Process Explorer is an amazing tool from Microsoft with a new version just released last week. I found it purely by accident while trying to track down some dll dependencies. The program is much like the Windows Task Manager that we all use and love, but it does so much more, such as listing a program’s dll files and paths. There’s a lot of information that you can gain from Process Explorer and it can be very useful to diagnose software problems on a machine. Check it out.
Now, I’ve heard before that some parts of AutoCAD are multithreaded. How much though? Using Process Explorer, you can see the activity happening in each thread a program is using. During rendering you can see quite a lot of activity happening in other threads, however during regen, the activity is quite minimal. AutoCAD really does not benefit much from having multiple core processors.
Having attempted some thread-safe programming, I understand how hard it is to make multithreaded software, so I can see why there’s not too much of it out there. It does make the question of quad-core versus dual-core processors a fuzzy one. Personally, I would go with a dual-core processor if the price point is similar to a quad-core if you can get a higher clock speed, but there are a lot of other factors to consider as well such as cache size, chipset type, dual vs. triple channel memory, Turbo Boost/Core, bus speed, and upgradeability to think about when deciding to buy a new computer. A lot of how you make your decisions on system specifications will depends on the software that you are using your computer for.