How to Find Your Mac's Exact CPU Model

Posted by Jim Tanous on May 4, 2015

When buying a new Mac, Apple gives you just enough information about the system’s hardware to make a good comparative choice between the different models, but the company keeps the exact hardware details hidden in order to avoid customer confusion. For example, when shopping for a new MacBook Air, Apple tells you that the base CPU is a “1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5,” but doesn’t reveal the specific model.
Indeed, even after you’ve purchased a Mac, the information about the exact CPU model is hidden from the “About this Mac” and System Information windows. This is fine for most users, but power users or those looking to compare a Mac’s performance to an equivalent PC may want to know exactly which CPU is powering their computer.
mac cpu info
Thankfully, third party resources, such as the excellent EveryMac.com, have stepped in to provide a wealth of details about every Mac ever released. But to use that information, you’ll first need to know your specific Mac model and then take the time to browse the website.
What if you just quickly want to verify your Mac’s CPU model? Or what if you’re working to repair or troubleshoot someone else’s Mac and don’t have all the info about the system immediately available? Well, you’re probably not surprised to learn that there’s a Terminal command that can show your Mac’s CPU model. Here’s how to use it.
First, launch Terminal from the Macintosh HD/Applications/Utilities folder (or by searching for it with Spotlight). Then, enter the following command and press Return:

sysctl -n machdep.cpu.brand_string

You’ll immediately see a new line of text with the exact make and model of your Mac’s CPU. In our example, our 2013 Mac Pro is powered by a single Intel Xeon E5-1650 V2. A quick search for that processor reveals its complete details listed at Intel’s website, including important information such as TDP and price.
find mac cpu model
Intel has kept the same Core-series naming scheme for several years, meaning that lots of CPUs share similar frequency characteristics even though they offer far different performance levels. By identifying your Mac’s specific CPU, you’ll be able to more accurately compare your Mac to other Macs and PCs, helping you either make an initial purchase or decide if it’s worth it to upgrade.

4 thoughts on “How to Find Your Mac's Exact CPU Model”

ass says:
“the company keeps the exact hardware details hidden in order to avoid customer confusion ”
Bullshit – they do that so people wont easily know that they pay premium for subquality hardware, its just fact. they have sold imacs with dual core cpus for super overprice and even then still fail to adequately cool them. geee just be real and tell the truth
Agua Caliente says:
Really cool tip. Could come in handy when buying a Mac, too. I always have a terminal window open. Apple really ought to include this information in System Report > Processor.
Barry Green says:
nice one, thanks.
DanialThom says:
sysctl -a | grep brand

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