Why won’t the CPU operate at its max potential even when the application (which utilize CPU’s resources) is lagging


Why does my CPU never max out even when my application, which eats up 40% of the CPU (but 30 – 40 % of the CPU still stays idle), being laggy?

Does that mean:

  1. There's a way to force the CPU to run at 100%
  2. CPUs are manufactured that way and the only thing I can do is purchase new hardware.
  3. The limitation lies with the application and the lag won't improve even with better CPU. (Assuming that the application is perfect, what I'm asking is whether software run that way?)
  4. Something else.

Best Answer

You're probably running single-threaded applications which can only max out a single CPU core. Since 100% of one core is less than 100% of the capacity of multi-core CPU, total CPU utilization doesn't reach 100%.

You can confirm this by viewing the individual core utilization in Task Manager. Look for single cores that are approaching max utilization.