In the world of personal technology, dual-processor motherboards and single processor motherboards are what make a computer work.
The two types of motherboards have their own unique features. While it’s true that a dual-processor board costs more than an equivalent single-processor motherboard, the increased performance is good enough to justify the extra cost for some professionals and multimedia enthusiasts. But you don’t have to spend your hard-earned money just because you have a few bucks. There are ways of getting around spending more money for something you may not need just yet.
Single CPU vs Dual Processor Motherboard
Let me explain: I recently built a new multimedia machine based on an Intel 875P chipset and two Xeon CPUs running at 2.0 GHz, a KX133 chipset northbridge, and 1 GB of DDR400 memory for about $2200 (in parts). This was one of those cases were buying off the shelf made sense—I’m doing moderate-to-intensive audio, video production, and image processing work. None of the off-the-shelf systems came even close to what I wanted in price or performance. Before you say it: Yes, I know that this system is bordering on ridiculous overkill for some tasks—but that’s my point!
Let me also clarify that while I think buying a single CPU motherboard is an option for people doing less demanding applications, you should look at dual processors if you plan to do any kind of simulation/modeling/graphics rendering work where NUMBER OF PROCESSORS is one of the major factors in how fast your computer will be (such as 3D modeling). Also keep in mind that if can use multiple CPUs without incurring too much overhead in your applications, you actually gain even more than a proportional performance boost.
What I don’t recommend doing is trying to hack a copy of Windows and some applications onto a dual-processor motherboard with just one CPU installed. By all means, upgrade the BIOS on both processors if necessary (and it often will be). But there’s no point in paying for something you may not use now or ever. In such cases, you might as well save money by buying an off-the-shelf single-processor system. For example, I didn’t need my $2200 box yet—but when I do, it’ll run faster than any off-the-shelf system available at that price today.
Dual Processor Motherboard:
A dual-processor motherboard is made to hold two processors instead of one. An example would be the AMD K8 Opteron 170 Dual-core 1.6 GHz Socket 939 Motherboard that is designed specifically for server use but can also be used in PCs at home if an upgrade from a last-generation single processor board is desired. It can also be found as a 1746 Single-Core 2.4Ghz Socket F+Opteron 170 Intel DP GbE ATX Server Board for PCs and other devices that are sold through online stores such as Bizrate. The most notable difference between a dual processor board and a single processor board is the type of sockets available to take in processors. Dual-processor motherboards contain two different types of sockets that allow for either Intel’s or AMD’s line of processors to be used interchangeably, depending on the motherboard maker’s specifications. Single-CPU boards don’t have this feature because they can only handle one processor at a time which could lead to confusion over which socket an Intel or AMD CPU would fit into properly.
A typical setup for dual-processor servers looks like this: two complete systems sharing the same memory and I/O interface, using a special bridge chip to communicate between the two chipsets. This “bridge” is sometimes referred to as an interconnect controller hub or ICH for short. The advantages of this configuration are numerous, including lower cost than a single-processor configuration that would offer comparable performance and increased reliability should one processor fail. Additionally, tasks such as backups can be performed simultaneously on both processors (for example), thus reducing the duration of operations requiring system resources in half.
Single Processor CPU Motherboard:
A single-processor CPU is designed for handling one computer chip instead of two. It differs from a dual-processor board because it has only one type of socket available. An example of a single processor board is the Supermicro X8DTH-i Dual LGA 1366 Intel 5520 Quad DDR3 1600 ATX Server Motherboard that can be found on online stores like NewEgg. It doesn’t make sense to have a socket for each individual CPU with the number of CPUs on motherboards these days, so instead an additional socket is designed to be disabled in the BIOS. The additional sockets are left on the board, however, as it would break compatibility for existing processors. It’s cheaper to leave the extra two or four CPU pins on the board than having to redesign a new motherboard when 8 core processors become available in a few years’ time.