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robdamel's avatar

Notebook gaming: How can I lower CPU usage?

Asked by robdamel (791points) June 1st, 2011

Okay, this is the notebook I have:

-1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Solo ULV SU3500 processor
-11.6-inch HD widescreen
-2GB of DDR2 Dual-Channel 667MHz memory

But instead of the stock vista, I have windows 7 Ultimate. On idle, my cpu is 5–10%, and for internet surfing it stays around 20–30%. But usually, when i click to open a program or file, the cpu flashes 100%, and fluctuates between 60–80% before settling back down to the lower levels.

Its the only computer I got and I really feel like gaming, and so lately I’ve been installing old time rpgs like Diablo 2, and Baldurs gate 1 and 2 (Baldurs Gate tutu right now).

Baldurs gate 2 has good performance, but when i check the cpu usage during game play it doesn´t budge from 100%. Its a constant 100% and during gameplay my mouse icon flickers once in a while. Game speed is fine, the game seems to play well, but knowing that my CPU is at a solid 100% really bugs me, and thats with GAME BOOSTER stopping many of the background processes.

So the question- How can I lower my cpu usage for such simple old time games?

I´ve done the following:
– used programs like Ccleaner and Utilities 2011 to completely clean and care for my computer.
– Disabled Aero and most of the visual features of windows.
– Used Game booster
– cleaned the Desktop
– Uninstalled many useless programs
-defragmented Harddrive

Should I downgrade from windows ultimate somehow? And if so, whats the best OS?

I still don’t believe the problem is my processor, simply because these games are so old!

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6 Answers

Lightlyseared's avatar

Games, even very old games, can be very CPU heavy. Your CPU only has one core to run everything, is an ultra low voltage model and is running at a pretty low clock speed on so I’m not surprised it’s running flat out. Having said that if it’s running the games you want with out any problems I really wouldn’t worry about it. CPU’s can happily run at 100% so long as they are cool sufficiently and that model is designed not to produce much heat anyway. As long as you’re having regular breaks where you stop gaming you should be fine.

robdamel's avatar

@Lightlyseared Thanks for the answer, appreciated.

PhiNotPi's avatar

There is nothing wrong with the CPU at 100%. All that shows is that the CPU is utilizing is full potential. Even though programs don’t need that much CPU power to run, some will happily use any extra power they can. Any program that tries to prefect or speed up its operation, such as simulations that try to run as fast as possible and game AI’s that try to think as hard as possible, will usually use up as much CPU power as allowed.

robdamel's avatar

Oh okay, I had no idea. I thought CPU at 100% meant the computer would soon explode.

jerv's avatar

The CPU at 100% generates heat and drains batteries, but won’t cause any damage… as long as your heat sinks are not clogged with lint and you don’t block the air vents.

Thammuz's avatar

Baldur’s gate 1 and 2 were games designed with an incredible level of scalability in mind, to fit any kind of configuration, including configurations that didn’t exist/were not very common back then.

It’s highly likely you could actually cut off percentage points by scaling down some processor heavy settings, like pathfinding nodes and such, in the game’s configuration tool.

Also remember that games back then didn’t rely as much on graphics cards as they do now, so most of the work fell on the processor, like with flash games and videos today.

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