an even more basic install. We recommend going with the setup to be sure that it works properly.
Follow the installation steps and open the application.
When you start the application, you should be on the CPU tab, where you will see various information regarding your processor.
This will include the name, make, model, TDP, architecture, socket, cache, clock speeds, and much more.
Find Your CPU With macOS
Compared to Windows, finding the specs of your Mac is a bit more complicated. With this guide, you will learn which CPU you have in no time.
To access this information, you will need to start the Mac’s Terminal. You can do that by going to the Finder and then into Application. From there, you should be able to find the terminal.
After opening the terminal, use this command:
sysctl -a | grep brand
When you submit this command, the terminal should output the exact name of your CPU. However, you will only see the name and no other information.
Unfortunately, there currently isn’t any third-party software that will provide more information for your Mac.
However, there are some websites available that have gathered all of the information about specific Mac models and their processors.
To get detailed specifications, you can search for your processor’s name that you got from the terminal on EveryMac. This website has a library of all Mac Models. After searching for your CPU name, you will be able to find the exact model of your Mac.
You will then be able to see your CPU’s boost frequency, display, RAM, iGPU/dGPU, I/O, and much more.
Find Your CPU With Linux
Obtaining information regarding your CPU on Linux is far more straightforward than on MacOS, and you can also see a lot more specifications.
If you are on Linux, simply hit Ctrl+Alt+T (shortcut for terminal) and type in this command:
$ cat /proc/cpuinfo
This should immediately give you a list of specifications and information such as the number of cores, cache size, model name, etc.
You can also use the command:
This will show you even more specifications, such as max, min, and current frequency.
If you want to fetch the CPU information easily, without having to find and type in these commands every time, some third-party programs will do it for you.
These might not be as intuitive or user-friendly as the ones for Windows, but they are still good enough.
One option is CPU-X. It is completely open-source and designed specifically for Linux/GNU. It is also used as a monitoring application.
SidebarDiagnostics is another solid option and a bit more intuitive. It is a simple sidebar that can show you diagnostics regarding your hardware. It can monitor everything from your drives, GPUs, RAM, and, most importantly, your CPU.
With that, we have covered the best methods of finding the CPU of a computer for the most popular operating systems. We hope this article has been what you were looking for and you have found the information helpful.