Is your OEM notebook or desktop correctly configured in Windows XP to support Dual Cores (regardless if its Intel or AMD based)??
Last Updated: 05-18-2007
It is confirmed that Sager (as well as many other OEMs) DOES NOT configure this hotfix for their Dual Core notebooks (and desktops from other OEMs). Sager's response. -Special thanks to Kilim.
Make sure that the pre-installed OS (Windows XP w/ Service Pack 2) was correctly modified to fully support your dual core CPU. I say this because I have done scouting around retail stores (BestBuy, Fry's, CircuitCity, etc) with notebooks and desktops.... turns out that 100% of all of the dual core systems that I looked at was NOT properly modified to fully support the dual cores within. Tsk Tsk.
The performance of your multitasking and games (ex. BF2, Oblivion, etc) would be a lil F'ed Up if the dual cores are not both being utilized because the setting for your Windows isnt set correctly. This hotfix is for those that want the most out of their Dual Cores. If you are just a casual PC user, this hotfix might not do anything for you. But if you multitask and game, you definitely see an increase in performance. As well as if you do Professional Audio editing and Video editing, this will also help you greatly.
Therefore (here's how to check -OR- do it yourself):
- Windows XP (Home, Pro, MCE) with Service Pack 2 (even when using Apple Bootcamp, NOT Virtual PC)
- Any system (desktop or notebook [even Apple's MacBook's]) with multi-cores, multi-processors, multi-logical processors (Hyper-Threading)
---- Intel: Pentium 4 w/ HT, Pentium D, Core Duo, Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, Multi Core Xeons
---- AMD: Athlon 64 X2, Turion 64 X2, Multi Core Opterons
1) (for Intel CPUs) Check to see if the mandatory Windows XP Hotfix Patch: KB896256 (NOT automatically downloaded with Windows Update) is installed.
if not download KB896256 XP patch and install it.
1) (for AMD CPUs) Check to see if the mandatory Windows XP Hotfix Patch: KB896256 (NOT automatically downloaded with Windows Update) and the AMD CPU drivers are installed.
if not download KB896256 XP patch, AMD CPU Driver and install them. (for AMD Dual Core Optimizer info read Note 2)
Note 1: Only install the AMD Driver if you have an AMD CPU.
Note 2: The AMD Dual-Core Optimizer was AMD's answer to Microsoft's Multi-Core fix... originally, to get the hotfix, one would have to email Microsoft to get it... screw that. Therefore, AMD released their Optimizer to give the public (with AMD CPUs) a way to utilize both cores. If you install the AMD Optimizer and it works without problems, then you would NOT have to install the the WinXP hotfix.
BSOD's (Blue Screens of Death).... If you own a Clevo D900K (A.K.A. Sager 9750, Alienware Aurora m7700, etc) notebook, DO NOT install the AMD Dual Core Optimizer... incompatible. So if you experience BSODs (on any computer) from the AMD Optimizer, then go into Safe Mode and uninstall it. You will still have optimized dual core as long as you do the rest of the guide.
UPDATE: Windows XP Hotfix KB896256 Version 4 (From Microsoft)
All languages available.
(Other Languages) Windows XP Hotfix Patch: KB896256 (from LaptopVideo2go):
**(COPY and PASTE the link onto your browser)**
German (DEU) - http://www.laptopvideo2go.com/drivers/ms_kbs/windowsxp-kb896256-v3-x86-deu.exe
English (ENU)- http://www.laptopvideo2go.com/drivers/ms_kbs/windowsxp-kb896256-v3-x86-enu.exe
Spanish (ESN)- http://www.laptopvideo2go.com/drivers/ms_kbs/windowsxp-kb896256-v3-x86-esn.exe
Portuguese (PTB)- http://www.fileplanet.com/172060/170000/fileinfo/Windows-XP-KB896256-Brazilian-Patch
French (FRA) - http://www.laptopvideo2go.com/drivers/ms_kbs/windowsxp-kb896256-v3-x86-fra.exe
Italian (ITA)- http://www.laptopvideo2go.com/drivers/ms_kbs/windowsxp-kb896256-v3-x86-ita.exe
Dutch (DUT) - http://www.laptopvideo2go.com/drivers/ms_kbs/windowsxp-kb896256-v3-x86-dut.exe
Turkish (TRK)- http://www.laptopvideo2go.com/drivers/ms_kbs/windowsxp-kb896256-v3-x86-trk.exe
Note: This is just to save time. It is okay to restart after installing this hotfix.
