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Alert to Dell Pentium 4 Users about Hyperthreading

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July 22, 2009 8:23:37 PM

Several months ago I was surprised to learn that the Dell Dimension 8400 I had happily used for 4 years was working at essentially half power - hyperthreading (HTT) was not enabled - and shocked to learn that the reason was that Dell had shipped Pentium 4 systems with hyperthreading DISABLED. I purchased what was heavily advertised as a dual threaded system and had no idea Dell had "secretly" disabled that feature. So I had used a system for almost 4 years that Dell had intentionally crippled to half power after heavily advertising that feature. And I did not learn of the issue until after the PC ceased serving as my main system. I just cannot understand that - or why they did it. I only learned of the disabilty after reading about it on this forum.

If you are still using a Dell P4 it is easy to check and see if you are using one or two threads. Just open the Windows Task Manager (Cntrl+Alt+Delete) and select the "Performance" tab. If hyperthreading is on - you will have two separate graphs in the "CPU Usuage History " window. I had known that you would have two with dual cores but did not realize you would have two with a single core that is hyperthreaded.

My system was noticeably faster after I enabled HTT - particularly noticeable was the much shorter time required for long tasks such as virus scans and backup, but even web pages seemed to load faster. I wonder how much time was needlessly squandered over the four years this was my main system.

If you have only one graph, you just need to go into the System Setup to enable hyperthreading. Please consult you manual for how to do this.

July 23, 2009 4:11:45 AM

Did all of the CPU's that were shipped with the Dell 8400's have HT?
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July 23, 2009 9:16:59 AM

I don't know.
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July 23, 2009 9:20:42 AM

I don't know. It may also have affected other models as well.
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July 23, 2009 4:13:10 PM

Yeah worked on one recently had a 2.8HT800 with HT disabled, re enabled on is now faster :) 
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August 16, 2009 1:05:07 AM

What probably happened in the 4 year period you had the system the power went out once or twice or you possibly crashed booted a few times. This can in many cases knock out the BIOS memory even if it has a GOOD Battery.

All DELL BIOS if forced to by will reclaim default values if there is a system crash or power failure, the newer XPS line of computers will do this as some systems are shipped with RAID0 or RAID1 hard drive configurations and the BIOS defaults will allow the system to be re-started with a working RAID and no data loss.

This also allows that the computer can be restarted remotely by an online technical support agent with your assistance as they cannot be in your house. It is a rule of thumb if a system wont start that a technician walks you through resetting the BIOS jumper settings to erase the corrupted BIOS memory or even have you remove the CMOS battery to drain BIOS memory. At that point once you are back up and running they normally send you a new CMOS battery if a system is over 1 year old to make sure you do not have future issues.

They do not ship them with Hyper threading disabled I used to work for Dell as an advanced resolutions expert.

Dell also claims no known issues with systems that are shipped as functional and in most cases that can stand pat.

A few times however there is hardware compatibility with a changing software environment that Microsoft has to implement do to industry requirements then some hardware will not function with said new software as the hardware was developed or invented before the new software or programs were developed. That's called end of life hardware and nothing can be done about out dated equipment unless the manufacturer can update a firmware or re-write the drivers for the hardware to match the new software provided by the operating system developers.
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September 6, 2009 12:19:24 PM

I don't believe that Dell sent all systems out with hperthreading enabled. We ordered 3 machines - including this one that I am using - and all three had HT disabled when first run. These were the first machines I had seen with processors able to do HT, so I looked for it, and had to enable it on all 3 machines.

Unfortunately many people call me to "look at my computer for me, will ya?" and every Dell with an HT capable processor has had it turned off...
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September 6, 2009 4:46:45 PM

N8eb said:
I don't believe that Dell sent all systems out with hperthreading enabled. We ordered 3 machines - including this one that I am using - and all three had HT disabled when first run. These were the first machines I had seen with processors able to do HT, so I looked for it, and had to enable it on all 3 machines.

Unfortunately many people call me to "look at my computer for me, will ya?" and every Dell with an HT capable processor has had it turned off...





Hawk Says!

Dell Desktop systems are built for the most part in Round Rock Texas, Dell's Home Base! Find them online and send them an Email to Business development. <parts from other places yes>

They of course wont admit that anything like that ever happened!

Keep in mind for many reasons things can be disabled or enabled!

Simply holding down Ctrl+Alt+C while in a game can turn on and off Dual or Quad cores! You can see your FPS double if you turn the QUAD back on once in game as the DX9 and 10 support for most games launch you into the game on one Core!

Something as simple as that can be the explanation for many things computer related.
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