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Dual Core and HyperThreading Users Increase Your Computer’s Performance

by Shivaranjan on October 9, 2006


Today while going through Neowin forums I came across a thread in which a user had posted about a patch ( KB 896256) for Windows XP that can improve your Dual core and Hyperthreading enabled computer’s performance. This patch as of now is not available officially from Microsoft’s support site (as the patch is in beta stage), but Microsoft does have a knowledge base article describing about this patch.

From Microsoft Knowledge Base Article:
Computers that are equipped with multiple processors that support processor power management features, such as Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) processor performance states, require Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). Additional updates are available to optimize performance and behavior on computers that are running Windows XP SP2. Without these updates, computers that are equipped with these power management-capable, mobile, dual-core processors may experience decreased performance or unexpected behavior.

Windows XP SP2 is required on computers that have multiple CPUs that support ACPI processor performance states. This requirement includes computers that support the following items:
- Multiple physical sockets
- Multiple-core designs
- Multiple logical threads, such as Intel hyper-threading technology
Because Windows XP was not originally designed to support performance states on multiprocessor configurations, changes are required to correctly realize this support on multiprocessor systems. Windows XP Service Pack 2 includes the required changes to the kernel power manager. These changes make sure that Windows XP correctly functions on multiprocessor systems with processor performance states.

This hotfix also addresses the following issues on computers that have multiple processors that support processor performance states:
- A possible decrease in performance on single-threaded workloads when processor performance states are using demand-based switching.
- The synchronization of the processor Time Stamp Counter (TSC) registers across processors when you use the ACPI Power Management timer on multiprocessor systems.
- ACPI C-state promotion and demotion issues in the kernel power manager.

Note: This solution favors performance gains over power savings. Although benchmark performance scores may improve, battery life could be negatively affected.

This hotfix includes changes to the kernel power manager to track CPU use across the processor package. These changes enable visibility into the true activity level of a CPU complex and therefore help correctly calculate an increased target performance state.

If you have installed this patch and wish to disable it, then follow the instructions given below.

  1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
  2. Right-click HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager, point to New, and then click Key.
  3. Type Throttle for the new key name.
  4. Right-click Throttle, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
  5. Type PerfEnablePackageIdle for the value name.
  6. Right-click PerfEnablePackageIdle, and then click Modify.
  7. In the Value data box, type 0. Make sure that Hexadecimal is selected in the Edit DWORD Value dialog box, and then click OK.
  8. Note You can type 1 in the Value data box to enable the new performance state policy behavior.
  9. Quit Registry Editor.

After installing this patch I did not notice much of a performance improvement in my computer. Dual core Laptops users it is not worth trying for you as Microsoft says that by installing this patch your performance may increase at the cost of your battery life.

If you are interested in increasing your computer’s performance you can download the unofficial beta patch from here.

Warning: Since this patch is in beta phase and is not officially released by Microsoft, you may end up screwing up your computer if you install it. I have tried this patch on my dual core computer and nothing went wrong for me. :D

If you tried this patch then let me know whether you got any performance improvements?

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