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Performance & Maintenance CPU L2 Cache Memory setting in Vista

Brink

Staff member
mvp
CPU L2 Cache Memory setting in Vista How to Set Vista for the CPU L2 Cache Memory Size
This will show you how to set the Vista for the actual CPU L2 cache memory size incase Vista fails to get it from the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) and uses a default L2 cache size of only 256 KB instead of the actual size.
Published by Brink Category: Performance & Maintenance 
#1
ByLine
How to Set Vista for the CPU L2 Cache Memory Size
Synopsis
This will show you how to set the Vista for the actual CPU L2 cache memory size incase Vista fails to get it from the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) and uses a default L2 cache size of only 256 KB instead of the actual size.
How to Set Vista for the CPU L2 Cache Memory Size

information   Information
The SecondLevelDataCache records the size of the processor cache, also known as the secondary or L2 cache. If the value of this entry is 0, Vista will attempt to retrieve the L2 cache size from the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) for the platform. If Vista fails for some reason to retrieve the L2 cache size from HAL, then it uses a default CPU L2 cache size of only 256 KB. If the default value of the SecondLevelDataCache value is not 0, Vista will use the value (amount of memory) you set instead of 0 (for 256 KB) as the L2 cache size of. This value is designed as a secondary source of cache size information for Vista when the HAL cannot detect the L2 cache from the CPU.
Note   Note
This sets the SecondLevelDataCache inside the registry.

From Microsoft KB183063:

Microsoft KB183063 said:
This is not related to the hardware; it is only useful for computers with direct-mapped L2 caches. Pentium II and later processors do not have direct-mapped L2 caches. SecondLevelDataCache can increase performance by approximately 2 percent in certain cases for older computers with ample CPU L2 memory (more than 64 MB) by scattering physical pages better in the address space so there are not so many L2 cache collisions. Setting SecondLevelDataCache to 256 KB rather than 2 MB (when the CPU has a 2 MB L2 cache) would probably have about a 0.4 percent performance penalty.
warning   Warning
Only set the value to what your processor actually has for the L2 cache size. Do not use a larger size than it actually has.




STEP ONE
Find Out the L2 Cache Size Reported by HAL

NOTE: This will show you how to see what the L2 cache size is for your CPU as it is reported to Vista by HAL. This value will be used in STEP TWO below to set the SecondLevelDataCache value for this as a backup in case HAL rarely could not detect the L2 cache from the CPU.
1. Generate a System Health Report.​
2. Click on the Hardware Configuration arrow on the far right to expand it. (See screenshot below step 3)​
3. Click on the Devices arrow on the far right to expand it. (See screenshot below)​
Arrows.jpg

4. Under Devices, scroll down to Motherboard Classes. (See screenshot below step 5)​
A) Click on the + sign to expand​
root\cimv2:SELECT * FROM Win32_Processor.​

B) Click on the + sign to expand​
Win32_Processor.DeviceID="CPU0".​


5. In that list, you will see L2CacheSize and the value beside it for it's size to use it in step 6 in STEP TWO below.​
NOTE: For this example you will see 6144 to be used for my CPU's 2x6144 (12MB) L2 size. Now, here's a kicker. The newer Yorkfield Core 2 Quads CPUs use the entire cache for both cores unlike the older CPUs that do not share. So a 2x6144 (12mb) L2 cache would use 12288 (2x6144) instead despite what is reported in Vista for HAL.​
System_Health_Report.jpg





STEP TWO
Set the L2 Cache Size

NOTE: This will set the SecondLevelDataCache value in the registry, from the value gotten in STEP ONE, as a backup in case HAL rarely could not detect the L2 cache from the CPU and prevent having only a default L2 cache size of 256 KB used as L2 cache size instead by Vista.
1. Open the Start Menu.​
2. In the white line (Start Search) area, type regedit and press Enter.​
3. Click on Continue in the UAC prompt.​
4. In regedit, go to: (See screenshot below)​
Code:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management
5. In the right pane, right click SecondLevelDataCache and click on Modify.​
Before_Reg.jpg

6. Dot Decimal, and type in the value in bold (see table below) for your CPU L2 size from STEP ONE above. (See screenshot below table)​
NOTE: I have a CPU with a 2x6144 (12MB) L2 cache size, so I would use 6144 (Dec) or 1800 (Hex) since it is 2x. See STEP ONE above for how to get the L2 size for your CPU. Now, here's a kicker. The newer Yorkfield Core 2 Quads CPUs use the entire cache for both cores unlike the older CPUs that do not share. So a 2x6144 (12mb) L2 cache would use 122488 (Decimal) or 3000 (hex) instead despite what is reported in Vista for HAL.

