5 Easy Ways to Check CPU Clock Speed on Linux

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Last updated: June 25, 2023

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To learn to check CPU clock speed on Linux, try these methods:

  1. Use the command lscpu in the Terminal to quickly obtain detailed information about the CPU, including clock speed.
  2. Retrieve CPU frequency-related information, including current clock speed, using the cpufreq-info command in the Terminal.
  3. Check the CPU clock speed by running the command cat /proc/cpuinfo in the Terminal, which accesses the virtual /proc file system.
  4. Install and launch CPU-X utility to get extensive CPU information, including clock speed, in a user-friendly graphical interface.
  5. Open System Monitor and enable the Show Frequency option in the CPU History section.

Encountering errors when checking CPU clock speed on Linux can be frustrating. Three common errors and their solutions include: “Unable to Find lscpu Command” (installing lscpu utility), “Inaccurate CPU Clock Speed Readings” (checking cooling, updating BIOS, adjusting power settings), and “Missing Real-time Monitoring Tools” (installing htop or top utilities).

Explore the article below to learn the methods to check CPU clock speed and common errors that can occur while checking the clock speed.

CPU clock speed a crucial metric that determines how quickly your processor can execute tasks. By delving into the world of checking CPU clock speed on Linux, you unlock the ability to optimize your system’s performance, make informed decisions, and squeeze every drop of processing power from your hardware. In this article, I will explore five powerful ways to check CPU clock speed on Linux, equipping you with the knowledge and tools to unleash your system’s potential.

How to Check CPU Clock Speed on Linux

To check CPU clock speed on Linux, you have multiple options. The lscpu command provides a comprehensive overview, cpufreq-info gives frequency-related details, and the /proc file system offers a direct method. Additionally, utilities like CPU-X and GNOME System Monitor provide graphical interfaces to monitor CPU speed and system resources. 

1. lscpu Command

The lscpu command is a popular and versatile method used to gather detailed information about the CPU, including clock speed. It provides a comprehensive overview of the CPU architecture, core count, and clock speed, allowing users to assess their system’s performance and compatibility with various software. Here are the steps to do it:

  1. Open the Terminal on your Linux system.
  1. Type the following command: 
<strong>lscpu -e=CPU,MHZ</strong>
  1. It displays the clock speed of your CPU in megahertz (MHz).

2. cpufreq-info Command

The cpufreq-info command is specifically designed to retrieve CPU frequency-related information. It not only displays the current CPU clock speed on Linux but also provides details about available CPU frequency scaling governors and available clock frequencies. This method allows users to analyze and manage CPU performance, optimize power consumption, and maximize efficiency based on their specific requirements. Follow these steps:

  1. Access the Terminal window and install cpufrequtils package if not already installed. To install it on Ubuntu, you can use the command: 
<strong>sudo apt-get install cpufrequtils</strong>
  1. The output will be:
  1. Once installed, type the following command: 
  1. The output will provide you with various information, including the current CPU clock speed, maximum clock speed, and more.

3. /proc File System

The /proc file system is a virtual file system in Linux that provides information about various system resources. This method offers a simple and direct way to check the CPU clock speed, allowing you to obtain the information you need without the need for additional tools or applications. Here are steps to do it:

  1. Launch the command window and type the following command: 
<strong>cat /proc/cpuinfo</strong>
  1. The output will display the CPU speed in MHz.

4. CPU-X Utility

CPU-X is a powerful and user-friendly utility that provides extensive information about the CPU, including clock speed, core count, cache details, and more. It offers an intuitive graphical interface, making it easy to understand and monitor CPU parameters. Here are the steps to do it:

  1. Open a Terminal and run the following command to install CPU-X on Ubuntu or Debian-based systems:
<strong>sudo apt install cpu-x</strong>
  1. The command will install CPU-X on Ubuntu.
  1. Once the installation is complete, launch CPU-X from the application menu.
  1. CPU-X will display detailed information about your CPU. Look for the Clocks section, which provides information about the current CPU clock speed. 

5. GNOME System Monitor

The GNOME System Monitor is a graphical utility that provides a comprehensive overview of system resources.This method offers a visually appealing and user-friendly interface to monitor the CPU clock speed, making it convenient to keep track of system performance and identify any fluctuations or abnormalities. Follow these steps:

  1. Open the Applications menu and search for System Monitor. Click on the System Monitor application to launch it.
  1. In GNOME System Monitor, click on the Resources tab at the top of the window. Under the Resources tab, you’ll find various system resource information. Look for the CPU History section, which displays a real-time graph of CPU usage.

