PC Performance May Not be What is Advertised – Welcome to Performance Throttling

  • Comments: 13
  • Written on: December 5th, 2009

Intel Core 2 DuoHave you ever wondered if your computer is giving you the actual speed and quickness that was advertised when you originally bought it?

In modern computers the advertised speed should really be considered the “up to” speed because few if any of the computers in the marketplace are actually giving you the advertised speed ratings – especially when they are being stressed with a difficult or time consuming task

What is PC Component Throttling?

It’s pretty easy to make PC component throttling sound more sinister than it is.  The bottom line is that your computer is engineered to protect its self.

Its pretty much common knowledge that many PC BIOS chips today will adjust fan speed to match the heat being generated by the processor.  This keeps the CPU cool under stress and prevents it from burning itself up.

The idea behind the technology (called SpeedStep in Intel based systems and Cool and Quiet in AMD based systems) is that to reduce the speed of the components in the computer to reduce heat when the fans are working at 100% and you are doing a really intense task like rendering video, playing a high-end game, or editing 50 high-resolution images in Photoshop at one time like my wife does.

If your computer is cooling at its maximum and that’s not enough, it will drop the speed until the temperature falls back to normal levels.

Why You Want / Don’t Want It

Views on PC Component throttling generally fall into two camps – high-performance junkies hate it because if it gets too hot they will just install more / better fans.

Average Joe users love it because there is literally no risk or burning up a processor or a motherboard because the computer was working too hard.

Throttling comes in extremely handy when dealing with notebook computers.  Notebook computers throttle performance for heat management like desktops, but also for power consumption.

Have you ever noticed that more of your CD burns fail when you are on battery?  Have you noticed that the speed of your computer drops by about 15% when you yank out that AC adapter?  These are al measures to save battery power.

How to Throttle Your Computer to Maximum Speed

If you are a performance junkie and you want to punch your computer’s potential speed through the roof it’s pretty easy to do.


These instructions involve editing your BIOS settings.  The layout and available options contained within your BIOS< as well as the method of entering the BIOS will differ depending on the brand of computer you are using.  Please don’t change these settings on a notebook or laptop computer, and only change them on a desktop PC if you are confident you have proper cooling.  Failure to adhere to these warnings could result in permanent component damage to your system.

  1. To boost your computer’s speed, enter into the BIOS.  This is typically accomplished by pressing F2, F10, or the DEL key on your keyboard as the computer is booting.
  2. Next locate the SteedStep or Cool and Quiet options in the BIOS (Typically under power management)
  3. Turn off Cool and Quiet (AMD processors) or SpeedStep (Intel Processors)
  4. If your board supports this, set your maximum CPU temperature to no more than 125 degrees.  Anything hotter than this will almost certainly damage your processor.  This acts like a partial safeguard against component damage.
  1. emergency cash said on December 6th, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Very informative post. I would love to see this in a step by step video format so that I don’t screw up.

  2. Cancer Hospital said on December 7th, 2009 at 6:08 am

    Automatic adjustment of fan according to requirement of processor quite remarkable thing, as you written its helpful in heat management as well in power consumption absolutely useful. sure once want to try out. thx for such useful and giving clever item,

  3. free beats said on December 8th, 2009 at 7:06 am

    Very informative post.

  4. Thor said on December 8th, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    LOL, I’m not that much of a performance junkie because I use a laptop as a primary computer.

    Might be tough to do a video though because every computer’s BIOS is different

  5. Dallas web site design said on December 9th, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    My work phone is a (Sprint) Sanyo Pro 700 cell keep asking if I want to launch a data connection? thanks…

  6. cash back cards said on December 12th, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Good information, but I am not into that much of a performance nut…though, maybe 10 years ago when I was in high school/college playing all my computers games I had to have top performance. Strictly business these days it seems.

    Thanks for the quality post!

  7. Teknoloji haberleri said on December 13th, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Very informative article.

  8. gry planszowe said on December 17th, 2009 at 10:51 am

    quite good article but I wouldn;t agree with the temperature. 125 degrees is too much. I heard that procesor can resist to 100 degrees so the save maximum limit will be 90 degrees.

  9. Portable Defibrillator said on December 28th, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Very informative post.

  10. Link Wheel said on January 1st, 2010 at 5:23 am

    I do fairly regular checks on my PC and it is never as fast as the specs claim.

  11. Baby gate stairs said on March 15th, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    You should be able to remove it in the bios, but then the cpu will be running really hot and your battery will drain down FAST.

  12. Web Yazilim said on April 19th, 2010 at 9:36 am

    Wow Thor… Didn’t know that there is such a problem on computers. Thanks for the informative post :O

  13. Diamond plate sheets said on May 3rd, 2010 at 3:44 am

    Might be tough to do a video though because every computer’s BIOS is different

What do you think? Join the discussion...

How do I change my avatar?

Go to gravatar.com and upload your preferred avatar.

Subscribe to My RSS Feed

Subscribe Form Click to Subscribe or

      TwitterCounter for @thorschrock

Ed Wunder Loves Schrock's Service

Popular Posts

Top Commentators

Schrock Innovations' New Ride

Revolution Wraps Rocks!

Geek Squad Hires Anyone!

Other Recent Videos

We're on the Morning Blend answering your Lincoln Nebraska computer repair questions regarding warranties

Need your computer repaired in Omaha? If you're never visited Schrock Innovations before (1st time client), stop by for a FREE hour of repair

Our Open Adoption

    Kim and I are seeking to adopt another child through Open Adoption. If you know of a birth mother seeking a stable, loving family in Nebraska, please direct her to our website at nebraskaopenadoption.com.

Thor's Sponsors

© Thor Schrock 2009