What Is Intel Turbo Boost?

Lots of exciting new computers today! And no matter what, we still get jazzed about processor speeds. But what's this Turbo Boost business Apple mentioned? Why do CPUs have two different speeds? It's actually pretty simple.

Turbo Boost makes your computer faster when it needs it...

As the name implies, Turbo Boost is... turbo. Let's say your new MacBook Pro has a 2.7GHz processor. It'll run at that speed until you try to run something that requires extra power.

...by overclocking your CPU...

If you need more power, your Ivy Bridge processor will give it to you by cranking itself up. Think of a jet hitting the afterburner. The fastest chips Apple are using can push themselves all the way to 3.7Ghz -- a full gigahertz jump, on demand.

...without you needing to think

Great news! Overclocking isn't a pain in the arse anymore. Your CPU will figure out how many extra cycles it needs and then reconfigure itself. No need to restart, no need for trial and error -- it's all handled by an algorithm Intel cooked up. You'll never even know it's happening.

...and saving energy.

With a processor that makes itself faster (or slower) based on need, you get more from your battery. Overclocking a processor has usually been a permanent affair. You boost your CPU for more speed, and it stays that way, running hotter and feeding hungrily on electricity the entire time. Turbo Boost only stays hot as long as it needs to. Smart!

Image: GDGT



    Turbo boost that apple mentioned? You mean Intel turbo boost that's been around since the original core i3/5/7 chips years ago

      Exactly. Turbo boost isn't new. Apple are just showing it off to make it seem like another reason to spend thousands of dollars.

      2008, so nearly four years ago...

      Turbo has been around since 386 and 486 CPU days

      You are so ignorant, acting as though this article has come about due to apple mentioning turbo boost earlier today. Truth is, they had the turbo boost capable sandy bridge cpus in their last line of computers aswell. Just because its old tech, doesn't mean they aren't going to mention it, thats like flaming intel for mentioning speed boost in their ivy bridge marketing, of course they are still going to talk about it!

        it is not ignorant, the article was brought up because of the Apple keynote where it got a full slide simply to show what Intel bakes in, I think it rather fair to bring up that this is rather old tech news, however I don't have a problem with it being explained again for those who might have missed it the first time round.

    What did Apple invent Intel turbo boost now?

      C'mon, they even mention "it’s all handled by an algorithm Intel cooked up." and link the to Intel page describing the feature.... too lazy to read but you can be bothered complaining in the comments?

      Patent #2837465


      Yeh. didn't you get the memo? Apple invented everything. Even the rectangle. and the colour Black.

      Yeah just after they invented the colour white and physical buttons.

    My old 486 had something similar, a turbo button on the tower let you change the CPU speed from 33mhz to 66mhz.

    Needless to say it stayed on turbo the whole time.

      Oh, those were the days! I miss my 486... and Commander Keen!

        What a beast, my 486 was 25 to 33mhz


          im the guy that missed it the first time around and didnt know what the turbo was until i came here. as a result iv looked up commander keen and after about 90 seconds iv realized that its just about the worst game ever. i was also disappointed to learn that this "turbo" doesn't run from the exhaust gasses in my computers fan assembly.

      Hah, you made me literally LOL at work (embarrassing!), partly because I was thinking about my own 33/66MHz 486 when I read the headline.

        You're right. You are embarrassing

      Probably you already know this, but those Turbo buttons were the opposite. The computer ran at it's normal speed when you had turbo on. Turning turbo off was designed to slow the processor down to 4mhz to be compatible with the original XT. God, I feel old.

    This sounds awesome, I'm going to order a MacBook right away!

    WOW turbo booooost!
    Any other news from four years ago?

    I clicked through because I thought this was something new. I was sorely disappointed.

    Why is Apple advertising a feature that has been with PCs for more than a little while? Because the members of the cult believe what they are told.

      Its a typical apple thing they have never really done anything new they usually just refine or straight out repackage existing technologies and throw in some good pr and advertising

      why wouldnt they advertise this? if its a new feature on macbooks then it is important that they tell potential customers about it.
      on top of this, it by no means the responsibility of apple to talk about what their competitors have been doing, in fact, to do so would be severely detrimental to their business model
      if this is seen as a new feature by the marketplace, this reflects a failing on the pc manufacturers behalf for not doing enough to advertise the features of their products, not a failing on apples behalf

        I would actually debate that, They have been advertising it, however the majority of apple users are usually "front end heavy" which means they need everything spelled out to them in babytalk. However making an old thing seem new and exciting is apples talent, Though I will admit that apple are better in some aspects which PC's aren't there is still alot more which a PC can do for me than an Apple. Advertising something as a new technology available as a reason to buy an apple over a PC when PC's have had the technology for years is a little silly though.

          P1R is spot on. I'm not a big computer geek and when looking at Apple's products this is first time I've ever heard of turbo boost or knew it was possible. This shows the usual story. PC manufacturers can make great technology but are a bunch of geeks and have zero social expertise on how to sell this to the general public. Apple knows what will appeal to people and how to communicate the best selling points of a product. They shouldn't be copping flac for being smart.

            First of all, this feature would have been in all Apple gear since Nehalem chipset was released (2008, 2009 for the Macbook with these chips) so no this is not new. They may just be allowing the hardware to use turbo mode now, I don't know but this is definitely not new. You are right, they are very savvy with their marketing but that does not excuse them from copping flack for blatant misrepresentation (ie trying to make a 3 year old feature look like something they have just come up with)...

              I never said it was a new feature. Just that when Apple started mentioning it it's the first time I've heard of it. And Apple are not trying to make out it's something they just came up with? They're just listing and explaining it as a feature. News to me and I'm glad they did. If you think most normal people have ever heard of overclocking a CPU before you're living in a nerd dreamland.

              but it is knew on a mac.
              again it comes back to this apparent notion that some people have that apple is some how obliged to talk about what the rest of the industry is doing
              apple has spent basically its entire life positioning itself in the market as a leader (admittedly it has only really had success in this in its very early years and in the last 10 ish), basic marketing theory states that a company trying to market itself as the industry leader should never talk about its competition directly, and to do so is detrimental to the brand (there are a multitude of reasons for this)
              obviously internally, apple would be closely monitoring what competitors are doing, but outwardly, they need to be completely ignoring what the competition does, meaning they most certainly should be doing everything they possibly can to promote this new feature of apple laptops

      because iSheep will beleive it is a new feature.

    How exactly did Apple market turbo boost as a new thing?

      They put a patent app in then told Apple users they had something new coming up LOL


    Yeah, WTF? I've seen turbo boost advertised for Intel processors for ages now. What's next, all new coloured pixels?

      I get that feeling with it, its a 6year old technology and even if people havent heard of it, its still pretty much a given it should have it. It's like advertising DVD players and saying "Comes with dual layer capability"
      Not every one has heard of it, but its not new, its not fancy, its just it hasnt been widely advertised so marketing plays on peoples lack of knowledge on the topic.

        isnt the point of advertising to better inform consumers who have a lack of knowledge on a product?

    If you haven't noticed. Sam Biddle in all of his blogs thinks Apple created and is the best lol.

    TURBO BOOST IS NOT NEW! I had A TURBO BUTTON on my 486, boosting it from 25 to 33 MHZ!

      Umm.. Turbo boost is automatic. There'd be no humour in a joke that's incorrect

    this just in! the new macbook line also features a hard drive for storing your files!!!!

    This thread is crazy.

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