Common Errors and Solutions When Checking CPU Clock Speed on Linux

Encountering errors while attempting to check CPU clock speed on Linux can be frustrating. By addressing these errors, you can ensure accurate CPU clock speed readings and gain valuable insights into your system’s performance. I will explore three common errors and provide practical solutions to overcome them:

  • 🔍 “Unable to Find lscpu Command” error: If you encounter the error message “lscpu: command not found” while trying to check CPU clock speed on Linux, it indicates that the lscpu utility is not installed on your system. You can install the utility by running the appropriate command based on your Linux distribution to resolve this issue. For Ubuntu and Debian-based systems, you can use sudo apt-get install util-linux, while Fedora and CentOS systems can use sudo dnf install util-linux. Once installed, running the lscpu command again will give you the CPU clock speed and other valuable information.
  • “Inaccurate CPU Clock Speed Readings” error: Inaccurate readings of CPU clock speed on Linux can occur due to CPU throttling or incorrect system configurations. To address this issue, you can take a few steps. First, ensure your system is not experiencing thermal throttling caused by excessive heat. Clean the CPU heatsink and fan, and ensure proper airflow for efficient cooling. Secondly, update your system’s BIOS to the latest version, as it may contain bug fixes or improved compatibility with the CPU. Lastly, check your system’s power settings and ensure it is not set to a power-saving mode that may reduce the CPU clock speed.
  • ⚙️  “Missing Real-time Monitoring Tools” error: If your Linux system lacks real-time monitoring tools to track CPU clock speed, you can address this by installing popular utilities such as htop or top. To install htop, you can use sudo apt-get install htop for Ubuntu and Debian-based systems, or sudo dnf install htop for Fedora and CentOS systems. For the top, this utility is usually pre-installed on most Linux distributions. Once installed, running htop or top will allow you to monitor CPU clock speed and other system metrics in real-time. 

Wrapping it Up

In this article, I have provided a comprehensive guide to various methods to check CPU clock speed on Linux systems. By leveraging commands like lscpu, cpufreq-info, exploring the /proc file systems, and utilizing tools like CPU-X, you can easily obtain the vital information you need. You will also learn about common errors that may arise while checking CPU clock speed.

To further enhance your knowledge and optimize CPU performance, consider exploring topics such as CPU temperature monitoring, stress testing, and advanced overclocking techniques. Stay informed about the latest developments in CPU technologies, Linux distributions, and performance optimization strategies to improve your computing experience continuously.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I check the CPU clock speed of individual cores on Linux?

To check the clock speed of individual CPU cores on Linux, you can utilize the lscpu command. Running the command in the Terminal provides detailed information about the CPU, including the clock speed of each core. Look for the CPU MHz field in the output, which displays the CPU’s clock speed. By examining the CPU MHz field for each core listed in the output, you can obtain the clock speeds of the individual cores. This information allows you to assess the performance of each core and identify any variations or imbalances within the CPU.

Can I overclock my CPU on Linux and check the new clock speed?

Yes, it is possible to overclock your CPU on Linux. The feasibility and success of overclocking depend on your hardware and BIOS capabilities. Once overclocked, you can use methods like the lscpu command, cpufreq-info, or monitoring tools like htop to check the new clock speed. Overclocking involves adjusting your system’s BIOS CPU multiplier or base clock frequency. However, it’s important to exercise caution and ensure adequate cooling to handle the increased heat. Remember that overclocking may affect system stability, power consumption, and heat generation, so it’s essential to research and follows best practices when overclocking your CPU on Linux.

What impact does CPU clock speed have on power consumption and heat generation?

The CPU clock speed directly impacts power consumption and heat generation. As the clock speed of a CPU increase, it requires more power to operate at higher frequencies, potentially leading to increased energy usage and higher power bills. Additionally, the power consumed by the CPU is dissipated as heat, contributing to overall heat generation in the system. CPUs running at higher clock speeds generate more heat, emphasizing the importance of proper cooling mechanisms to maintain optimal temperatures and prevent overheating. Achieving a balance between clock speed, power consumption, and heat generation necessitates considering cooling solutions and implementing adequate heat dissipation measures for system stability and longevity.



Ojash is a skilled Linux expert and tech writer with over a decade of experience. He has extensive knowledge of Linux's file system, command-line interface, and software installations. Ojash is also an expert in shell scripting and automation, with experience in Bash, Python, and Perl. He has published numerous articles on Linux in various online publications, making him a valuable resource for both seasoned Linux users and beginners. Ojash is also an active member of the Linux community and participates in Linux forums.



Akshat is a software engineer, product designer and the co-founder of Scrutify. He's an experienced Linux professional and the senior editor of this blog. He is also an open-source contributor to many projects on Github and has written several technical guides on Linux. Apart from that, he’s also actively sharing his ideas and tutorials on Medium and Attirer. As the editor of this blog, Akshat brings his wealth of knowledge and experience to provide readers with valuable insights and advice on a wide range of Linux-related topics.

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