Multi-core support in XP

Posted on 2009-04-22
Last Modified: 2013-12-10
I am reading up on limitations in Windows XP Home vs. Pro.

Apparantly Home only supports one processor, while Pro only supports two processors. Various server versions of Windows Server 2003 support upwards of 32 cores.

So... does this mean my Intel Quad Core Q6600 system that I diligently installed Windows XP Home on is only utilizing ONE of it's cores??
Question by:Frosty555
    LVL 70

    Accepted Solution

    No - What you are refering to is the number of Physical Processors, both XP Pro and XP Home support multi-core processors (including quald core). XP Home can support one physical processor (single or multi core), XP Pro can support 2 physical processors (single or multi core).
    LVL 69

    Assisted Solution

    KCTS is correct; support is for each socket: "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."
    LVL 31

    Author Comment

    Okay, so it sounds like I've confused the concepts of "multi-processor" vs. "multi-core".

    So when I read that Microsoft Windows XP utilizes "symmetric multiprocessing" or SMP, to handle multiple processors, this would refer to multiple processors, as opposed to cores? And this also means that there are virtually no personal computers on the market that actually take advantage of this, since they almost always just have once processor?

    So then... what's the big deal about having several cores? I thought the whole point was that it was two, or four, physical processors, placed on single die for performance reasons, but if it's not... then what is it?

    LVL 69

    Assisted Solution

    "Symmetric multiprocessing" used to refer to multiple sockets back when each processor only had one core - in order to do that, you had to buy a server motherboard, server processor (desktop processors still cannot be used in dual configurations, you have to buy a Xeon or Opteron), and expensive registered RAM.

    >So when I read that Microsoft Windows XP utilizes "symmetric multiprocessing" or SMP, to handle multiple processors, this would refer to multiple processors, as opposed to cores?

    No, with the advent of multiple cores on one cpu, it now refers multiple core support.  The OS does not make a distinction between cores or sockets when it comes to scheduling tasks.  Having multiple cores means the OS can run more processes, while at the same time it still adheres to the limit on physical sockets.

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