Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Say for example, one of the cores in a quad core computer overheated and died, would the system compensate by routing all operations to the remaining 3 cores, or would the computer be inoperable? If the system compensates, could it compensate for 3 of 4 cores failing?

share|improve this question
    
If you have a 4 cylinder car and one of the cylinders breaks, do you expect it to run fine on the remaining 3? – Hennes Jan 17 '13 at 19:43
2  
@Hennes: Cylinders cannot be compared to CPU cores, given that it's possible to turn off any given core manually. It's more similar to four engines in a single car. – grawity Jan 17 '13 at 20:57
up vote 3 down vote accepted

It largely depends on the exact failure (and the system architecture, but I'll assume you're talking about a standard x86 based system).

In short, the system will not function properly - with exact symptoms ranging from appearing to be okay "most of the time" to a complete failure to boot. There is no mechanism to ignore the bad core at run time, and as such anything that attempts to execute there risks failing/corruption/crashing.

share|improve this answer

No. Your computer is not supposed to start-up at all if any core has failed.

If any core failure is detected at testing and packaging stage, it can be disabled like those AMD 3-core processors.

share|improve this answer

A CPU core cannot be compared to a car engine. Depending on the system BIOS, it may or may not detect a core failure. Most probably it will still route operations to the core and fail. The BIOS may allow for discrete core disabling (trial and error on each core), in which case you will be able to operate normally. At the end of the day, time to replace the CPU

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .