Walter Shillington is an avid collector of mechanical timepieces. While he focuses mainly on watches, Walter also reviews household items.
Most modern computers incorporate at least two processors, which are generally referred to as cores. Ashampoo states that Windows often doesn't manage multiple cores very well. They feel that their product, Core Tuner, will enable the use of the core's full power.
Supported operating systems are Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7. Core Tuner requires a computer containing two or more cores. To verify, click the start button and select Control Panel. Double-click System and check the processor information for references to multiple cores.
PURCHASE AND INSTALLATION
Once I verified my processor contained dual cores, I proceeded to the Ashampoo website and purchase the product. I could have, of course, simply downloaded Core Tuner on a trial basis. By the end of the trial, I would have been in a good position to judge the effectiveness of the software.
Installation was simple and straightforward. I chose the custom method to avoid installing their toolbar. Not that there is anything wrong with the Ashampoo toolbar, but I tend to avoid add-ons of this type.
THE TEST DRIVE
The software added an icon to my desktop. A double-click brought up the above screen which displays a list of processes running on the computer.
A menubar resides at the top left-hand side of the screen.
- Files simply allows the operator to exit the program.
- Action pertains to the export and import of profiles, basically a file which tells the computer the priority of each process and what processor core to run them on. The last option, Auto-optimize Active Processes, is meant to select the most advantageous method of running each process. When I ran this routine, I was informed that no processes were optimized because all processes appeared to be assigned to all available CPUs. Windows 7 got it right!
- Options is used to select the appropriate language and provide a method of changing the appearance of the program.
- Internet provides various options, including provisions to check for updates.
- Help contains information pertaining to running the program.
The main menu is located below.
When launched, Core Tuner displays the Process Screen. Every application running is shown as one, or more, processes. The first column names the process; the second describes its use. The third column notes how many cores the process is using, followed by its priority and the CPU load. From this screen the priority of each process can be adjusted. You can also select which processor core it runs on.
Okay, I thought. This is for the techies; definitely something I shouldn't touch. Then I noticed the process for Dragon Naturally Speaking. Now, there's a program that needs every bit of computer power, it can get. Not far below, I found the process for Magic Jack, my Internet-based telephone system. I'd like it to work as well as possible. I selected each of these processes and pushed the boost button. That changed their priority to high. Theoretically, if I'm on the phone and my Acronis software wants to start backing up my hard drive, tough luck Acronis, you're going to have to wait!
In my system each process runs on both cores. If I had a lot of time, it might be interesting to divide the processes so that some ran on core number one and others ran on core number two. Not going to happen though, it's spring cleanup season, and I'll soon be dragging my motor scooter from the garage for a bit of fun.
The button, Unnecessary Services, can be located on the right side the screen. This displays a list of running services that Ashampoo feels might not be required. They describe the reason for the service and provide a method for changing when it runs.
This consists of a list of executable files pertaining, in my case, to changes I made to Dragon Naturally Speaking and Magic Jack.
As can be seen from the image above, changes can be made concerning what is displayed and how the software operates. For example, it can be set up so that processes that cannot be changed are not listed.
As shown in the above image, a cute graphic is provided, displaying in real time, what is happening in the processor cores.
Selecting Tools provides the ability to view and change what programs are loaded when Windows is started. If the program is not needed right away, why waste time loading it?
Every computer owner should have one utility program that can be used to check and maintain their system. It should handle regular maintenance at a click of a button, and be able to perform more complicated routines, if required. Ashampoo sells WinOptimizer, a utility program that I strongly recommend. While Core Tuner contains a small selection of WinOptimizer's suite of tools, it adds only the ability to adjust what processor core handles the work. If used in conjunction with a computer containing four cores, It might be of some value. But, generally speaking, software such as WinOptimizer or Avanquest's System Suite would be preferable.