System shows two processors but I only have one!?!?!?

Posted on 2006-05-28
Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I'm confused. I built this machine and I think I did something wrong. I bougt a new mother board, processor and memory all together from the same vendor. It's  a good ASUS mother board. It's a 3 Ghz processor and 1GB of RAM. This thing should fly. It doesn't really. I'm using it a lot for television capture with my TV card, but I do a lot of plain old word processing too. I put in a RAM monitoring program and, except for a couple of spikes when something big is opening or running, about 70-75% of the RAM is free. So, I decided to chek out the CPU.

The device manager lists two instanaces of the same CPU as installed in my machine. When I check out the performance of my CPU in task manager and I have 'show one graph for each CPU' checked off, it shows two graphs. When I'm burning a DVD, one CPU registers at about 50-75% usage and the other as 20-25% usage.

I know I only have one CPU. I put it in. It has a fan the size of a softball. You can't miss it. It would be nice of I really did have dual 3GHz CPUs. That would be sweet, but it just ain't true. What gives?

Could it be causing some sort of conflict that's slowing my system down? I know I'm doing some processor intensive stuff, but it's just TOO slow sometimes, even when I'm doing nothing big. I could just right click on one and uninstall it, but that could do bad things, no?

What's a boy to do?
Question by:niner
    LVL 95

    Accepted Solution

    Your processor has hyperthreading - which makes it appear as if it has two CPUs.  The way an intel rep presented this technology to me YEARS ago, the CPU has a processor that handles integers and another that handles floating point.  When older processors executed instructions, the CPU would use EITHER the floating point unit or the integer unit leaving the other one idle, depending on what was required.  Hyperthreading permitted the both the integer and floating point processors to run at the same time, POTENTIALLY increasing performance, but usually only when multiple applications or multi-threaded applications were running.

    Author Comment

    Okay. Thanks for clearing that up. But, am I right in thinking that if it's not the RAM randomly slowing my system down, it must be the CPU?
    LVL 95

    Expert Comment

    by:Lee W, MVP

    It COULD be the CPU... but it COULD be slower RAM, Hard disk, or a number of other potential issues.  It's 1 GB of RAM - is it Dual Channel?  Are you sure you have enough RAM and it's not excessively paging to the hard disk? (1 GB is good... but MAY not be enough).

    Do you have antivirus software running?

    There are a variety of possibilities.

    Author Comment

    All good questions. I guess I'll have to follow them up. As long as I know the two processor thing is Kosher. Thanks for the assist.

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