How to Lower CPU Usage
Level of difficulty:
Taken in the premise that the computer system is free from any malicious applications like viruses, an excessively high usage of its processing power may be attributed to the different processes currently running in the machine. Under the Microsoft Windows platform, the Task Manager is normally used to monitor this value, in Linux, it is commonly the $ top (or vmstat 5) command, and the same applies for the Mac OS X using the terminal option. In Windows, simultaneously pressing the CTRL-ALT-DEL keys brings up the Task Manager, while the terminal window is accessible from the Applications and Utilities options of the Mac OS platform. In general, RAM is directly associated with the amount of CPU usage because it is used in controlling multi-tasking operations, so the more memory present in the machine, the less CPU usage and relatively lower computer lag there is.
- CPU-related utilities or Task Manager
- computer memory modules
- cooling fans
The most basic way to lower the usage of the processor (aside from adding RAM) is to terminate the process that is using most of the resources. For the Windows platform, it should be noted that the System Idle process which normally reflects 99 should not be terminated. Because compared with other processes, this reflects the system availability so the higher its value, the better.
One of the reasons why the processor is forced to work extra is the many plug-in modules loaded during the startup process of the machine. By suppressing the loading of seldom-used modules during boot-up, the less computing power is required to maintain system processes. This can be controlled either from the config.txt (by opening it using standard text editors) or msconfig tool (launching it from the run command window) depending on the Operating System.
Make sure that macro files associated with different software programs are optimized. This can be done directly from the application loading it. A macro that is not optimized will eat up unnecessary processing resource.
For the Windows environment, one possible cause of excessive processing resource usage is the consistency checking feature implemented for debugging purposes. To turn this feature off, open the 'Control Panel' and go to the 'Performance and Maintenance' option. Choose the 'System' icon which will open the 'System Properties' window. Click on the 'Advanced' tab and choose the 'Environment Variables' button. In the 'System Variables', click the 'New' button and type in the name 'NDEBUG' with a value of one. This may result in anywhere from 20 to 30 percent speed boost but will prevent the detection of possible programming flaws.
If the percentage of processor usage is still high, limit the number of background running processes like Java-based programs which are known to be resource hogs. Setting a lower priority for these processes in the Task Manager may also free some processing power.
When all else fails, you can download free utilities like the ProcessTamer or the ThreadMaster which allow the reduction of priority and maintaining reasonable processing usage levels in real time. To add memory modules or cooling fans, proceed to Step 7.
A contributory factor to the overworking of the processor is excessive heat generated by the system or inadequate memory modules. To install any of these components, unplug the machine and remove the screws to open the casing cover.
Check for free memory sockets that support additional modules. When installing memory modules; make sure that that the notch in the socket corresponds to the space on the module itself; otherwise, it may be damaged.
For cooling fans, normally, there are reserved bays where they must be installed. Position the cooling fan in such a way that the air is flowing towards the outside of the casing. Check for any indication arrows to make sure that it is the correct orientation. Secure the cooling fan with the accompanying screws and connect it to the power supply unit.
Close the casing cover and secure it with the screws. Plug it into the power outlet and start up the system. This should result not only to a cooler machine but also to a relatively lower processing power usage.