How to Choose the Best Processor for Your Mac

Published On: , by MacSoftAdmin

I believe you must have been faced the issue when it came to picking out a device. The major problem is what will be the best device to use that will produce the best results. One fact, however, most people do not know what processor, core and turbo Boost are. In this article, we will share some information about these components and how the knowledge can affect us when we want to make a choice of what kind of device to purchase.

Trying to learn about various types of processors there is enough to get anyone without tech experience go crazy.  So what then do we need to know about the diverse production of processors? Two things you need to know about processor is how quickly and how much information it can execute within the shortest possible time and also the chunk of power it depletes. These attributes distinguish one processor from the other.

Processor Types

There are various Intel code names for its processor designs. Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, Haswell, Broadwell, Skylake, Kaby Lake, coffee Lake and the Cannon Lake. Presently, most Macs come with Kaby Lake processors with a few left out. The next generation processor, which is due to launch later in 2018, is Cascade Lake.

What to Know about Processors

Recent microprocessors are very complex accommodating over a billion transistors that are much powerful in comparison with the obsolete CPU. They can take inputs and produce outputs and send the information to the memory. They work like mini-computers, fast effective and short storage all in one chip.

Obviously, we have to take into consideration the speed at which a processor can process the information. There are applications that depend much on this and to mention a few, complex 3D models and animation rendering, mathematical and scientific functions and encoding of 4K videos. The next two questions should be how long the battery life is? How much heat is produced? These are the very two basic things you need to look out for as power is being used up. The quicker a processor works the more heat it lets out and the more power it saps from the battery.

Processor designers like Intel are basically trying to minimize power consumption and increase output efficiency in processors over the years. It will be one of the very many reasons why the more recent processor is better. A new processor will function better than an old version processor irrespective of the GHz size.

Later on, we will distinguish between different processor types relative to their generation. For example, if you choose between an i5 and an i7 chip. One other important thing we will be talking about here is the core size. There are different available cores: dual-core, quad-core, 8-12 and 18 cores. Don’t forget we mentioned above the Turbo Boost (processor speed), so we will see how this can be relevant when making a choice of what type of processor to go for.


GHz is normally referred to as clock speed. A 2.3GHz processor’s internal clock beats 2.3 billion times per second. With the exception of MacBook Air, every Mac usually comes with more than one choice in relation to GHz. MacBook Air runs at 1.8GHz and there is a build-to-order option that runs at 2.2GHz speed.

People sometimes get thrown off because they seem not to understand why powerful Mac would have less clock speed. The reason behind this is actually the core size. For example, the 2.8GHz quad-core MacBook Pro is more costly than the 3.1GHz dual-core version. Seems like a bad deal at first, right? Well, now you know that the more cores the better that is why the former is more costly than the later even with the later having a higher GHz.

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Turbo Boost

When we talk about Turbo Boost I guess your mind must be thinking in relation to turbocharged engines and how powerful and fast they can be! Well, you are not very far off. Here, Turbo Boost is a way of carefully overloading the cores on a processor. The display shows us the amount of power used and heat produced at the same time examining the amount of work done. With these figures, we are able to compare between various types and generations of processors.

If at any particular time a core is driven to its fullest functioning capacity, Turbo Boost can be of use. If there is enough power, then safe temperature levels will “overload” the core safely, enabling it to work faster. Here are some examples, a MacBook Pro 2.8GHz quad-core i7 can be elevated up to 3.8GHz if needed. In the same way, a 1.2GHz MacBook dual-core processor can be elevated to 3.0GHz.

Core M, i5, i7, and Xeon

Apple launched Retina MacBook in 2017 that came with the Core M. This was the first Intel laptop chip without a cooling fan. Because of its power and efficiency, Apple was able to manufacture a notebook so thin, weighing just about 900g and can run for straight 9 hours on battery. There are three available Core M processors: Core m3, m5, and m7.

Most of Macs work with Intel’s Core i5 processors. The Core i5 is dual-core. Intel does not make quad-core i5s.

The Core i7 has some features like the Hyperthreading that i5 doesn’t possess. There are various differences between the i5 and i7 examples include the difference in cache size. This makes handling of information in i7 faster and also better in multitasking, multimedia, scientific work and high-end gaming. The 15in MacBook Pro uses the Core i7 available as a build-to-order option.

Xeon processors are the workstation processors. They support more memory as much as 128GB RAM and even more. Also, they have more cores available, 24-cores, for instance.

Core Types

With the Macs currently on the market, you can find dual-core or quad-core options. If you need more cores, you can get it as well. The present Mac Pro has a Xeon processor with 6 or 8 cores and a 12-core build-to-order option. We still are expecting more cores to be added with the release of the new Mac Pro in 2018. Again, the more cores in your CPU the better its performance will be.

CPU Cache

Cache is an onboard memory that enables the processor work around repetitive tasks at a very fast pace. The more processor cache available the better. Multitasking can also be easier as several tasks can be run simultaneously.


This is a feature of the Core i7 Series. The processor is allowed to handle twice as many “streams” as it has Cores. So, this means a quad-core processor with hyperthreading would be able to execute four times as many sets of tasks in a given time as a dual-core processor with same clock speed but not having hyperthreading.