you can use the command line guiminer prints in it's console to pop CGminer for more information. you can paste it straight into cmd, too. I use this to check other stats guiminerscrypt doesn't display. I love taco, but I want more info, damnit!
But yeah, I use the shit out of guiminer.
I've heard anecdotally in #feathercoin that lower intensities helped. I get my full LTC hashrate mining on tailfeathers, so I've stuck there. if you watch the console, you might see why, too: i get a lot of lost shares for strat disconnects/pool unresponsive. this tanks what guiminer approxes for your hashrate.
don't let anyone tell you not to use guiminer, though: it's just a cgminer wrapper, and it won't do anything cgminer won't do, besides tell you all your stats.