Why doesn’t the i7 ever use its processing power


I'm writing about my Sony Vaio laptop again. It's an i7 with 6 GB of RAM, 500 GB 7200 RPM machine.

Ever since I've owned it, I've seen its CPU at 100% perhaps once. Most of the time, applications seem to run at the same speed as a Core 2 Duo but with a smaller percentage of processing power.

It would be nice if the chip actually could leverage its processing power to run faster than its predecessor (Core 2 Duo).

Instead, I'll be sitting there waiting for a file to compress or a cd to rip and the computer will be using 20-25% of its processing power. Why? I'm on Windows x64, so shouldn't that leverage the chip more?

Sometimes changing the priority in Task Manager to High helps, but only for a little bit.

Is there a way to get the processor to work harder? Is it a IO issue, where my drive can't keep up? How do I know the "turbo boost" is actually working?

Thanks! I'd really appreciate any ideas.

Best Answer

File compression and CD ripping are probably being limited by your laptops IO subsystem. The usual benefit of a faster CPU is that you can do something else while it is ripping/compressing etc. If you usually wait for a single task to complete before starting the next task then you probably wasted your money buying more CPU than you actually need - at least with the laptop in question. Adding a SSD might let you balance the IO/CPU workload better.

The benefit of a 64 bit OS vs 32 is (sometimes) it can do more work with fewer cycles. In other words you'll see lower CPU utilization for the same amount of actual work done. Low numbers for CPU utilization is not of itself a "bad thing". Most people would be happy with that situation.

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