Caps and Limits on Hardware Resources in Microsoft Windows


Sometime around 3am last October I found myself beating my head up against a server rack. I was frustrated with trying to figure out what was limiting my server hardware. I was aware of a couple limits that Microsoft had placed into its OS software. However, I had no idea how far reaching the limits were. I figured it would be best if I had a better understanding of these hardware limits. So I researched the caps that are placed on the hardware by two of the most popular Operating Systems on the planet: Microsoft Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 editions and REHL.

I have compiled this easy to read superlative analysis of my facts and findings. Read on, I know you are curious to find out what I’ve uncovered.


“They capped and limited US!"

Microsoft Windows Operating Systems

·        Windows 7

a.     Professional / Enterprise / Ultimate

                                                              i.      Processor: 2 Socket limit (many cores)

1.     Core limits:

a.     64-bit: 256 max quantity of cores in 1 physical processor

b.     32-bit: 32 cores max quantity of cores in 1 physical processor

                                                            ii.      RAM: 192 GB limit to amount of accessible

b.     Home Premium

                                                              i.      RAM: 16GB

c.      Home Basic

                                                              i.      RAM: 8GB

d.     Starter Edition

                                                              i.      RAM: 2 GB


·        Windows Server 2008

a.      Standard & R2

                                                              i.      Processor: 4 socket limit – (many cores)

1.      (4 – Parts x 12core) = 48 cores

                                                            ii.      RAM: 32 GB

·        Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation  (R2 releases are 64-bit only)

                                                          iii.      RAM: 128 GB

·        HPC Edition 2008 R2 (R2 releases are 64-bit only)

                                                         iv.      RAM: 128 GB

·        Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter (R2 releases are 64-bit only)

a.     Processor: 8 socket limit

b.     RAM: 2TB

·        Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise (R2 releases are 64-bit only)

a.     Processor: 8 socket limit

b.     RAM: 2TB

Red Hat Enterprise Linux – 64-bit

·         Red Hat defines a logical CPU as any schedulable entity. So every core/thread in a multi-core/thread processor is a logical CPU

·         This information is by Product default.  Not the maximums of a fully licensed/subscribed REHL product.

a.     Desktop

                                                              i.      Processor: 1-2 CPU

                                                            ii.      RAM: 64 GB

b.     Basic

                                                              i.      Processor: 1-2 CPU

                                                            ii.      RAM: 16 GB

c.      Enterprise

                                                              i.      Processor: 1-8 CPU

1.     RAM: 64 GB

d.     *** Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Red Hat would be happy to create custom subscriptions with yearly fees for other configurations to fit your specific environment. Please contact Red Hat to check on costs.



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