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Welcome to the Speedstep FAQ!


  1. What is Intel® SpeedStep™ Technology?
  2. What are the system requirements for SpeedStep™ technology?
  3. What operating system supports SpeedStep™ technology?
  4. What is the difference between SpeedStep technology and Enhanced SpeedStep technology?
  5. Which Dell notebooks have SpeedStep technology?
  6. SpeedStep does not function properly on my I8k. I must reboot the system to see changes of the processor speed, while it should change on the fly.
  7. Turning off SpeedStep in the BIOS seems to have no effect whatsoever upon the machine's ability to change the CPU rate. How do you disable SpeedStep. I am using WinXP.
  8. I just purchased a notebook computer with a 2.0 GHz processor but the speed is listed at 1.2 GHz. And at one point it said it was running at 777 GHz. Why is the speed of the system fluctuating this way?
  9. How can I tell what mode SpeedStep is running in?
  10. Does the mobile Intel® Celeron® processor have the Intel SpeedStep technology feature?
  11. What effect do the different power profiles in WinXP have on speedstep?
  12. What Intel processors have speedstep?
  13. For Mobile Intel Pentium Processors, how much power savings is there between maximum and battery optimized mode?.
  14. How can I determining if Intel SpeedStep technology is working with Windows XP?
  15. I have heard some talk of a program called SpeedSwitchXP. What is this?
  16. My battery doesn't last very long. What can I change in WinXP to make the battery last longer?
  17. When I change from AC to DC power or DC power to AC, the operating speed of my notebook computer does not change. How do I fix this?

SpeedStep Bug Section - This section will contain known bugs with SpeedStep Technology.

Speed Step Fix Section - Microsoft SpeedStep Fix for WinXP for Dell Notebooks


1 Q: Intel® SpeedStep™ Technology?

A: Intel® Mobile Pentium® Processors with Intel® SpeedStep™ technology let you customize high performance computing on your mobile PC. When the notebook computer is connected to the AC outlet, the new mobile PC runs applications with speed virtually identical to a desktop system. When powered by a battery, the processor drops to a lower frequency (by changing the bus ratios) and voltage, conserving battery life while maintaining a high level of performance. Manual override lets you boost the frequency back to the high frequency when on battery, allowing you to customize performance.

By default, when the notebook computer is plugged in to the AC power, the processor will run in Maximum Performance mode and when it is running from the battery, the notebook will run in Battery Optimized Performance mode. If you wish to override this option and have it run at maximum performance at all times even when plugged into the battery, change both options to maximum Performance.

There are two performance modes offered, Maximum Performance and Battery Optimized Performance. Maximum Performance mode provides near desktop performance and Battery Optimized Performance mode provides the best balance between performance and battery life and operates at a lower frequency.

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2 Q: What are the system requirements for SpeedStep™ technology?

A: The system must have the following:

  1. Mobile Pentium processor with Intel SpeedStep™ technology.
  2. A chipset, BIOS, voltage regulator and operating system that supports Intel SpeedStep™ technology.
  3. Intel SpeedStep™ technology driver.
  4. An operating system that supports SpeedStep™ technology.
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3 Q: What operating system supports SpeedStep™ technology?

A: Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT4, Windows 2000 and Windows XP all support it. With the exception of Windows XP, you will need to load a driver in order to use SpeedStep.

To determine if the driver is loaded, first look in the notification area in Windows taskbar. You should see icon of a flag. If not, go into the power applet of the Control Panel and see if there is a tab for Intel SpeedStep technology. If the icons of the flag do not show in either place, the driver is not running and it is probably not loaded. Note: Since Windows XP has the Intel SpeedStep technology driver built into Windows, you will not see an icon on the taskbar and you will not see a tab for Intel SpeedStep technology using the power applet located in the Control Panel.

SpeedStep

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4 Q: What is the difference between SpeedStep technology and Enhanced SpeedStep technology?
A: Enhanced SpeedStep is a more aggressive and dynamic version of SpeedStep and automatically switches between maximum performance mode and battery-optimized mode, depending on the needs of the application being run. The previous version of SpeedStep only went into power conservation mode when the notebook was unplugged from a power outlet.
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5 Q: Which Dell notebooks have SpeedStep technology?

A: The following notebook computers do not have SpeedStep technology:

Latitude CPxH, CPTv, CP, CPiD, CPia, CPiR, CPTc, CS R, CSx
Inspiron 3000, 3200, 3500, 7000

The following notebook computers have SpeedStep technology:

Latitude CPxJ, CPTs, C500, C600, C510(PIII only), C610(PIII only), C800(PIII only), C810, LS, L400, v700(PIII only), v710(PIII only), v740

Inspiron 2000, 2100, 2500(PIII only), 2600(PIII only), 2650, 3700, 3800, 4000, 5000, 5000e, 7500 (PIII only), 8000(PIII only), 8100

NOTE: The Inspiron 4000 and 8000 computers do not provide support for the Intel software applet in Windows®, but it does have a battery optimized mode and a performance mode setting in the BIOS.

