About Unparking cores in an i7-950 cpu

I'm using my Win7 Pro 64bit sp1 system for screen recording of live streaming data among other things and I'm interested in optimizing my system to get the most out of it.
I've been reading articles/tips written mostly by gamers and they recommend unparking cpu cores as a way to boost performance.  I checked and 4 of my 8 cores are parked I have my power management settings all on high in Windows and Nvidia control panels, although I have not turned off all of the power saving features in Bios yet.

My question is towards people who have edited their registries to unpark or know something definitive about it--is it safe and does it actually increase performance?  I read conflicting views on this; gamers recommend it and say they see improvement, some tech writers say it's not safe to mess with the registry and that the particular fix does not actually unpark the cores after all. Aaarrgghhh!!

Also if you can point me to any general tips on improving performance, I'm mostly concerned about the visual display of one of my programs. It is a trading platform and some times when I make changes to charts, the action lags a bit after a mouse click.

Here's a partial spec list if you need more let me know:
Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R MOBO
Intel i7-950 Bloomfield CPU
3, Asus GeForce GT430 GPUs,
6gb (2x3) Corsair XMS3  DDR3, 1333 RAM
6, ASUS VS Series VS198D-P 19" 5ms LED, Widescreen LCD  Monitors (added last year)
650W PSU SeaSonic X Series X650 Gold

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Core unparking is controversial. Here's one post that explains why cores are parked in the first place:
Cores are unparked by default. Parking is something that an operating system can do to put a core to sleep when there's not enough work to do to justify keeping it powered up.

When threads (and/or processes depending on the operating system's model) become ready for execution the operating system has a decision to make. If one or more cores are parked it can wake them up and load the thread/process onto the logical processor representing that core. However, this causes the microprocessor to consume more power. Alternatively it can keep the cores parked and simply throw the thread/process onto the ready queue. This causes the thread/process to wait longer in the queue than it would normally, but avoids waking the core.

I'm not certain what mathematical model Windows uses by default to determine when to unpark cores, but it's most likely some sort of moving average of utilization or queuing delay. In fact, it may be faster to simply wait in the queue and run on a logical processor that's already unparked rather than wait for one that is parked to be awoken. Once the utilization level rises above a certain threshold (where utilization is the fraction of time spent running processes other than the idle process) or the mean time spent in the ready queue exceeds a certain value it would make sense to wake a core up. Various power settings most likely just move these setpoints around. It is possible to configure the operating system to never park cores at all but it already does a very good job of handling this on its own.

However, anecdotally, some people claim to see performance gains when unparking cores. Doing so shouldn't damage your system. It will cause your CPU to likely heat up, as it's running at full core capacity all the time, and you'll use more power, but it shouldn't overheat if you've got the proper cooling for it.

Directly messing with the registry is dangerous, and should only be done if you know what you're doing and back up your changes. I found this utility called ParkControl that will make the necessary changes, and there's a free version. The author also states how to manually make the changes using Windows built-in powercfg command lower on the page. Finally, he does say at the bottom of the page that manually changing the registry doesn't work.

In regards to your performance issue, what program are you using? The bottleneck in the "lag" you see when changing a chart could be a number of things, not just CPU. It could be the amount of RAM, the harddrive speed if it's committing the change to disk, your internet speed if it's pulling new data from online, etc.

You don't mention your HDD in the specs you listed, so that may be something to look into. Additionally, 6GB of RAM seems low considering you're running 6 monitors, presumably with programs open on each all the time. But you can check the Windows Resource monitor to see if anything (CPU, Memory, Disk, Network) is being taxed at the moment and when you change charts.
AMD Bulldozer has 1 FPU per integer 2 cores. intel has hyperthread that splits one real core into two.

Your CPU specification is here:
It clearly says you have 4 cores, disabling hyperthreading indeed is controversial, and you really need to measure which case fits your needs. You are not yet into core parking. if your BIOS disagrees with me update it.

Parking cores reduces overall performance for multithreaded loads, but adds a bit to single single-threaded task running by running single last CPU in permanent turbo mode.
AnaB29Author Commented:
Thanks Marsilies and Gheist for your comments.

Marsilies: The platform/application that I'm using is Think or Swim. It serves real time data for trading, and I have about 12 charts up in my work space with 4 different quote streams. I also have an excel file open along side it to collect various stats that I keep and a recording software to record the trading day from all 6 screens.

My main drive is an Intel SSD 730 series, 240gb for programs and OS only, then I have 3 WD 3TB Black, 7200 RPM HDD for storage.  My internet speed is around 7gb down and it's the fastest that's available right now for my geographical location.  For what I'm doing twice that would be sooooooo nice...sigh.

While searching for information on the subject of un-parking, I also came across some info regarding my GPUs as they relate to lagging graphics and I was able to tweak my Nvidia power management and it has made an improvement in some of the lag.  I will check the Windows Resource Monitor to determine what if any of the components are being overtaxed and address them.

Thanks for the links to both articles and since you came up with the same dissenting opinions about releasing all eight of my cores, I will read  (and read some more :) and proceed with caution to a decision. Who knows, after tweaking and some Win7 optimization, I may not need to touch the cores at all.

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You do not have eight cores - understood?
Here some tips - you dont really need "performance"

It is fairly absurd that you put OS on fastest drive you have. It could boot from 32GB USB leaving speed in your hands.

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AnaB29Author Commented:
Morning Gheist,

You are right, I have only 4 cores, but I was referring to all 8 sectors?, (not sure what to call them) 4 cores being split into 8.

Thank you for the link to the document.  I will finish reading it this weekend.  

As far as the OS being on the fastest drive, when I built this computer  it was suggested to me by people on this forum that I set it up that way--programs and OS on the SSD and storage on HDDs. So you believe that I should have put the OS on a HDD and put the programs only on the SSD?  

I am about to build another system and would appreciate your input/ideas on the design.  So as not to confuse the original question of this post, would it be OK if I sent you by message, a list of my proposed components for your advice/suggestions, once I have it ready?  

What do you favour - fast boot or snappy access to trading data?
I would install OS on small leading partition of HDD and designate rest for "DATA"
And use SSD for trading and databases etc.

Suggestion for next system use hybrid SSH+HDD for first disk (you get fast boot and cheap heap of storage) and small  (but big enough) and fast SSD for trading data.

You dont need throughput, you need small response times. While 3x faster CPU responds in 1/3 time it is still unpredictable.

As you read in HP document - better response times are achieved with hyperthreading off, and if you have single threaded application you need to park cores for better response or at least set CPU affinity for that process.
AnaB29Author Commented:
Thanks again Gheist for your input and further suggestions and considerations.

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