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Hyper-threading Processors

Posted: Dec. 5, 2011 - Jim Bernstein

The processor or CPU is the heart of your computer and performs all the processing or calculations your computer needs to do in order to perform its tasks. There are different types of processors and they are getting faster and more advanced at an alarming rate. Some processors have features that others don't and perform better than others.

Hyper-Threading Technology (HTT) is Intel's term for their implementation of simultaneous multithreading technology (SMT) that started with the Pentium 4. The theory is to place two logical processors into a single CPU die allowing multiple threads to run simultaneously. A single processor supporting Hyper-Threading Technology presents itself to supporting operating systems and applications as two virtual processors.

This allows a single Pentium 4 processor to function as two virtual or logical processors but will not achieve the same level of performance as 2 separate processors. This allows the processor to take advantage of resources that otherwise would sit idle, and get more work done in the same amount of time.

Multithreading capability is built in to operating systems such as Windows 2000, XP and Linux. Intel claims up to a 30 percent gain in performance. Performance gains vary with certain applications and some programs may actually slow down. Hyper-Threading Technology requires a computer with an Intel Pentium 4 processor supporting Hyper-Threading Technology and a Hyper-Threading Technology enabled chipset, BIOS and operating system. Current Pentium 4 Processors use Hyper-Threading, but the next-generation cores such as the Merom, Conroe and Woodcrest will not.


 

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