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Server won't run with 2 Quad-Core CPUs

SIBR asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-09
Hello everyone. This is a quesiton on an old issue that never got resolved.
Please refer to question ID:23567651

The issue is still the same were the system blue screens when 2 quad-core processors installed. The only difference is the operating system is now Server 2003 Standard R2. The rest of the hardware hasn't changed.

Specs on the system:
Chassis: Supermicro SC745TQ-R800B with 800W Redundant Power Supply
MBoard: Intel S5000VSA (for multi-core Intel Xeon processors)
BIOS: Version - S5000.86B.10.00.0088.031420081550 / Date - 03/14/2008
CPU: Intel Xeon E5405 @ 2.00GHz Quad Core (currently one installed. need to install 2 identical)
Memory: 2 gigs (2 sticks) of Kingston DDR2 (KVR667D2D8F5/1G)
Network: Using 2 onboard NICs and 2 Intel PRO/1000 PCIe x1 NICs
Video: Just integrated onboard video, no separate video card
RAID: HighPoint RocketRAID 2320 8 Channel PCI-e SATA II RAID Controller
Drives: One dedicated 320G SATA system drive and 8 SATA drives connected to the controller card
OS: Windows Server 2003 Standard R2 with all the updates.

I'm attaching a couple of minidump files. If someone could review those and point me in the direction of the problem, I'd really appreciate that.

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Windows Server 2003 only supports 4 way SMP.. You need to use Windows Server Enterprise Edition to support 8-way SMP. (Meaning Server 2003 Standard Edition will NOT run more than 4 CPUs -- you need at least Enterprise Edition)

ATTENTION: I am going to recreate this Experts Exchange account with the name Justin_Chandler instead of my nickname "chemao". I will post again on this and you can apply points to that account, please. Thanks!


Thanks for reply, chemao. Wish you were here about 6 months ago when I was working on this issue and all I got was: - "2 CPUs with any # of cores will work fine on Windows XP Pro...."

So you saying that with 2 physical processors and 8 total cores I'm into 8-way SMP, and I'm up to Enterprise Edition?

Does all that mean that Windows XP Pro is more capable (able to handle 2 CPUs with any # of cores) than Windows Server 2003 Standard? This is just odd... you'd expect the opposite... or all these statements are false?

Microsoft states officially:
Microsoft Windows XP Professional and Microsoft Windows XP Home are not affected by this policy as they are licensed per installation and not per processor. Windows XP Professional can support up to two processors regardless of the number of cores on the processor. Microsoft Windows XP Home supports one processor.  Taken from: http://www.lockergnome.com/blade/2007/03/22/dual-or-quad-core-processors-will-windows-xp-support-both/

Please accept my apology. I had 1 too few cokes today. Your server should definitely run with 2x4core CPUs. Go into the BIOS, disable logical processor support and try to install the operating system. Then once it is installed, re-enable the logical processor support in the BIOS. Let me know.


That's cool, man :)
So I have to actually install Server OS while the logical processor support is disabled? That's interesting.
What I did here is just pulled out the Windows XP Pro OS drive that was running fine on 1 processor, imaged a new drive with Server 2003 OS from another server with the same internal hardware and popped it into this "subject" server. Configured it with 1 CPU, did all updates, etc.. and then installed the second CPU. It ran fine for about an hour and crashed with a blue screen. This time it did do a minidump though, where with XP Pro it would just auto reboot without any error reporting whatsoever.
Should I put in 2 CPUs, disable logical processor support in BIOS and then install OS?
Start it up again and check the device manager to see if it is seeing both CPUs. Also, it may not be a problem of the multiple CPUs, and we are chasing ghosts. have you tried removing all but a single RAM chip (unless it's s server that requires matched pairs) If you can manage to post the blue screen it could be helpful.

Win2003 sees each Core as a Processor so 1 Dual core = 2 CPUs, and 1 Quad core = 4 CPUs.

Win 2003 Small Business Edition: 2 CPUs [or Cores]
Win 2003 Web Edition: 2 CPUs [or Cores]
Win 2003 Standard Edition: 4 CPUs [or Cores]
Win 2003 Data Center Edition: 8 CPUs [or Cores]
Win 2003 Enterprise Edition: 32-bit 32 CPUs [or Cores]
Win 2003 Enterprise Edition: 64-bit 64 CPUs [or Cores]

Disabling logical processor support basically turns your Quad Cores into Single Cores and with Win2003 that work-around will only work if you LEAVE it that way in the BIOS.

The number of CPUs/Cores supported is not some Windows Technical issue, it's all Microsoft Marketing.
-> Marketing, that's ALL it is!
If you want to get around NONSENSE like that get Linux.

PCBONEZ, Microsoft licensing only applies to the physical CPUs, regardless of the number of cores on the chip.

SIBR, did you check to see how many logical CPUs it is seeing?


