I've had to pore through a lot of gobbledygook as to what the "Maximum Frequency" number really means in the Windows 7 Resource Monitor.
What is means is: How fast your CPU is physically clocking, compared to how fast it could be clocking.
What it does not mean is:
- How much load your CPU is actually experiencing. This is shown by "CPU Usage".
- How much load your CPU has been experiencing, i.e. a historical or "peak hold" value. This is not displayed in Resource Monitor.
This figure might be less than 100% if the system is dynamically changing CPU frequency to save power. So Maximum frequency might be more or less than 100%, depending on how your system behaves and how much power it is trying to save. This is expected behavior.
- For a desktop, maximum frequency might stay at 100% permanently. This is because the system has no need to reduce CPU frequency to save power.
- For an overclocked" processor, the value might be more than 100%. This is because the CPU can run faster than the "normal frequency.
- For laptops and desktops with power-saving modes enabled, max frequency may be less than 100% and may skip around. The computer does this automatically to save energy. It will rise to 100% when the CPU has real work to do.
- For laptops or desktops with some kind of heatsink or heat-dissipation problem, maximum frequency might stick low, not vary much (if at all) and/or never reach at or near 100%. This is because the CPU is automatically reducing its own frequency to keep itself from self-destructing.
- If your CPU maximum frequency is at 100% or more, you're fine.
- If your CPU maximum frequency is less than 100% but is skipping around, you're fine.
- If your CPU maximum frequency is stuck very low, you are not fine. First thing to check is your CPU heatsinking arrangements to make sure it is not burning up.
Note: Unexplained random hangs are also a symptom of a hot CPU.