Understanding the Centrino Duo

Understanding the Centrino Duo

Hey everyone,

First of all, I want to apologize if my post is in the wrong section. I did my best!

Okay, here's what's going on. Here are the specs that I can provide you with:
Windows Vista Ultimate (32-bit) (ACPI x86-based PC)
HP Pavilion dv6000 (HP Pavilion dv6375us Notebook PC)
Intel Centrino Duo (Intel Core 2 | T7200 | 2.00 GHz | Version: 6.0.6000.16386)
Nvidia GeForce Go 7400 (Version:

I sometimes have problems with my laptop going slowish, or not as fast as I want it to go, anyways. I switched from another laptop, and I do not have to tell you the specs of it to tell you that it is definately not as good as this one. I play a game called "SecondLife" which I can assure you uses a lot of resources, especially at a high graphics setting. I lowered the graphics to what I think is actually very low, but no matter what I do, I still can not reach a good FPS in that game, as others with Nvidia graphics cards do. Along with that, if I have SecondLife (SL) open as well as iTunes (Maximized or Minimized) while playing music, the music becomes choppy. I figured at first it was because of the RAM, so I went and altered the page file size and set it to the max.. didn't do anything for the music or better yet even for my computer.

I recently downloaded a program from MajorGeeks.com called "CPU-Control." It supposedly let's you alter what processes use what Processor. You can set everything to use one, everything to use the other, alternate (each new processes uses the alternate processor), choose which programs use which processor, or turn the controller off. I opened it, and looked at it a bit.. it's a very simple program. I attempted to choose the manual method, which in the screenshot on thier website, depicts a user with the same screen I saw, except they had two boxes, one for Processor 1, and the other for Processor 2. When I tried, though, nothing showed up. This got me to thinking that I may only have one processor, or that only one processor is in use! I read up on many sites through Google to make sure that the sticker on my laptop, saying "Intel Centrino Duo" actually means that I have 2 processors.

What I read pretty much said that I do not have two processors, per-se. From what I understand, I have 1 processor, but it's split into two parts, or something... that there is a difference between a Duo Processor, and actually having 2 processors. As I was gathering the specs above, I wen't into my Computer Managment to check the exact specs of the processor. I noticed that when I expanded the Processors section, it displayed 2 processors. Now I am REALLY confused.

Do I have 2 processors?
Why does the CPU-Control not work for me?
Are there any other programs or methods that I can use to distrubute or monitor the use of the processor(s)?

Thank you in advance.
- Pooptart

Sources Mentioned:
CPU-Control Website
The Difference Between...
SecondLife Graphi
cs Card Performance Comparison Chart

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Dual core is not 2 processors by Intel terminology, but the web site you showed indicates CPU-control is meant to work with dual core. With dual core, you have many of the resources of 2 complete processors, but the cores share a single L2 cache and memory bus.
You may want to watch your Windows Task Manager performance graphs, to see if CPU-control is successful in making your most important task stay on one core, rather than switching rapidly between cores, so that each core runs below 50% utilization. If you have enabled only one core, either by BIOS or boot.ini NCPU switch, you will see only a single performance graph.
Yes, there are other performance monitors which might be relevant, such as Windows Perfmon.

The T7200 is a single processor with two cores inside. What this means is that there is a single chip plugged into the motherboard however inside of that chip there are two processor "engines" running. As the last post indicated, these two "engines" share a common bus and a cache but otherwise they operate independently of each other. To double check that both are working, bring up the "Windows Task Manager" (Ctrl-Shift-Escshould bring it up) and ensure that when the "Performance" tab is showing that it shows two graphs labeled "CPU Usage History". If there is just one graph, then somehow one of them is disabled and you need to check with HP on how to enable it again.

I've not used CPU-Control and recommend that you not try to adjust the CPU load manually. Windows does a very good job on its own. Use the "Windows Task Manager" to determine if the CPU load is hitting 100% for both cores.

From what you've described it looks like you have a very graphics intensive application running on a laptop. You need to optimize how the application uses the video features of your laptop and ensure that some of the power saving features are adjusted for best performance. Here is what I would do:

  • In the control panel "Power Options", change the settings to "High Performance". Note that this will give you less battery life than the other options. The laptop processors have the ability to run at lower frequencies when needed to minimize power use at the cost of performance. Windows should automatically kick this up to a higher frequency when needed but just to be sure, "High Performance" forces it to run at a higher frequency all the time.
  • Make sure you have the latest video drivers from NVidea for your NVidia video card. Don't use the drivers from Microsoft.
  • In the control panel Personalization "Display Settings"make sure that hardware acceleration is turned on. I'm not personally familiar with the options of the NVidea 7400 card but generallythere is a slider control that allows various degrees of hardware acceleration. Turn it on as much as you can. By doing this you allow the video card to do more of the processing freeing up the CPU to do other things, like play your music.
  • You didn't say how much video memory yourNVidia 7400 cardhas. 2nd Life is very demanding and can benefit from lots of video memory. Add more if you can.

Hope this helps. Enjoy!

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