Confusion reigns about licensing, with the No. of processors that can be engaged by various versions of 2003/ 2008 server. Now that we have 6 core AMDs and future 8 core Intels, I wonder if hardware is going to waste all over the world. I have a client that runs three Dl580 G5s (Win 2003 Server Standard), with two quad cores each. If the doc is to be believed their OS can only utilize 4 processors/cores, not the 8 that they possess.

I am looking for some type of utility that will tell me how many cores can be brought into play with a mix of Windows programs. I am not sure if benchmark programs somehow use extra cores behind Windows back which would give me a false reading on how many cores can be used.


If you need a programmatic way, there is the environment variable NUMBER_OF_PROCESSORS or there are the WMI interfaces. But as Multiverse said, you can't use the processor without going through the OS, and Task Manager will tell you the truth.


Not sure why you are confused. Microsoft has clearly stated since the release of multicore processors that they were licensing PER SOCKET, not per core (Oracle, is (was?) licensing per core, for example).

Server 2003 and 2008 are BOTH multicore aware. And 2008 R2 will increase the maximum supported cores to 256.

Being Multicore aware means that the DL580s DO see all the appropriate cores. Further, if you add in hyperthreading for some newer CPUs, you will see, for example, a single 4 core hyperthreaded cpu will appear to the OS as EIGHT processors. Task manager correctly displays these.

Keep in mind the access to the CPU is through the kernel - you CANNOT "use cores behind the back" of Windows.

As for a specific third party utility... I know of no such utility and would see no point to one so I have strong doubts one would exist or be created. In any case, such a utility would have to rely on the OS, in which case Task Manager does the trick.

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