Intel multi-core (Was: Re: [PATCH] AMD multicore detection)

Jung-uk Kim jkim at
Fri Sep 23 09:41:52 PDT 2005

On Thursday 22 September 2005 02:47 am, Colin Percival wrote:
> Martin Nilsson wrote:
> > Jung-uk Kim wrote:
> >> New patch is here:
> >>
> >>
> >> Please test and let me know.  I don't have multicore CPU to test
> >> it for myself. :-(
> >
> > The below is on a Pentium D 820 (Dualcore). I don't like that the
> > two cores are reported as hyperthreading when the CPU does not
> > support hyperthreading (only the 840 EE does). If we ship 6.0
> > with HT disabled I'm afraid that it will turn off one of the
> > cores, right?
> It shouldn't.  Dual-core processors claim to be hyperthreaded, but
> when I wrote the patch which disabled hyperthreading I added extra
> (and rather complicated) code to detect dual-core processors and
> *not* disable them.
> If I got it wrong, please let me know. :-)

I just looked at 'IA-32 Intel® Architecture Software Developer's 
Manual, Volume 3: System Programming Guide':


Use the CPUID instruction to detect the presence of hardware 
multi-threading support in a physical processor. The following can be 

- Hardware Multi-Threading feature flag (CPUID.1:EDX[28] = 1) -- 
Indicates when set that the physical package is capable of supporting 
Hyper-Threading Technology and/or multiple cores.

- Logical processors per Package (CPUID.1:EBX[23:16]) -- Indicates the 
maximum number of logical processors in a physical package. This 
represents the hardware capability as the processor has been 

- Cores per Package (CPUID.4:EAX[31:26] + 1) -- The maximum number of 
cores in a physical package is indicated by one plus the decimal 
value represented in CPUID.4:EAX[31:26].

This seems to be equivalent of AMD's Physical Core Count 
(CPUID.80000008:ECX[7:0] in Intel notation).

But the footnote says:

2. Software must check CPUID for its support of leaf 4 when 
implementing support for multi-core. If CPUID leaf 4 is not available 
at runtime, software should handle the situation as if there is only 
one core per package.

and 'IA-32 Intel® Architecture Software Developer's Manual, Volume 2A: 
Instruction Set Reference, A-M':

Table 3-12, 3-158:

CPUID leaves > 3 < 80000000 are visible only when 
IA32_MISC_ENABLES.BOOT_NT4[bit 22] = 0 (default).

Unfortunately, I think not many BIOSes do that by default.  (BTW, is 
it possible to turn the bit off after boot?)

The leaf 4 (which is what you are actually using here) is unavailable 
unless the bit is 0.  Therefore, it seems there's not much point to 
have the hack you added because you can use EAX[31:26] instead of 
cache properties if it is available.

Jung-uk Kim

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