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I've got a Dell Inspiron 11, model 3147, with a Pentium N3540 2.16GHz processor.

I've noticed that when I chose the "high performance" power plan (at Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Power Options), the CPU will immediately go to 100% usage in task manager, and 125% usage in resource monitor. If I change it to "balanced," it will immediately go back down to below 50%. This happens when I have nothing running except task manager and resource monitor.

When at 100% CPU usage, the processes consuming max CPU don't seem to make any sense. For instance, task manager itself will sometimes show as consuming over 50% CPU.

I have run a scan with Windows Defender and didn't find any malware.

The computer seems responsive despite showing 100% CPU usage.

Is it expected that a Pentium N3450 will run at 100% CPU when in "high performance" mode? Or is there a problem with my laptop?

Below is a screengrab of task manager showing 100% CPU usage.

Task manager showing 100% CPU usage

  • Sounds more like you're seeing the CPU frequency staying at "100%", maybe a weird hardware setup, bug, etc? – Xen2050 Feb 15 '16 at 13:07
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    install the WPT (part of the Win10 SDK: dev.windows.com/en-us/downloads/windows-10-sdk), run WPRUI.exe, select first level and under resource CPU usage. Now click on start, capture 1 minute of the CPU usage. Now compress the larger ETL file as 7z/RAR, upload it to OneDrive, create a share link and post the link here. I'll see analyze it and look why DWM and system cause such a high CPU usage – magicandre1981 Feb 15 '16 at 17:21
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This is almost certainly a BIOS bug. Update your BIOS as per:

http://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/19/Drivers/DriversDetails?driverId=YX229&fileId=3515550923&osCode=WT64A&productCode=inspiron-11-3147-laptop&languageCode=en&categoryId=BI

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