Hey PCBONEZ, Justin - thanks for comments. Server seeing 8 logical CPUs under Task Manager, and this is making me lean towards PCBONEZ comment and to what you Justin said in you first comment - it thinks it has 8 physical CPUs. Just the behavior of the system in general still puts me in doubt - wouldn't they just state up-front that "8" CPUs are not supported on a Standard Edition of Server 2003 (considering that it is a licensing issue), and not simply randomly crash/reboot system?

I'm trying now to debug the .dmp file that server did actually generate with install of the Server OS, but not getting far - can't get my debugger to load libraries correctly. I'll let you know if I find something. Thanks.
This suggestion might be a bit extreme but could possibly give some insight into the whole SMP thing. If you're able to aquire Server 2k3 Enterprise Edition it would be interesting to see if it reacts in the same way. I believe you're quite correct in that it's unlikely to just crash the system but should instead give a message stating it doesn't support that many CPUs.

~~ I'm still learning the ins-outs of this myself. I'm just stating my own conclusions thus far.

Part of the problem is a lot of the the Licensing and OS Support documentation was originally written when multi-core CPU's were rare and so those docs 'assumed' 1 Core = 1 CPU when they were written.
Then they go back and rewrite the Licensing to accommodate the new dual and/or quad core CPU's but sometimes the OS can't actually support that many cores and some of the documentation never gets updated to correct for the obsolete 1 Core = 1 CPU assumption.

[using random number]
If you dig you'll find things like some OS version will claim support for 8 'CPUs' in one place but in another place it says '8 Cores'.
- Both are true.
-> But you have to apply BOTH limits at the same time.
Yes you can have 8 CPUs.
Yes you can have 8 Cores.
You could have 4 dual cores (or 2 quad cores) and be fine.... [8 Cores]
But you can't have 8 Dual Core CPU's because that's 16 Cores.

Now as far as XP and Per-Installation licensing.
The License allows you to have as many cores as you want but doesn't mean the OS will actually support them.

Also, Cores that aren't being used get 'turned off' so if your OS doesn't support them or the load is too low (or SMP is not right) then the system may only be using one core and that's what the system's performance will be.

I have several servers running Windows 2003 Enterprise that have 4 quad-core CPUs in them. Also, here is the microsoft's explanation of their licensing as it relates to multicore processors.


I am convinced there is something else the issue here... and it's not the licensing.
You completely missed the point.
Licensing is just legal paper work used to base fees on.
Has nothing to do with with what the code in the OS actually supports.

The asker is asking about Server 2003 *Standard*
What you are doing with Server 2003 *Enterprise* is completely irrelevant.

Server 2003 *Standard* supports a maximum of Four-way symmetric multiprocessing (SMP).
-> That means a maximum of 4 cores.
-> Number of sockets is irrelevant. The OS only supports 4 cores.

No License adjustment is going to get around that.
You would have to change the kernel in the OS.

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It's been a while, but I think I have proof that my issue is actually a hardware issue and not the OS limitation. I've attached a screenshot and reports in .html format from Everest software that shows a system running on the same motherboard with 2 quad core processors and Windows XP Pro x64. It's been up and running for over a month now and not ever there was an issue as described above. Let me know what you think.


Here are the Everest reports...in .txt formats

My answer was correct.
I'd really like to know if this [this text box]  is where I'm supposed to put this kind of comment.
Based on my findings that Widows XP is able to run fine with 8 cores (2 Quad-Core CPUs) I am not convinced on PCBONEZ' theory that 1 CPU = 1 Core. Also, other people that I've spoke with tell me that OS is actually tells you when it would not support a second CPU. So unless the Windows Server 2003 Standard is a more limited OS than Windows XP Pro - I am still after the fact that my hardware was flacky and it is not an OS limitation.
I totally agree with PCBONEZ comment: -"Server 2003 *Standard* supports a maximum of Four-way symmetric multiprocessing (SMP)", but I'd still say that it more applies toward the physical processors vs. multi-core setup. But again, if Server 2003 Standard is a more limited OS than XP Pro in "core-support" respect - that would answer all the questions. Where is the information though, that would state clearly one fact or the other.

Another possibility is that Server OS may be designed in such a way that it actually does look at 1 Core as a 1 physical CPU and that's why it's limiting it down according to SMP rules. Windows XP is probably doesn't even "know" what SMP is. But that still doesn't answer the question on why the server OS would not just tell you flat out that -"hey, you have too many CPUs intalled and I won't support it", instead of random reboots and minidumps.

So, to draw a line:
1. Windows XP Pro supports 2 Quad-Core CPUs
2. Server 2003 Standard does NOT support 2 Quad-Core CPUs

But this again is based on the assumption that Server OS is seeing 1 Core as 1 physical CPU. I could not find information on the internet that would convert this assumption into a fact.

SMP connects ->cores<-.
It can care less if they are in the same socket or not.
Four-way SMP can connect 4 cores.

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