ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The #1 source of Intel Core 2 confusion

Updated on July 13, 2008
Why the heck is my 2.66 GHz processor showing as 1.87 GHz???
Why the heck is my 2.66 GHz processor showing as 1.87 GHz???
 

It is doubtful that there is any other feature on Intel's popular Core 2 series of Dual, Quad and Extreme processors that has created more confusion and tech support calls than the outright bizarre CPU speed readout on the System Information screen of both Windows XP and Vista.

When you check your system you will see two frequencies, the first one is what you paid for and the second one is usually much lower. This leads new Core 2 users to wonder what that second lower setting means, if it's one core running at top speed and the other one crawling along, or exactly what the heck is going on.

The cause of all this confusion lies on Intel SpeedStep's DoorStep. As I recently explained in a Hub about a problem with AMD's version called Cool'n'Quiet these two monikers are each manufacturer's version of a "voltage and speed adjustment function that works on the fly depending on the particular load that the processor is under. Therefore, Cool'n'Quiet/SpeedStep will provide full processing power if the applications you are running demand them, such as 3D rendering, gameplaying, encoding and other CPU-heavy functions, but will automatically underclock and undervolt the processor if you're just web surfing, typing or performing other functions that don't require the full blown power of all your cores."

What happens on the System Information screen is that you are shown the full power potential of your Intel CPU in the first figure and what frequency the SpeedStep function has underclocked the processor at that point in time to reflect the load that you have your PC under. Therefore, if you were going to check the System Information at a time when you were encoding a video, applying a Photoshop filter on a huge image, and folding all at the same time, you'd likely see that the second number would match the first, showing that the CPU is running at 100% of its rated frequency.

If you are generally annoyed by this automatic underclocking and want to use up all the frequency your hard earned dollars paid for, you can shut down SpeedStep. This is where even more users run into trouble. They go into the Power Applet in Control Panel and select the Always On option. It is clear in the description that this will disable SpeedStep and provide for you every single Hertz you have at your disposal. So on XP (and similarly in Vista) they right click on the desktop, then click Properties, then click Screen Saver, then click Power button then change the Power Scheme to always on.

...and guess what? Nothing happens! It is one of SpeedStep's great deeply held secrets that in the majority of motherboards, you must have it turned off in the BIOS as well as in the Windows Control Panel!!! Before you go poking around your BIOS and mess up your PC to the point where it won't boot up any longer, check your motherboard manual for the exact procedure. When you're in there, don't change any other settings. You have been warned!

Fortunately, SpeedStep does not have the same problem that its AMD clone experiences with the top end Quad processors. While Cool'n'Quiet has been found to squash the performance of many newer Phenom CPUs, SpeedStep is a far better behaved specimen. But still... would it have hurt Intel to only need one process originated from within Windows to kill it rather than making users plunge into the sensitive innards of their BIOS?

 

Check out hundreds of Hal's PC Technology articles in these categories:

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      latifqwedw 

      7 years ago

      Very much descriptive thank you

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)