In this tutorial you’ll learn how to check your system to determine how many physical and logical cores it has, using Windows, Linux, or Mac.
Each OS has been divided into its own section below. Scroll through or use the table of contents to jump directly to the appropriate section.
There are several ways to check the number of cores on your Windows PC or Windows Server. The two easiest methods are by using either Task Manager or System Information.
Using Task Manager to Check the Number of Cores
You can use the Task Manager on your Windows PC to check the number of cores in your system. To do so, just follow these easy steps:
First, open the Task Manager using Ctrl + Shift + Esc, or by entering taskmgr at the command line.
Depending on which version of Windows you are running, the Task Manager will look slightly different.
If you’re running Windows 10 or newer:
Select the Performance Tab. The page will open with the CPU tab already selected.
In the bottom right corner, you’ll see a list of stats including, Base speed, Sockets, and Cores. The number listed next to Cores will tell you the number of physical cores your server contains, while the next item on the list, Logical Processors, shows you the total number of logical cores including hyperthreading.
- Select the Performance Tab. The page will open with the CPU tab already selected.
If you’re running Windows 7 or older:
Select the Performance Tab. Unlike in newer versions of Windows, older versions do not show a list of stats. In order to know how many cores your system has, you must first go to the View tab at the top, select the option labelled CPU History, and make sure the option for One Graph Per CPU is selected.
Once this option is selected, return to the Performance tab, and look at the number of small graphs shown under CPU Usage History. If you have two graphs shown here, you have two cores. If there are four graphs, then you have four cores, and so on.
*Note: these graphs do not account for hyperthreading, only physical cores. If you are unsure if your system uses hyperthreading, you can use the System Information screen to determine if your physical and logical cores are the same value. If your system utilizes hyperthreading, your logical cores (or logical CPU) will be twice the value of your physical CPU.
- Select the Performance Tab. Unlike in newer versions of Windows, older versions do not show a list of stats. In order to know how many cores your system has, you must first go to the View tab at the top, select the option labelled CPU History, and make sure the option for One Graph Per CPU is selected.
- If you’re running Windows 10 or newer:
Using System Information to Check the Number of Cores
The other easy method for checking the number of cores in your system is to use the System Information tool. To do so, just follow these steps:
First, navigate to your Start menu by clicking on the Windows icon in the bottom left corner of your desktop.
- In the search bar that pops up, type in “System Information”, and select System Information from the list of options that appear. This will open a new window.
On the System Information screen, in the box to the right, locate the line item labelled Processor. The information to the right of this will contain information on your processor, including the number of Cores and Logical Processors.
*Note: You may need to hover your cursor over this entry to make the full information appear.
To determine the number of cores in your Linux server, just follow these steps:
While there are many methods within Linux to output the number of cores in your system, the most straightforward way to obtain this information is using the lscpu command. When entered, this command will output a list of statistics related to your system’s architecture, including the number of sockets, cores, and threads.
To determine the number of physical cores your system has, look at the statistic labelled Core(s) per socket, and multiply this by the number of CPU socket(s). If you have 4 cores and only 1 socket, then you have 4 physical cores. If you have 4 cores and 2 sockets, then you have 8.
If your system has hyperthreading, you’ll see a value higher than 1 listed next to Thread(s) per core. To determine the total number of both physical and virtual cores, what’s referred to above as logical processors, multiply the number of threads by your total number of physical cores.
- You can also look at the list item labelled CPU(s) for a total number of cores, including both physical cores and hyperthreading. If your system has no hyperthreading, this number will be the same as your number of physical cores. If your cores are threaded however, it is important to remember that this number takes into account these virtual cores as well.
To determine the number of cores in your Mac, just follow these easy steps:
First, click on the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen. From the drop down menu that opens, select About This Mac.
The System Information window will open. Select the button labelled System Report, which will open a new window containing information about your Mac. By default, it should open on the Hardware Overview page.
Under the list of items, locate the one labelled Total Number of Cores. The value next to this is your total number of physical cores.
*Note: This does not take into account hyperthreading. If your system does have hyperthreading, your number of logical cores will be twice the number of physical cores in your system.
If you are unsure if your system has hyperthreading, you can check both the number of physical cores and logical cores in your Mac using the terminal. To do so:
- Open a terminal window and enter the following command:
sysctl hw.physicalcpu hw.logicalcpu
- This will output two lines. The first, hw.physicalcpu, shows the number of physical cores in your system. This value should match the number next to Total Number of Cores in the System Information window.
- The second line, hw.logicalcpu, shows the number of logical cores. If your system contains hyperthreading, this number should be twice the number of physical cores listed. Otherwise, if you do not have hyperthreading, these numbers will be the same.