2) go to Start Menu > Run. Type REGEDIT and press enter.
The registry location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager should have a key named Throttle there, if not make it by right clicking, point at New > Key... name it Throttle.
3) (Still in registry) Inside Throttle key: should be a DWORD called PerfEnablePackageIdle with the value of 1.
If NOT there,
- right click on Throttle folder,
-- point to New > DWORD... name it PerfEnablePackageIdle.
- then double click PerfEnablePackageIdle
-- change the value to 1
4) Quit Registry.
5) (Optional - read notes first) Now look at your boot.ini to make sure that the command /usepmtimer is there, by right clicking on My Computer go to Properties, click on the ADVANCE tab, then under Startup and Recovery click on Settings, then click on EDIT....make sure your boot.ini has the /usepmtimer in there (located in the last line), if NOT [make a backup of the Boot.ini first] then just copy and paste /usepmtimer in there. (NOT the entire boot.ini example)
Note 1: If you have an AMD dual core and installed the AMD drivers, the /usepmtimer would be inserted into your boot.ini for you.
Note 2: Currently, some new Intel CPUs (ex. Core 2 Duo's) do not need this BOOT.ini command.
Note 3: World of Warcraft [as well as some other applications] has shown some instabilities with this BOOT.ini command, so remove it if you experience any issues.
BOOT.INI example DO NOT COPY ALL OF THIS
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect /usepmtimer
Go to File and then Save (to save the changes to your BOOT.ini).
Restart your computer.
NOTE: The BOOT.ini that I have given was meant for an example only. I would not recommend you to copy all of it and overwrite your own, unless if you are specifically using XP Pro SP2 on the first partition of the harddrive. Everyone else (XP Home, MCE2005, OEM pre-installed it onto different partition, etc.) should just add the /usepmtimer only.
FYI: The /usepmtimer in the BOOT.ini is a "switch" that forces the system to use a steady clock in place of the CPU frequency... for certain timing functions. Thats as basic as you can explain it. So by doing this, the switch gives the system a steady clock to use in place of the CPU frequency.
To test your newly optimized Dual Core system:
I would recommend to compare the before and after scores (from the hotfix) of the following popular benchmarks:
PCMark05 (recommended) -
some parts are multi-threaded, measure the performance of your PC and determine its strengths and weaknesses
3DMark06 (highly recommended) -
multi-thread supported, great to test dual core CPU scores and videocards
single-threaded, less up-to-date than the 2006 version, but still used out there for comparisons. (not that great to reflect optimization difference)
wPrime (highly recommended) -
multi-thread supported, great to test dual core CPU scores... its a multithreaded SuperPI
NBR wPrime Hall of Fame
single-threaded, tests the CPU performance in calculating a specific number of digits of Pi, commonly used in Overclocking to test stability and speed of the system
NOTE: For examples of scores (before & after), check out Kilim's Core Duo notebook review, as well as the others in this forum.
Check out this chart of FPS for BF2 (Battlefied 2) before and after the hotfix.
From Kilim's Sager 5760 (Clevo M570U) Review:
Settings: Video options are initially set at Maximum settings.
AA settings were changed and game rebooted per test.
1680x1050 resolution was achieved as stated by a workaround from WideScreenGamingForum.com while having the setting in-game at Max resolution of 1440x1050 at 60MHz.
I then logged in Single Player mode using Daliant Plant as the test level and used FRAPS for 60 seconds to get the Average FPS while moving on the exact same path from 1 checkpoint to another for each test.
Settings: Prior to running the game, I accessed the out-of-game options.
I used the default Medium, High and Ultra settings initially per test.
Bloom was kept instead of HDR due to nVidia card not able to run both AA + HDR at same time.
Only other options changed are the resolution and AA.
A saved game was made in the very beginning of the game right after the jail cell was opened and the King and the guards move into the dungeon.
I then used FRAPS for 60 seconds to get the average FPS while running out of the jail cell towards the 1st ambush and run back towards the jail cell and back towards the ambush site.
The results speak for themselves... just for the skeptics.
Post your results here if you want, but as the majority that have done the hotfix correctly, a performance increase was the result without any problems.
Hope this helps, game on people,