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My Turbo Boost Is Not Working…

Headline: If you are using PassMark PerformanceTest to test your i7 processor with Turbo Boost, make sure you have the latest version of their software. A bug in versions prior to build 1016 would cause Turbo Boost to stop working once you launched PerformanceTest (at least on a 64-bit machine).

Strange but true story… I had some slowness (I thought) on some tasks on my machine, so I ran Performance Test to see what the performance was. I was shocked at how slow it was and that Turbo Boost never would kick in.

I downloaded the Intel Turbo Boost Technology Monitor (a Windows Desktop Gadget) to see what was happening. It would not install stating that I  had to have a processor that supported Turbo Boost. What? My processor does. And, Turbo Boost is turned on in my BIOS. Hmmm… what now. I don’t really know what might have been different, but I reset the BIOS (except for the boot order) and the install worked fine. Here’s an image of the Gadget:


A nice little gadget where the bottom (no blue indicator) is the 2.13 GHz of my processor or below, and then it goes up from there once Turbo Boost kicks in going up to 3.33 GHz.

So now I run Performance Test again… Turbo Boost would never kick in. I shut my machine down and went to work. I watched my machine kick into high gear every time I would kick off a build… I when home, decided to test it a bit more with Performance Test. Tests were still slow… I went to dinner. Now when I came back, my builds would never cause Turbo Boost to engage… And they were noticeably slower. Hmmm… It worked all day… Is it hotter here at the house? (So that the TDP (Thermal Design Point) was exceeded which would prevent the Turbo from kicking in.) Were my settings in the docking station different? What I on some power plan that would limit the CPU? Did I have a faulty CPU?

No… I rebooted… it worked fine. I ran Performance Test… it would not work….

It turns out that there was in issue with Performance Test that was fixed in their 1016 build in Jun that would prevent the proper testing of certain Turbo Boost CPUs. One of the side effects of that was that Turbo Boost would be disabled the minute you started PerformanceTest. You don’t even need to run any tests.

So. Now that I have the right version, my performance tests show the machine is doing fine. And more importantly, tasks that need extra power – like running a build – are much faster!

I’m a much happier now with my Dell Precision M4500. Reasonably cool when I’m just typing… Can instantly shift to high gear when I need serious work done.

I’m thankful to Dell engineers that stuck with me on support and didn’t treat my like I was some sort of idiot.


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