Letting us know what operating system you're using would give people a chance of answering your question. This may not apply to you, but Mac OS X 10.6 changed the way Macs distribute tasks among processors.
using mac os 10.6.2
would like to deploy to windows machines some of which have multiple processors
Thank you for your post.
Currently, FileMaker Pro is a single-threaded application. It will not take advantage of multiple processors. On the other hand, FileMaker Server will take advantage of multiple processors.
Given the price & performance of SSD on machines like the 2011 Apple hardware (iMac's, MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, etc.) it seems that the assumption that I/O is the main bottleneck is rapidly becoming obsolete.
I have a MBP with 8GB RAM, two 240GB SSD (6Gb OWC), and quad-core 2.0GHz processors -- and the disk activity is almost nothing when dealing with a 2.79M record database; most of the time is spent waiting for the single-thread CPU throughput to complete (easily seen via an open Activity Monitor window, with the dock icon showing CPU usage and the main Activity Monitor window showing disk activity. With the advent of the Thunderbolt interface, CPU time will rapidly become a major constraint.
FMP really needs to make the system multi-threaded -- indexing (a highly parallel operation) is one tiny example of where the throughput ought to be able to be cut to least 1/4 the elapsed time on such a machine. (When FMP 11v.04 indexes a new field in the aforementioned database, I watch the progress bar move for a few 10's of seconds while the CPU usage is 100% on only one thread ... and the I/O is virtually nothing until the indexing is complete and the cache is forced to disk -- and that I/O happens almost unnoticeably fast.)
One should not need the Server edition to take advantage of the system performance possible; moreover, I read at least one report that even Server edition does a rather poor job utilizing multiple CPU's (only in that each user connection can be a separate CPU "load" ... not that the activity by a single user effectively uses multiple processors.