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Why does my computer think it is running two processors?

Howdy!

I am working on a Dell Precision Workstation 470, running WinXP SP2.  When I look in my Device Manager, it shows two Intel Xeon 3.20GHz CPUs.  When I look in the Performance tab of the Task Manager, it shows me two real-time graphs in the CPU Usage History, and they aren't identical.  When I go to Dell's website, and use the system profiler to tell me what's in my machine, it tells me I have two processors.  

Well, I ordered the machine with only one processor, even though it's a dual processor motherboard.  After all this weirdness, I opened up the case, and guess what?  One processor.  Next to it is an empty slot for a second one.  

What is going on here?

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bti_admin
Asked:
bti_admin
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2 Solutions
 
CallandorCommented:
What you are seeing is hyperthreading: the cpu idle cycles are used to perform other tasks, and the OS makes it look like another cpu.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
As Callandor said, it's hyperthreading.  See http://www.intel.com/technology/hyperthread/ for a complete explanation.

If you really find this disturbing, you can disable hyperthreading in the system's BIOS (though that really wouldn't make much sense to do).  

Older Operating Systems (NT and even 2000) can take a performance HIT with this kind of CPU, but XP is hyperthreading aware and should actually perform better with hyperthreading enabled.
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bti_adminAuthor Commented:
Thanks, guys.  Does that mean that I have to disable hyperthreading if I want to install a second processor?  Will this require some kind of major OS overhaul?
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
No, you can have two cpus without a problem.  Your system will just see them as if you had 4 CPUs.
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