How to Allocate a Quad-Core Processor


Now that many personal computers are equipped with multiple CPUs, ordinary individuals find themselves holding extraordinary computing power. Using any recent release of the Microsoft Windows operating system, you can assign each CPU of a quad-core processor to a specific process or task. This ability can be useful in preventing a single program from dominating the processing capacity of your computer, while allowing other programs to continue to work efficiently. Follow the steps in this guide to allocate individual CPUs in your quad-core processor.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with quad-core processor
  • Microsoft Windows operating system
  • Access the Task Manager by pressing “Ctrl,” “Alt” and “Delete” at the same time on your keyboard. If you're running Vista or Windows 7, select “Start Task Manager” from the resulting menu.

  • Select the “Processes” tab. The processes shown are a list of application files running on your computer. If you have not done so, open the applications you wish to allocate CPUs to using your quad-core processor, then return to the Task Manager.

  • Highlight the application by selecting it from the Processes list. Use your mouse to open a context menu by right clicking. Select “Set Affinity” from this menu.

  • The dialogue box that appears will display each of the four CPUs of your quad-core processor. They will be labeled CPU 0, CPU 1, CPU 2 and CPU 3. Place a check by the box of each processor you want allocated to the selected program. You can use any combination of CPUs to allocate either single or multiple CPUs for each program.

  • Repeat steps 3 and 4 to allocate CPUs from your quad-core processor for as many programs as you like.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use three of the four processors for processing intensive programs like media encoding or 3D animation software. Reserve one processor for less power-hungry programs like word processing, Web browsing and email.
  • Not all programs are designed for use with multiple processors. Check the documentation of the application. If only single processors are supported, these programs will run more efficiently assigned to only one processor.

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  • Photo Credit Christopher Robbins/Photodisc/Getty Images
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