I'm asking this question because I can't find it on here and can't seem to Google the right term.

So, a family member of mine is a L1 server operator at a huge bank and sent me a screen shot of one of their clusters. It's just a screen shot of task manager, but it clearly says it has 32 processors and 128GB of RAM. I know this cannot be one single computer, not even a 4 processor slot board with hexa-cores could make that happen. My question is, they are obviously interconnecting hardware and making the software think it's all one unit. How is this done? I'm extremely curious, I"m still learning and this has greatly intrigued me.

Thank you for any answers!

  • 2
    "I know this cannot be one single computer" You are wrong. ;) Four, 4-core processors with Hyper-threading will give you 32 logical processors. Four, hex-core CPUs with Hyperthreading would give you 48 logical processors... Intel also makes Decacore CPUs with HT, so you could have 40 logical processors with a dual CPU board, or 80 in a quad-CPU board. Feb 3, 2016 at 17:53
  • 1
    Even if they are somehow interconnecting multiple machines and making a single Windows run across them (which isn't possible AFAIK), we couldn't possibly tell you how they decided to do it, as we're not them. ;) So, to me, this question is too broad (no specific question about a specific problem), opinion-based (if you want to know how "they" did it), as well as based on an incorrect assumption. Feb 3, 2016 at 17:57

1 Answer 1


No interconnection. That server is real. There are shockingly powerful servers on the market, and I too was appalled when I learned of them. Let's see an example:

For a bit under $10,000 you can have the Dell PowerEdge R920. It can handle up to six terabytes of RAM. You can have in it four Intel Xeon E7-4200 line processors, which can have upwards of six cores each.

(I found that machine through Your Data Fits in RAM.)

  • O_O forgive me then, that's insane. Do they interconnect these (other than via network)?
    – cloudnyn3
    Feb 3, 2016 at 17:57
  • @cloudnyn3 Start investigating "Clustering". Feb 3, 2016 at 17:59
  • @cloudnyn3 I don't believe it's possible (at least on Windows) to blend multiple physical machines into one logical computer. Load balancers, however, can make one service be handled by multiple computers.
    – Ben N
    Feb 3, 2016 at 19:48

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