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CPU Utilization

Last response: in Windows XP
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July 18, 2007 8:38:43 PM

I am working with a customer that is using very demanding macros in Excel 2003. He has two computer systems. The first is a laptop at 1.73 Ghz with 2GB of ram (its several years old), and the second is a fairly new 3.0 Ghz desktop with 2GB of ram.

The problem is that the laptop is able to finish the exact same data in almost exactly half the time. I have checked his paging file size and they are identical. The laptop even has more processes running!

Timings using identical spreadsheets that are local to his computer(s):
Laptop 12min
Desktop 25min

I have been looking into it and have found that during the execution of the macro the laptop utilizes 100% of its CPU time, while the desktop caps out at ~50%.

Is there a way to increase the CPU utilization, or am I off base and need to look at this in a different way?

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July 19, 2007 1:31:14 AM

Both are running Windows XP? Exactly how old is the laptop? The reason I ask is because old laptops typically maxxed out at 1GB of RAM... it was rare to get a laptop capable of handling 2GB a few years ago.

Does the desktop have a dual-core processor or a single-core with Hyperthreading enabled? If it does have Hyperthreading enabled, try disabling it and see what kind of results you get.
July 19, 2007 11:47:46 AM

Check CPU temp on desktop, may be overheating and throttling. Run CPU-Z to check actual CPU speed. If laptop has pentium M, it is nearly as fast as the desktop CPU as M is better CPU than P4, clock for clock. Defrag HD on deshtop.

Mike.
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July 19, 2007 12:48:25 PM

Yes, both PCs are running Windows XP. The laptop is a Latitude D610. The manual for it was updated last in Dec 2005, so I used that as a frame of reference on how old it was.I t registers the 2Gb of memory under System properties.

I have not tried to disable hyperthreading, but I am going to give that a shot.

The desktop has been defragmented. It has not shown the classic signs of overheating, but I will make sure to check that out as a possibility.
July 19, 2007 2:22:06 PM

With a P4 the clasic symptom of overheating is to enter thermal throttling, and slow down! It only trips out if CPU fan fails or falls off.

Mike.
July 21, 2007 5:51:18 AM

The other thing is the laptop probably has Speedstep enabled... which means it will throttle the processor back when it doesn't need to run it at full speed... though sometimes it will throttle anyway. If the processor isn't running at full speed, then that could be why it shows 100% usage and the desktop doesn't.
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