Decimal Value

Hexadecimal Value

256 KB

100 (hex)

512 KB

200 (hex)

1024 KB (1MB)

400 (hex)

2048 KB (2MB)

800 (hex)

3072 KB (3MB)

c00 (hex)

4096 KB (4MB)

1000 (hex)

6144 KB (6MB)

1800 (hex)

8192 KB (8MB)

2000 (hex)

12288 KB (12MB)

3000 (hex)

16384 KB (16MB)

4000 (hex)



Modify.jpg

7. Click on OK to apply.​
8. Your registry will look like this below for a 2x6144 (12MB) L2 cache memory size.​
NOTE: See STEP ONE above to find out your CPU L2 cache size.​
After_Reg.jpg

9. Close regedit.​
10. Restart the computer to apply the change.​
That's it,
Shawn





 
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#2
Shawn I just thought id inform that for reson unknown to me the 4mb cache setting isnt 1600.

Its actually 1000. I am unsure as to why cause all the rest are correct.

Cheers
Anthony
 

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Brink

Staff member
mvp
#3
Anthony,

Thank you.
Nice catch. It has been updated.

Shawn
 

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Brink

Staff member
mvp
#5
Hi Maineearle,

You need to look up your CPU's specs to see that it says. Go to the manufacturer's website to do so.(EX: Intel or AMD) You can find the model number to look it up with by right clicking Computer (in Start menu) and click Properties. You can also find the model number in System Information.

Shawn
 

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z3r010

Staff member
#6
Wouldn't something like cpuid give you the info ;)
 

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Brink

Staff member
mvp
#7
Thank you,

Why, yes it will. It's a standalone EXE program. No need to install, just run the EXE. You can find the information under the CPU tab under Cache Level 2.

http://www.cpuid.com/cpuz.php

Shawn
 

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Asky

Here to Help
#9
^i dunno if we can put 2000(since brink hasnt mentioned it) so better put 1000 to be safe.
 

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    XBOX 360 Controller | Vista X64 | Simpledrive 500GB

Brink

Staff member
mvp
#10
q6600 has 2x 4096 L2, so i put in 1000?
it's set to 0 currently
Hi Violent Ken,

This means that you have 8 Mb shared cache between the 4 cores. You should use 2000 as the value. I updated the tutorial for this.

You can read more on your Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 processor here:

http://www.intel.com/products/processor/core2quad/index.htm


Quad-Core Processor:
Provides four complete execution cores in a single processor with 8 MB of L2 cache and a 1066 MHz Front Side Bus. Four dedicated, physical threads help operating systems and applications deliver additional performance, so end users can experience better multi-tasking and multi-threaded performance across many types of applications and work loads.
Intel Advanced Smart Cache:
Shared Level 2 cache across each pair of cores that can be dynamically allocated to each processor core, within the pair can access data from fast L2 cache, significantly reducing latency to frequently used data and improving performance.
Shawn
 

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Brink

Staff member
mvp
#12

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    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
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    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
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    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
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    Arris SB6190 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL,
    Lumia 1520 phone
  • Operating System
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    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy Y0F94AV
    CPU
    i7-7500U @ 2.70 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB DDR4-2133
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    NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
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    Conexant ISST Audio
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    17.3" UHD IPS touch
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    512 GB M.2 SSD
#13
setting this parameter in Vista will do nothing, because according to microsoft, when there is 0 in SecondLevelDataCache , HAL on startup detects the appropriate setting...
 

