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Tip of the Day
Language: 2000
Expertise: Beginner
Mar 20, 2000

Dual Processor Support

Question:
Does Microsoft plan on implementing dual processor support in Windows "Millenium" and will it be based on NT?

I'm just trying to decide whether I should upgrade my Win98 machine to Win2K, or wait for the Millenium version. I want to take advantage of my dual Celeron 466's. I also want the reliability of the NT core. Is Win2K my best choice?

Answer:
Understand that I haven't really kept up much with the pseudo-32-bit Microsoft operating system family (Win9x), so the following is opinion—based on a couple of news reports and a minimum of facts.

It is my understanding that Millennium will be the "last" of the Win9x line, and that Neptune will be first of the NT kernel-based consumer operating systems. However, since Microsoft has preached and promised ever since Win95 that each release would be the "last", I'm understandably a little skeptical.

That said, the decision is not necessarily an easy one. It's easy for me to say, "just use Win2K", and that would certainly be my preference, but it's not the right answer for all users. In particular, the Win9x line has had, and still has, a far broader and more forgiving hardware selection available, and that may be important in some cases.

Win2K is far, far more stable then any of the Win9x family, and somewhat more stable than NT 4.0. Win2K Pro supports 2 processors (although you may have to minimally install NT 4.0 first—with no applications—then upgrade to Win2K to get it to stick), while NT Server supports 4 to 8 processors. With the addition of some critical testing tools that Microsoft has made available for 3rd party device driver developers, adding hardware to Win2K should be a less painful and nerve-racking procedure.

Assuming you have, or are planning on adding, enough memory (with two processors, I'd consider 256 megs to be minimum), then my choice would be to go to Win2K Pro now, rather than waiting an indeterminate time for the release of Neptune. It certainly is a pleasure to seldom have to reboot the OS, even on a workstation heavily used in testing beta products.

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