Why is my Intel Core i3 540 @3.04 Ghz SO SLOW!!

I have a Intel Core i3 540 @3.04 Ghz in my system at the moment, and just to let you guys know i have 10gb RAM, and a 1gb xfx hd radeon 6870 GPU, and a 750W PSU. But recently my computer has been running soooo slow and i wanted to check my CPU core speed so i downloaded CPU-Z which tells me my core speed and it says i have 1204 Mhz which is only 1.2 Ghz when it says i can have 3.04 Ghz why is this? if you can help that would be great thanks.
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  1. When there is little work to do, the cpu will downclock itself to save energy and heat.

    Run prime95, and you should see all cores running at the max multiplier.

    As to running slow:

    1) Check that you do not have a virus or other malware running.
    2) Check your temperatures for cpu and gpu. If they get too hot, they will downclock to protect themselves.
    3) Do you have enough ram? 4gb at least. If you are a heavy multitasker, you might need more to prevent conflicts with games.
  2. two reasons: heat: check by core temp program or any cpu heat monitor
    If heat not problem then virus
    Run superantispyware: if threats found: run malwarebytes: if threats found: run avast antivirus. Report back.
  3. Intel® Speedstep® will slow the processor down when at idle to save on power and heat but I thought that it was set for 1.6GHz on the 1st generation
    Intel Core™ processors. I agree with Geofelt and decoded33 on the paths to follow.

    Christian Wood
    Intel Enthusiast Team
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