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You think you're running a dual processor system... but does Windows?

By Craig Anderton



Dual processing systems can help split the CPU load over two CPUs, thus allowing for better performance. But just because you have two processors doesn't mean that your system is set up correctly to handle them, and programs may need to have a preference enabled in order to "see" both processors.


To make sure Windows XP recognizes that you're using dual processors:

1. Open the Task Manager by hitting Ctrl-Alt-Del.

2. Click on the Performance tab. You should see two graphs under "CPU usage History."

3. If you do not see two graphs, there are three possible reasons:

  • You are using Windows XP Home instead of Windows XP Professional. The former does not recognize dual processors, the latter does.

  • There is a problem with the motherboard.

  • View is not set correctly. On the Windows Task Manager screen, go View > CPU History > One Graph per CPU. If One Graph, All CPUs is selected, you will not see the two graphs.


Windows can show you the activity happening with both processors in a dual CPU system.


  • This monitor shows the amount of processor load at any given moment. You may find this monitor more useful than the CPU usage meters included with various software programs as it shows what's happening with your total system, not just a particular program.

Enabling/Disabling Dual Processing in Cubase SX

Although most software will work with dual processing systems, some won't, and it may be necessary to disable mulitprocessing. Here's how to do this with Cubase SX 3.1.

  1. Go Devices > Device Setup.

  2. Select VST Audiobay.

  3. Click on Expert.

  4. The Multiprocessing parameter check box is toward the left side (circled in red for clarity). Click to enable, click again to disable.


In Cubase SX, you can decide whether to use multiprocessing or not.


5. Click on OK, click on OK again for the Device Setup window, and you're done.


Enabling/Disabling Dual Processing in Sonar

Sonar is another program where you can specify a multiprocessing engine. Here's how to do this with Sonar 5.

  1. Go Options > Audio.

  2. Click on the Advanced tab.

  3. Click on Use Multiprocessing Engine.


Sonar's Multiprocessing option is found in the Audio Options section, under the Advanced tab. 


4. Click on OK to exit the Audio Options window -- done.

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