Win 7 64-bit Professional: How Many Cores Can It Use?

By Savage1701
Mar 10, 2010
  1. I am at a crossroads of building a new system for work use. I have been using Win 7 64-bit since it was released, and am overall happy with it.

    My main question revolves around this - I am building a multi-monitor (4 to eventually 6) system primarily for 2D business work, some SageTV watching, and occasional video editing.

    So, here are the questions:

    Does Win 7 use more than 4 cores? I am of course thinking a SuperMicro dual Xeon board housing a pair of quad-core 1366 Xeons vs, an X58 high-end consumer board using a 920 series 1366 socket cpu.

    Also, I am upgrading any app I can to be 64-bit and multi-core aware. Is it frequently the case that, say, a Corel video editing app that can recognize 4 cores will recognize 8? Or MS 2007 or 2010 - do they see 8 or stop at 4? Obviously, it's nice to be able to do a virus scan and not have the system slowed down either.

    My main concern is this - typically quad cores, especially Xeons, get really expensive as clock speed goes up, so if an app, especially Win 7, won't really go beyond 4 cores, I'd rather have a single, faster (say, 3GHz) consumer 1366 series than 2 slower (say, in the lower 2GHz range) pair of quad-core Xeons.

    Bottom line - just wondering if most apps and Win 7 64-bit Pro especially care about more than 4 cores. If they don't, I'll concentrate on a higher-end 920 series. If they do, I'll go for a pair of quad Xeons at lower speeds. I can certainly see that overall my dual core Win 7 platform, even though it's at a higher clock speed, is slower and less adept at multi-taksing than my Q9550 system that runs about 1/2 GHz slower on each core.

    Thanks for any thoughts.
  2. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    As far as I know, 7 Home Premium and above support two physical processors and up to 256 cores total.

    Most stuff you do will probably be disk I/O sensitive anyway so your disk speed/bandwidth should scale with CPU power, if you don't want bottlenecks there.
  3. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Posts: 1,835

    In other words, the programs you run are only as fast as your hard drives will allow, for the most part anyways.

    The only application that I've seen use more than 4 cores in real time is 3D studio max, and since you don't do any 3D work that does you little good. You would need to do a ton of encoding and video rendering to use 6-8 cores, but it's not super impractical to have all of that extra processing horsepower. honestly, i would opt for a high-end X58 board instead with a single quad core processor which should be plenty powerful for most 2D stuff.
  4. Savage1701

    Savage1701 TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 153

    Thanks to all for their help. I may go the middle ground and splurge for the 6-core EE that's supposed to be hitting the streets any day now.

    Althoug, Supermicro boards have tons of great management features...

    Thanks again.
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