3 Replies Latest reply on May 29, 2013 4:25 PM by sylvia_intel

    Processor frequency verification


      I use a fairly tweaked out mobile workstation as a virtual machine lab.  It hosts Intel Quad-core i7 920XM Extreme Edition CPU @ 2.00GHz.  Recently I've noticed the laptop seems to be sluggishly slow. 


      I download the Intel Processor Identification Utility (PIDU) to verify the processor ID info and to get a real time (?) report at what speed the CPU frequencies were running.  When the PIDU completes, the frequency it reports on these 2.00GHz chips is only at 1.19GHz.


      Should I expect to see 2.00GHz or something at least in the 1.9X GHz range?


      I cleaned all the air flow vents, I insured the OS Power Management features were set a high, I booted to the BIOS and turned off SpeedStep.  I'm wondering what else I missed.  I contacted the laptop manufacturer and they said they don't honor diagnostic tools they didn't create and when I run the CPU tests from the laptop manufacturer, the tests simply say pass or fail and the CPUs passed without providing me any data as to what they were testing.


      My company paid a lot of money for this laptop for my lab, but I am currently not getting what was paid for.  If the CPUs are spec'd to run at 2.00GHz, but the PIDU says they are only running at 1.19GHz, what can I do to:


      a)  Find the cause

      b)  Repair/replace


      I have 3 months left on my warranty.


      Any suggestions appreciated.

        • 1. Re: Processor frequency verification


          Based on your processor specifications it was designed to run up to 3.2 GHz with Intel ® Turbo Boost Technology. If you are experiencing low speed or low performance on your processor, look on the BIOS for “Speed Step” or “Dynamic CPU frequency mode” and enable it.


          We suggest that you check with the laptop manufacturer for additional information.


          • 2. Re: Processor frequency verification

            Thank you for your thoughtful reply.  Part of the problem, I discovered, was due to many services and apps that the OS starts automatically at boot time.  I have that managed now and that did make a big difference.  I also, per your suggestion, re-enabled SpeedStep.  This brought to light something I had not realized I didn't understand -- the SpeedStep feature.  It seems that by disabling the SpeedStep feature in the BIOS, one forces the CPU to run at the lowest speed.  I thought it would be the opposite and the CPU would run at the highest frequency all the time.  My understanding was that SpeedStep would cut *back* the frequency if not needed rather than the other way around (which now that I think about it, makes more sense since the point is to ultimately conserve power and heat by running slower until needed).


            But what really has me thinking has more to do with the support stance of my vendor and how to work with them.  I did check with the vendor and they told me they won't accept the reports of any tool they did not create (or at least officially support).  The disappointing situation here is the only tool they do support does not actually report back values that can be saved/referenced.  They are simply pass/fail tests powered by PC-Doctor and my processor passes all of those as they are simply register, cache, SSE, prime number and floating point tests.


            So on the one hand, the CPU is likely the component that is least likely to fail in a laptop.  On the other hand, if the vendor cannot help me verify, what are my options?  Should I accept the results of the vendor's tests without question?  How does one insist on testing something the vendor is not prepared to test?  Or am I simply not understanding the purpose of the testing?   I admit I was focusing on the frequencies, but especially with SpeedStep, that seems to be dependent on what the CPU is being asked to do so this is probably not something to focus on.


            Just for curiosity, I re-ran some tests with the tools I downloaded after I managed the automated services that were starting.  I realized the PIDU tool I referenced above had not been consistent earlier -- reporting frequencies of .33GHz, 1.19GHz, and 2.26GHz -- but is now consistently reporting 2.26 GHz.  When using other tools like CPU-Z, I was getting reports which although they fluctuated between just < 2000 MHz and just >3000 MHz, they remained consistently in that range.  For example, see the output of one of the recent CPU-Z reports and compare it to another.  They both clearly show the frequency @ > 3000 MHz.  What I'm wondering is with SpeedStep doing its job of dynamically fluctuating between frequencies, how can one actually tell if there is something functioning questionably?


            The side concern I have in all this is I have been wondering about excessive heat.  Although the laptop sits on a cooling mat with two fans running whenever the laptop is powered on, I still suspect heat might be affecting the performance.  I have not modified the hardware for overclocking so everything is running essentially as it came from the vendor (except I added RAM).  I will contact the vendor for their cooling recommendations.  The laptop design essentially intakes air from the bottom and outputs it to the rear of the chassis.  Do you have any suggestions on how to facilitate cooling other than, say, lowering the air temperature of the entire room (which is an option in my small office lab if I use a floor standing unit)?


            Again, thanks for your reply.

            • 3. Re: Processor frequency verification

              Hello Vpic,


              In this case the options you have will be the ones offered by the OEM.

              If you are not satisfied with the performance of your laptop and the support received from the vendor, you may want to consider deal with another vendor.




              Sylvia L