Regarding the i7-820 processor (1.73 Ghz). Its my understanding that these things 'turbo boost'
in times of need. I've been keeping a close eye on resource monitor -- I do a lot of heavy 3D CAD and
numerical analysis (but not a great deal of multi-tasking).
I've never seen this processor (2 months now) go above 1.73. In addition, 4 (if not 5) of the cores
shown are usually "parked". Is the turbo boost something I should see happen in resource
monitor? Is there any way to make the processor use all of its cores?
Basically what turbo boost is doing is using more cores at lower clock rates, or fewer cores at increased clock rates to maximize performance while staying within the 45 W power spec for the CPU. This happens when applications can't utilize multiple cores but your 3D CAD software most likely can utilize multiple cores to help render in the background.
To see your turboboost in action you'll need to download the software from Intel, here's the link
My i7-720QM turbo'd to near 2.8 once and I set my ThinkPad power configuration to basically max everything. As a customization, I just replaced the CPU with an i7-940XM and saw it boost to 3.2Ghz so I know it works.
If turbo boost is not working on a given system, update bios and power managerment drivers, then confirm the power settings and change everything to max to test.
If the reported CPU clock speed seems capped well below the rated spec regardless of application or loading, it is most likely limited by a power setting but in the BIOS. Adjust your SpeedStep settings.
Go into your BIOS, then Power, then adjust your SpeedStep settings for AC and/or Battery to Max Performance.