I have a question about the graph of CPU utilization in the Task Manager's performance tab. What does, for example, 25% 1.8 GHz mean? What is the scaling for the percentage? If there is a thermal throttle occurring, is the percentage over the available power or the maximum possible power? Is turbo boost taken into account?

Thank you.

  • The percentage is usage, not scaling. Note that the usage is always a percentage of the current freq, not the total unscaled capacity. Scaling however is measured as a Multiplier. most CPUs are 100 or 166MHz, but use a clock modifier to perform multiple tasks per cycle. a 3.8GHz chip is usually a 100Mhz chip that performs 38 tasks per cycle, and is said to be running at x38. Multicore processors can even use fractional modifiers like x24.6. You can use CoreTemp or a number of other utils to view your current clock modifier. turbo boost is just a bigger multiplier. Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 5:53

1 Answer 1


It is simply the resource usage percentage out of hundred. It is not related to scaling.

1.8 GHz is your processor frequency. Read the values in task manager to know more. Below the graph everything is given in detail. (Total capacity as well as the current usage).

  • Below the graph, it says, for example, maximum speed 2.40 GHz, while utilization is 12% with speed 2.57 GHz. In this case, it's not clear to me that 12% of the maximum speed. What is utilization based on? What is the percentage over? Thank you.
    – Ovl0422
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 14:31
  • So your cup is working on it's maximum speed which is good. Here 12% means current usage it is based on number of running processes and tasks. In very simple words it is the load on your CPU. Which is normal at 12% but if it goes above 76% your PC may lag. And the value in GHz is the speed or frequency of your cpu. Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 14:49
  • It seems to me that 2.57 GHz has nothing to do with 12%, doesn't it? Is 12% of 2.40 GHz the actual speed, but then how about 2.57 GHz? Thank you.
    – Ovl0422
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 15:08
  • 12% is utilization and the 2.40 GHz is speed these both are different things. 2.57 GHz is possible if you have enabled overclocking or something like that to run a program or game. Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 15:23
  • 2
    Note, Utilization is always a percentage of the CURRENT frequency. There is no awareness of the "maximum". if the current load is 200Mhz, which is 20 percent of the CPU when it is scaled down to 1Ghz, it will read 20%. if however the processor then scales up to 1.6Ghz, but the utilization is still 200Mhz, the utilization percentage will fall to 12.5% even though the CPU is doing the exact same amount of work. Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 17:08

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