So apparently you SHOULD NOT COMPILE Kernels with the Ring Buffer Stress Tester (Kernel Hacking > Tracers). This causes the executables rb_producer and rb_consumer to be created and run all the time. These are testing functions that use 100% of available CPU. Without these running, there should be a marked speedup in performance.
The kernel is still version 3.7.4, but rebuilt to be more efficient.