How to Test a CPU for Free

by Angela Baird

The CPU, or central processing unit, is the multi-tasking engine -- the brain -- of your computer. It handles each task you assign, controlling software applications and the various hardware components installed in the computer. The speed of your CPU determines how well your computer performs and the amount of information it can handle at a given time. CPU chip speed is measured in megahertz or gigahertz. CPU tests allow you to determine the clock speed and overall performance of your CPU.


Open the Windows "Start" menu to access the Search box in Windows Vista and Windows 7. In earlier releases such as windows XP, click the "Start" menu and select "Run."


Type in the command line "msinfo32" (without quotes). The speed of your CPU will be displayed as a numeric value followed by the abbreviation MHz (megahertz) or GHz (gigahertz) in the processor description.


Test the temperature of your CPU by downloading free monitoring software, such as Core Temp or Real Temp 3.00. Core Temp monitors multiple processors within the system simultaneously and displays the information in a window on your desktop.


Test the overall performance of your CPU by downloading and running free software such as PC Tools Performance Toolkit 2011 or Test My Hardware. Programs like these run multiple tests on your CPU to diagnose problems causing the CPU to run slowly. Programs offered by Freeware Files will run benchmark tests (comparing your computer to baseline data), according to Software Productivity Research. These programs can also diagnose hidden CPU problems.


  • check The faster your CPU speed, the better performance you will see when running processor-intensive operations such as gaming and streaming video.


  • close Overloading your CPU can lead to overheating which may cause internal hardware damage to your system.

About the Author

Angela Baird has been writing professionally since 1995. She has a wide range of life experiences from work with abused animals with the Humane Society, to more than 20 years of hands-on experience in the culinary arts. In addition, she keeps horses and does her own home improvements and home gardening.

More Articles

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera cpu image by Aussiebloke from