How to Allow Matlab to Access More of Your CPU

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Matlab is often tasked with heavy computational work that may run slowly if other processes on your computer compete with it. You can take steps to improve Matlab's performance if you stop other processes competing with it, and adjust the priority levels of Matlab and other processes. The Windows Task Manager gives you an overview of the processes running on your computer and allows you to adjust their priorities while they're running.

  • Right-click a blank area on the Windows Taskbar and click "Start Task Manager" from the menu that appears.

  • Click the "Applications" tab to view a list of currently-running programs. Quit non-essential programs before starting a major Matlab computation.

  • Click the "Processes" tab. This list is a lower-level view of the software executing on your computer. Click the "CPU" column until it shows a downward-pointing arrow to sort the list by CPU usage. Processes that use a lot of CPU time and as such compete more with Matlab appear near the top of the list. Usually these processes correspond to applications you can quit manually. However, you can also end a process by clicking it and clicking "End Process," then "End Process" in the dialog that appears. Heed the dialog's warning; the process you decide to terminate may be essential to the operation of Windows, and you might crash your computer by stopping it.

  • Right-click a process and click the "Set Priority" sub-menu, and click a priority level from the list to change the priority of a process. Click "Change priority" in the dialog that appears. Increase the priority level of "MATLAB.exe," and reduce the level of other processes that use a lot of CPU. Adjusting the priority of various processes in too extreme a manner may cause Windows to become unstable.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you use a multi-core processor, Windows may not accurately report Matlab's CPU usage, and you may also benefit by investigating Matlab's Parallel Computing Toolbox.
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