How do I get Vista to use all my processing power and memory?

I recently built a pretty top end PC. Among other things, it has 8 gigs of RAM and a new Intel i7 processor.

The computer runs perfectly fast, but for the first time I have a widget up showing processor usage and memory usage.

I noticed that no matter what I do or how many things I run at once, I'm almost never using more than 18% of the processing power and maybe 35% of memory.

As a brief example: I recently imported 500 songs into iTunes. It went pretty quickly - took maybe 5 minutes. But the processor usage never went above 5%.

How do I get iTunes (or whatever else) to use all the processing power? Heck, if it even used 50%, it would have (in theory?) gone 10x quicker and been done in 30 seconds.

Is there some other limitation I'm not aware of? I can't believe its the hard drive and nothing else is really in play.


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  1. It's your hard drive. There's no point in caching 8 gb worth of songs, and importing music into i-tunes is about as easy for your core i-7 as it is for you to pick up a pencil.

    There's always a bottleneck somewhere...if it bothers you alot then buy an SSD.
  2. You won't likely use the full CPU power for anything aside from video encoding or something similar. Occasionally, games can use most of it. If it's running fast enough for you, then I wouldn't worry about it too much.
  3. And why 8GB on an i7? Not using triple channel?
  4. < Stunned Silence that someone actually wants Vista to use *MORE* resource >

    And yah, You ran into a Hard Drive I/O limit. File copy simply doesn't take much processor power. Run a bunch of games all at once. Or Game, encode a video while decoding another, with 8 or 50 IM and Browser windows open, etc etc etc...
  5. Thanks much for the feedback. I guess I'm a little surprised it is a HD issue - it only takes 10 or 15 seconds for the drive to copy 1gig of files - but it took 5+ minutes for iTunes to import them. Even once they were "imported" it took a minute or two to to convert and analize them.

    I originally purchase an SSD, but it has errors on install, so I just put everything on the 1Tb main drive. Never thought HD speed would be the limiting factor. Any other suggestions?

    LePhuronn - you mentioned "why 8GB on an i7? not using triple channel?" ... this is only my 2nd time building a PC so I'm not sure what that means. Should I have more or less? I believe I'm using "dual channel" ram - 4 sticks of 2gb each. Was that a mistake?

    Any other feedback in appreciated. I just wonder as to the value of buying the latest processor if other items are generally going to limit system performance.

  6. You've got 8 processing threads, 1 thread is about 13% of your cpu power. Most computer tasks only use 1 thread and won't even max that 1 thread out. That is why you've got such low processing power. Your memory isn't getting used up because programs only take so much memory and beyond that its multitasking. By the sounds of it you spent a fortune for an I7 rig when your limited multitasking could of been done with a C2D, and that's the truth for most computer users.
  7. Checked and I see that the tri-channel memory was better designed for the i7 CPU.

    The prices have come down so much in the last 3 weeks that I returned my 8gb of dual-channel and got 12gb of tri-channel for the same price!

    Thanks much for the tip!
  8. Yep - the i7 is designed to take tri channel memory - I'm running 12 gigs of Corsair Dominator DDR3-1600 on mine.
  9. Loneninja - good feedback, thanks. With everything being so cheap now, the entire system only cost me $1,600 and I'm running 6 companies from basically this one PC, so I didn't mind being a little wasteful to see what I could build without screwing it up too badly.

    Any way to get apps to use more than 1 processing thread?
  10. Nope - they have to be programmed to use more than one thread in order to do so.
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