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Brink

Staff member
mvp
#14
Hi PietroR,

Welcome to Vista Forums. :party:

Yes, this is true. However, if Vista fails to retrieve the CPU L2 cache size from the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) for some reason, it will use a default CPU L2 cache size of only 256 KB. This will most likely be less than what your CPU actually has. It can cause a slight performance drop if this happens. :(

Shawn
 

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    ASUS Maximus X Code Z370
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated
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    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
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    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    256GB OCZ Vector,
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    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB6190 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL,
    Lumia 1520 phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy Y0F94AV
    CPU
    i7-7500U @ 2.70 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB DDR4-2133
    Graphics card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
    Sound Card
    Conexant ISST Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17.3" UHD IPS touch
    Screen Resolution
    3480 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    512 GB M.2 SSD
#15
Dear friends,
As in preamble of this thread is mentioned:
it is only useful for computers with direct-mapped L2 caches. Pentium II and later do not have direct-mapped L2 caches.
If your computer has Core... processor, you can write any number from 0 to all Fs to this register, nothing happens.
 

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#16
anyhow, in my experience, most of the "tweaks" are eighter useles, or dangerous - like switching off the last access timestamping on ntfs, etc. those are all rather old tweaks from old times :)
 

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Bare Foot Kid

R.I.P. August 13th 2014
#17
Hi Brink, I was just wondering if this would be worth my while? When you have time let me know what you think. Thanks a lot.

I appreaciate your time.Bare Foot kid :shock:
 
Last edited:

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System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    * BFK Customs *
    CPU
    Intel C2Q 9550 Yorkfield
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    ASUS P5Q Pro
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    8GB Dominator 8500C5D
    Graphics Card(s)
    XFX ATI 1GB 4870 XXX
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    Realtek HD 7-1
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    1x 47" LCD HDMI & 2x 26" LCD HDMI
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    1920x1080P & 1920x1200
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    2x 500GB 7200RPM 32MB Cache WD Caviar Black
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    Corsair 620HX
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    CM Cosmos RC-1000
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    Tuniq Tower 120, 2x 140mm and 3x 120mm case fans
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    Razer Diamondback 3G
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    HP Enhansed Multimedia
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    My First Build ;)

Brink

Staff member
mvp
#18
Hi Bare Foot Kid,

Usually this will never make a difference. Only if for some reason Vista fails to read the HAL from the CPU. Even then, it would be a very low performance hit.

Shawn
 

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System One System Two

  • Show second system?
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    Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom
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    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS Maximus X Code Z370
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated
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    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
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    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    256GB OCZ Vector,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Corsair Air 740
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Internet Speed
    300 Mb/s Download and 30 Mb/s Upload
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Creative F200 webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB6190 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL,
    Lumia 1520 phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy Y0F94AV
    CPU
    i7-7500U @ 2.70 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB DDR4-2133
    Graphics card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
    Sound Card
    Conexant ISST Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17.3" UHD IPS touch
    Screen Resolution
    3480 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    512 GB M.2 SSD

Bare Foot Kid

R.I.P. August 13th 2014
#19
Hi Brink. I thought that was what you were saying. That's why I asked first. I do thank you for your response. Later, Bare Foot Kid


:cool:
 

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System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    * BFK Customs *
    CPU
    Intel C2Q 9550 Yorkfield
    Motherboard
    ASUS P5Q Pro
    Memory
    8GB Dominator 8500C5D
    Graphics Card(s)
    XFX ATI 1GB 4870 XXX
    Sound Card
    Realtek HD 7-1
    Monitor(s) Displays
    1x 47" LCD HDMI & 2x 26" LCD HDMI
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080P & 1920x1200
    Hard Drives
    2x 500GB 7200RPM 32MB Cache WD Caviar Black
    PSU
    Corsair 620HX
    Case
    CM Cosmos RC-1000
    Cooling
    Tuniq Tower 120, 2x 140mm and 3x 120mm case fans
    Mouse
    Razer Diamondback 3G
    Keyboard
    HP Enhansed Multimedia
    Internet Speed
    18.6Mb/s
    Other Info
    My First Build ;)

Brink

Staff member
mvp
#20
Your welcome.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • Show second system?
    Yes
    Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS Maximus X Code Z370
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    256GB OCZ Vector,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Corsair Air 740
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Internet Speed
    300 Mb/s Download and 30 Mb/s Upload
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Creative F200 webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB6190 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL,
    Lumia 1520 phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy Y0F94AV
    CPU
    i7-7500U @ 2.70 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB DDR4-2133
    Graphics card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
    Sound Card
    Conexant ISST Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17.3" UHD IPS touch
    Screen Resolution
    3480 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    512 GB M.2 SSD

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