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I was wondering, is windows XP truely multicore? I typically see my CPU at 54% which seems like all of CPU1 and some kernal stuff on CPU2? I ran VMWare which should be cpu intense and set the affinity to CPU1 (not 0) and it isnt using much of my CPU power. After noticing those two i wondered and wanted to ask this question.

I am currently running a Dell Inspiron 1545

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I hope Your XP is at least SP2 patched and has this hot-fix

Computers that are equipped with multiple processors that support processor power management features, such as Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) processor performance states, require Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2).
Additional updates are available to optimize performance and behavior on computers that are running Windows XP SP2. Without these updates, computers that are equipped with these power management-capable, mobile, dual-core processors may experience decreased performance or unexpected behavior.

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XP is an operating system. It cannot be "multicore" - Multicore is a hardware term describing a CPU, in particular, a CPU with two or more "cores" that act as individual processors.

As for XP, it is MULTITHREADED. In order for applications to use multiple processors, the OS must support it and the application itself must support multiple threads. XP uses preemptive multitasksing to dish out processor time to the running applications.

Then, assuming you are asking this in part because you have performance concerns, the performance of a system depends on a variety of components, including the slowest vital component, hard drives.

Finally, NO OPERATING SYSTEM scales CPU performance without SOME performance hit. Meaning that a 4 core CPU system (linux based, unix based, or windows based) will NOT run an appropriately multithreaded program 4x faster than a single CPU core - in ideal circumstances, it MAY improve the application's performance by 3-3.5x.

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