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Why can i not use more than 15% of my cpu?

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  • CPUs
  • ATI
Last response: in CPUs
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June 1, 2010 10:13:35 AM

OK I so my computer.

Windows 7
i7 920 on
ASUS Rampage II Gene
6gig ram
ATI Radeon 4850 (PCIE)

I'm a gamer & my comp runs everything very nicely in max detail. Except Crysis.

Well DUH! you might say.

So I tired over-clocking my cpu to 3.5ghz & I over-clocked my ATI using powerstrip (because i didnt know how else to do it).

Result No change.

Then I noticed my cpu usage never realy go's past 12%.

Here is what ive taken in to consideration so far.

1. ATI cards cant do Physics because of NVIDIA disabling the physix engine when ATI cards are present.

- Shouldn't my CPU be getting used a lot more then? If there is no GPU for Physics it falls back on the CPU.

2. I saw some other comments about ASUS cool & Quiet. I dont have it installed.


I ran 3d programs in software mode & they run really slow eg Quake 2 benchmark & TripX3. Of course they should run slow with no 3D hardware enabled but my cpu usage is still sitting on 12% to 15%.

My quake 2 demo test in software mode is still impressive at 280.4fps @ 640x480 windowed mode. But it should be faster & use more CPU.

I tried opening several games & had them all running at the same time each in windowed mode max res & detail. They all run fine but still only 12% CPU.

Can anyone tell me why my CPU wont go over 12 to 15% no matter what I do?

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June 1, 2010 10:29:45 AM

keneticist said:
OK I so my computer.

Windows 7
i7 920 on
ASUS Rampage II Gene
6gig ram
ATI Radeon 4850 (PCIE)

I'm a gamer & my comp runs everything very nicely in max detail. Except Crysis.

Well DUH! you might say.

So I tired over-clocking my cpu to 3.5ghz & I over-clocked my ATI using powerstrip (because i didnt know how else to do it).

Result No change.

Then I noticed my cpu usage never realy go's past 12%.

Here is what ive taken in to consideration so far.

1. ATI cards cant do Physics because of NVIDIA disabling the physix engine when ATI cards are present.

- Shouldn't my CPU be getting used a lot more then? If there is no GPU for Physics it falls back on the CPU.

2. I saw some other comments about ASUS cool & Quiet. I dont have it installed.


I ran 3d programs in software mode & they run really slow eg Quake 2 benchmark & TripX3. Of course they should run slow with no 3D hardware enabled but my cpu usage is still sitting on 12% to 15%.

My quake 2 demo test in software mode is still impressive at 280.4fps @ 640x480 windowed mode. But it should be faster & use more CPU.

I tried opening several games & had them all running at the same time each in windowed mode max res & detail. They all run fine but still only 12% CPU.

Can anyone tell me why my CPU wont go over 12 to 15% no matter what I do?


If you're talking about Crysis, it doesn't support or have PhysX features. Otherwise it'd be disabled unless you enable it to be done by the CPU. As for your older games, they aren't designed to use the virtual threads Hyper-Threading offers, or more than one core. You have four real cores and four virtual cores, those games only use one real core which is 1/8 of the total power available, which is approx 12% - 15%. Apparently Windows Scheduler forces applications or something like that to just use one core, unless the program itself is multi-threaded.

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June 1, 2010 1:16:42 PM

Lmeow is right!
your tests are based on single threads. Try with crisystool or resident evil 5 test for example.
your machine have 8 virtual cores, then when you uses one of them, just use:
8 cores ---- 100%
1 core ----- x= 100/8=12.5%
2 core ----- x= 100*2/8=25%
.....