The following computers have Enhanced SpeedStep technology:

Latitude X200, C640, C840
Inspiron 4100 (PIII only), 4150, 8200

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6 Q: SpeedStep does not function properly on my I8k. I must reboot the system to see changes of the processor speed, while it should change on the fly.
A: SpeedStep is not a capability of the Inspiron 8000. It instead uses a stepping down of the processor when the system is running on battery. In order to step the system down, the system must either be rebooted or enter a power management mode to re-enumerate the power state. This is how the system is designed to function. The chip set does not support it.
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7 Q: Turning off SpeedStep in the BIOS seems to have no effect whatsoever upon the machine's ability to change the CPU rate. How do you disable SpeedStep. I am using WinXP.
A: You must have it turned off in the BIOS and in WinXP. If you go into the Power Applet in Control Panel and select the Always On option it will disable Speed Step. Right click your desktop > Click properties > Click Screen Saver > Power button > Change the Power Scheme to always on.
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8 Q: I just purchased a notebook computer with a 2.0 GHz. processor but the speed is listed at 1.2 GHz. And at one point it said it was running at 777 GHz. Why is the speed of the system fluctuating this way?
A: That is Enhanced SpeedStep at work. SpeedStep slows down the speed of the processor when it is not in use to reduce heat and increase battery life. Computers, such as the I8200, have enhanced SpeedStep and when enabled, will increase or decrease the processor speed to various settings depending on the needs of the application.
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9 Q: How can I tell what mode SpeedStep is running in?

A: If the driver for is loaded for SpeedStep, you should see a flag in the Windows taskbar. Note: Since Windows XP has the Intel SpeedStep technology driver built into Windows, you will not see an icon on the taskbar.

Maximum Performance If the flag is checkered, the system is running in Maximum Performance Mode.
Demand Mode If the flag is half checked and half with a single green block, the system is running in Demand Switching Mode. Note: This is only available on systems that are using Enhanced SpeedStep technology.
Battery Mode If the flag has a single green block, the system is running in Battery Optimized Mode.
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10 Q: Does the mobile Intel® Celeron® processor have the Intel SpeedStep technology feature?
A: No, mobile Intel Celeron processors do not have the Intel SpeedStep technology feature. Intel SpeedStep® technology is a feature found on all mobile Intel Pentium 4 processors - M and Pentium III processors - M at 600 MHz and above.
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11 Q: What effect do the different power profiles in WinXP have on speedstep?

A: Today’s mobile PC users want to play DVD titles and games. This introduces new high-CPU-utilization demands to add to the problems that designers have struggled with in working to conserve battery life. To support these new processors, Windows XP has implemented native processor performance control and new processor performance control policies. To solve some of this problem, CPU manufacturers have introduced microprocessors that employ different performance states:

  • High voltage/high frequency states for use when processor utilization is high
  • Low voltage/low frequency states to conserve battery life
Processor control policy types
In Windows XP, the processor performance control policy is linked to the Power Scheme setting in the standard Power Options control panel applet.
Policy Description
None Always runs at the highest performance state
Constant Always runs at the lowest performance state
Adaptive Performance state chosen according to CPU demand
Degrade Starts at lowest performance state, then uses additional linear performance reduction as battery discharges

The user selects the Power Scheme to be used, and Windows XP matches it with a processor control policy.

Power scheme AC power DC power
Home/Office Desktop None Adaptive
Portable/Laptop Adaptive Adaptive
Minimal Power Management Adaptive Adaptive
Maximize Battery Life Adaptive Degrade
Presentation Adaptive Degrade
Always On None None
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12 Q: What Intel processors have speedstep?

A: The following Intel Processors have SpeedStep Technology:

  • All P4 - M's [1.4Ghz- 2.4Ghz] have Enhanced speedstep; and have a lower speed of 1.2Ghz. [based on .13 µ process technology]
  • Standard speedstep is available on PIII -M's 600Mhz - 1Ghz. [based on .18 µ process technology]
  • Enhanced speedstep is available on PIII -M's 700+ Mhz. [based on .13 µ process technology]
  • Celeron's do not have speedstep
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13 Q: For Mobile Intel Pentium Processors, how much power savings is there between maximum and battery optimized mode?.

