Will MS SQL 2005 Express run and utilize the quad core processor of a Phenom X4 9650?
It will install and run, however Express will only utilize one processor at a time. There is no parallel processing with Express. Windows will see multiple cores as multiple processors so the quad core will be seen as 4 processors.
See the Engine Specifications section of the SQL Server 2005 Express Edition Overview at MSDN.
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It will work. It will utilize ONE PROCESSOR - which you have (cores do not count, they get utilized). iIt will NOT parallelize, but if you get multiple queries at the same time (web applicaiton, for example, many pages being served at the same time), they will execute in parallel.
At least in 2008 R2 - may I ask why you insist on using a 2005 SERIOUSLY OUTDATED database server? It is not the upgrade costs ;)