I have an HP desktop with an AMD Phenom II X4 910 CPU and for some reason, the CPU desktop gadget keeps showing the CPU throttling down to 1898ish, 1378ish, and 780ish MHz when booting up, performing tasks, idling, etc. I've cleaned the dust out of my case/heat sinks and my CPU temp hasn't gone above 60C.
Also, it consistently uses 9-15% usage when just having Firefox open (probably a separate issue); I only notice this because I have a notebook with an i7-2670QM that shows only 1-3% overall CPU usage with iTunes, Windows Live Mail, and Firefox open (both computers would have the same tabs open in Firefox for the sake of consistency). I know my notebook's CPU is a bit nicer than my desktop, so I figure the usage is due to that, but I don't remember my desktop's "idle" usage being this high (only processes showing usage are firefox.exe - 9 to 15%, sidebar.exe - 2%, and dwm.exe - 1%).
Is this something the BIOS is doing and should/could I fix it by controlling it with overclocking software? This is just an HP desktop I bought from Best Buy years ago, but I want it in good working order.
This what it is supposed to do and yes it is a combination of multiple BIOS settings. If you were to open a very CPU intensive program (like benchmarking software) You would see the frequency jump right up to the full 2600Mhz. The purpose of these settings are to reduce unnecessary voltage consumption/heat generation by the CPU in low usage situations.
@DJDeCiBeL That is what he is looking for! He probably is on 'Balance Mode' in Windows, so that throttles the cpu speed at the computer's whelm. Your computer then can have a hard time judging when it should throttle at it's max, thus the cpu speed bouncing around and causing your sluggishness. Control Panel - Power Options & then switch it to High Performance mode. That way your cpu's max clock speed is always set... to the max.