In crisys if you play at very hight setting you bottleneck is your graphic card not your cpu. upgrade to 5850, your pc will be more balanced.

sory my english, it is not my lenguaje
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June 1, 2010 1:22:14 PM

Lmeow said:
If you're talking about Crysis, it doesn't support or have PhysX features. Otherwise it'd be disabled unless you enable it to be done by the CPU. As for your older games, they aren't designed to use the virtual threads Hyper-Threading offers, or more than one core. You have four real cores and four virtual cores, those games only use one real core which is 1/8 of the total power available, which is approx 12% - 15%. Apparently Windows Scheduler forces applications or something like that to just use one core, unless the program itself is multi-threaded.



You mean one fourth of the processing power available, right?

Hyperthreading means that the CPU has two architectural states per execution core - that is why windows recognises two logical cores when hyperthreading is enabled.
Hyperthreading means that when one of the logical cores cannot fully utilize the resources of the physical core (for example, it may be stalled due to a cache miss), the other logical core can use those resources to execute another task.

The theoretical maximum performance is the same with or without HT, but in real world applications HP may increase the performance mainly because the CPU will be less affected by stalling.

To simplify:
You have two logical cores executing one task each and sharing one physical core. While one of the logical cores is waiting for the rest of the system (for example getting instructions from the main memory), the other can use the physical core whilst the other is waiting.

Imagine Danny DeVito and Michael Jordan baking using the same oven. DeVito is baking small cookies, Jordan cakes. Once in a while Tom Cruise dances in with ingredients for the cookies and Eddie Murphy gets the stuff needed for the cakes.
Now DeVito is greedy and will not let jordan use the oven, but once in a while Tom will drop the flour on the floor or forget something. So while Mr. Cruise, AKA the couch jumper, is off replacing the flour, Jordan can use the oven as DeVito has nothing to bake with!

hmmm...I can see a new idea for a reality show here...

Don't know if this made any sense. In any case, if only one thread is executed, the logical core will have the all resources of the physical core available - doesn't matter if HT is enabled or not!

Many seem to be a bit confused when it comes to HT - it is not even close to as good as two physical cores.


Edit: I reread your post, and I guess you are only speaking about what's shown in the task manager.
My point was to how much of the CPUS processing power is really used.

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June 15, 2010 8:31:13 PM

So I have an awesome cpu with multiple cores but none of the software is written with the capability to use more than 1 or 2 is that right?

I ran another program that stress test the SPU and it tells me it's using 100% cpu while its doing it's test.

Shouldn't windows be able to pass instructions from the software to multiple cores when the application can not do it itself?

And whats the point of having multiple cores if no software can use it?
Doesn't that defeat the purpose of buying the a new CPU?

PS - Love the analogy COBOT :) 
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June 16, 2010 10:57:43 AM

keneticist said:
So I have an awesome cpu with multiple cores but none of the software is written with the capability to use more than 1 or 2 is that right?

I ran another program that stress test the SPU and it tells me it's using 100% cpu while its doing it's test.

Shouldn't windows be able to pass instructions from the software to multiple cores when the application can not do it itself?

And whats the point of having multiple cores if no software can use it?
Doesn't that defeat the purpose of buying the a new CPU?

PS - Love the analogy COBOT :) 



Well, for some software and games, that is true.

But for most new games, this has now changed to the point where they all use two or even more cores.
Some new games will even have trouble running on single core systems.

The problem is when the software is not made for parallel thread execution. The software will actually be progammed in the way that it takes into account that there is only one active theard at any one time. That for example means that it will prioritize the important stuff. If you then start to force certain processes onto other cores, that will cause chaos as the program can no longer run as intented.

Another anology for you:

Imagine someone jugglig with 20 orange, furry balls. Then suddenly two other people start grabbing some random balls, juggles for a while and then throws them back to the first juggler.

The first juggler is gonna think "-What the heck?", get confused and drop the balls.


Don't worry, the i7 is great and now most new programes do utilize more than one core.

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June 16, 2010 1:04:50 PM

Best answer selected by keneticist.
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June 16, 2010 1:06:07 PM

Cool thanx CBOT I like your style.
Hope the reality TV show works out for you.
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