A: The reduced Processor Frequency, Voltage and Watts are outlined in the following table:

SpeedStep Processor
Version 2.2 Intel Pentium 4
Version 2.1 Intel Pentium III Tualatin
Version 1.1 Intel Pentium III Coppermine

NOTE: The following table assumes that SpeedStep version 2.x is installed and working correctly.

Processor
Maximum Performance Mode
Battery Optimized Mode
Processor Frequency
Voltage
Watts
Processor Frequency
Voltage
Watts

Intel Pentium 4

2.60 GHz
1.3V
35.0
1.20 GHz
1.2V
20.8
2.50 GHz
2.40 GHz
2.20 GHz
2.0 GHz
32.0
1.90 GHz
1.80 GHz
30.0
1.70 GHz
24.5
1.60 GHz
30.0
1.50 GHz
26.9
1.40 GHz
25.8
Intel Pentium III
1.33 GHz
1.4 V
22.0
800 MHz
1.15 V
9.8
1.26 GHz
1.2 GHz
1.13 GHz
21.8
733 MHz
9.3
1.06 GHz
21.0
1.0 GHz
20.5
933 MHz
20.1
866 MHz
19.5
667 MHz
8.9
Intel Pentium III
LV
(Low Voltage)
1.0 GHz
1.15 V
10.9
533 MHz
1.05 V
6.1
933 MHz
10.5
866 MHZ
10.1
850 MHz
10.0
500 MHz
5.9
800 MHz
9.8
750 MHz
9.4
450 MHz
5.7
733 MHz
9.3
466 MHz
5.8
600 MHz
1.35 V
14.4
500 MHz
1.10 V
8.1
Intel Pentium III
ULV
(Ultra Low Voltage)
866 MHz
1.1 V
7.0
400 MHz
0.95 V
3.4
850 MHz
800 MHz
750 MHz
350 MHz
3.1
733 MHz
400 MHz
3.4
700 MHz
300 MHz
3.0
600 MHz
9.7
300 MHz
0.975
4.5
500 MHz
8.1
300 MHz
0.975
4.5
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14 Q: How can I determining if Intel SpeedStep Technology is working with Windows XP?

A: WinXP has the driver for SpeedStep Technology built into the operating system. You do not have an icon in the system tray of the taskbar and you don't have an Intel SpeedStep technology tab when using the power applet located with the Control Panel. Without these programs, it can be difficult to determine if you have a mobile Intel Pentium processor with Intel SpeedStep technology that is operating correctly.

To determine if the Intel SpeedStep technology driver is working properly, you can use the Intel Processor Frequency ID Utility. After installing the utility and running it, the utility should show you that you have a mobile Pentium processor and that it supports Intel SpeedStep technology. You can also then run the utility with the notebook plugged into the AC outlet and run the utility with the notebook drawing power from the battery to see the frequency change between them.

Frequency ID Utility
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15 Q: I have heard some talk of a program called SpeedSwitchXP. What is this?
A: SpeedswitchXP is a small applet created by Christian Diefer that sits in the system tray and allows dynamic switching of the frequencies of Intel and AMD mobile CPUs under Windows XP. As noted in the FAQ, WinXP does not have the "flag" in taskbar that gives you the ability to switch your power schemes. This applet gives you that ability in WinXP.
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16 Q: My battery doesn't last very long. What can I change in WinXP to make the battery last longer?

A: Windows XP provides native support for Intel processors that incorporate SpeedStep technology. By optimizing the SpeedStep settings, you can increase the battery efficiency and, as a result, the operating time for your computer. The SpeedStep settings are controlled in the Power Options menu in Windows XP.

To access the Power Options menu, perform the following steps:

Go to Start > Control Panel > Power Options. On the Power Schemes tab, click the drop-down menu under Power schemes section and select Max Battery and then click OK.

Dell notebook computers are usually shipped with the power scheme set to Portable/Laptop. By changing the setting to Max Battery, you are changing the battery power scheme from Adaptive to Degrade. Degrade means that as the battery power starts to get low, the CPU power and performance will be set lower to conserve the battery. Refer to question 11 for more information.

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17 Q: When I change from AC to DC power or DC power to AC, the operating speed of my notebook computer does not change. How do I fix this?

A: Perform the following trouble shooting tips:

  1. Make sure that you have a processor with the Intel SpeedStep technology (Pentium® III processor - 600 MHz or faster). Use the Intel Processor Frequency ID Utility to determine this. Refer to question 12 and question 14.
  2. Make sure that you have an operating system that supports SpeedStep Technology. Refer to question 3.
  3. Make sure the Intel SpeedStep technology driver is loaded. Refer to question 3.
  4. Make sure the SpeedStep Technology is not disabled in the CMOS setup program.
  5. Check the settings in the Power applet in the Control Panel.
  6. Try updating the BIOS.
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