Hyper Threading and Multi Core: 7 Differences

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A CPU can come with different features such as multiple cores and hyperthreading which are two different things altogether. If you do not know about these additional features you will not be able to make out how your CPU is making the full use of them.

If you are an average user, reading this article will help you a lot in telling the differences between them quite easily.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Hyper threading is the process in which the physical core is split into two and the operating system thinks that they are two separate cores.
  • Multiple cores refer to the implementation of an Instruction Set Architecture in the die.
  • In hyper threading only one single process is run but depending on the number of cores in a multi-core processor, multiple processes can be run.
  • The logical cores in hyper threading share the resources of the CPU but the multiple cores of the CPU do not share the resources.
  • In hyper threading the different tasks are switched between the threads but there is nothing such happening in the multiple computing engines of a multi-core processor.

7 Differences Between Hyper Threading and Multi Core

Differences Between Hyper Threading and Multi Core

1. Meaning

Hyper threading is the marketing name of Intel for SMT or Simultaneous Multi-Threading.

On the other hand, multiple cores refer to the implementation of an Instruction Set Architecture or an ISA in the package or in the die.

2. Design Fundamentals

Hyper threading is all about splitting a single physical core of a CPU into two parts.

These are called threads, logical cores or virtual cores. In simple terms, it is just offering more than one thread in a core for execution of tasks.

On the other hand, multiple cores, just as it signifies, are having more than one actual physical core in the CPU.

3. Running Processes

In hyper threading, since only one single processing unit is split into two different logical processing units, while running processes it is more like cheating the operating systems that sees them as two separate processing units running two processes at a time.

On the other hand, in a multi core processor, depending on the number of cores, the CPU can run as many numbers of processes at the same time.

For example a dual core can run two separate processes at a time and a quad-core processor can run four different processes and so on.

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4. Sharing of Resources

In hyper threading it is the single physical core in the CPU that powers the logical or virtual cores.

This means that they not only share the liability of processing the tasks but also shares the resources such as the cache memory of the CPU.

On the other hand, in a multi core processor the computing engines works separately and therefore the resources are usually not shared.

5. Working Process

In hyper threading, the threads of a physical core keep on switching between two different tasks but they usually do it only one at a time.

On the other hand, while using a multi-core processor, the multitasking operating systems can actually carry out several tasks at the same time.

It is due to the fact that there are multiple computing engines in the CPU that work separately on different tasks.

6. Power

In hyper threading, though each of the logical cores is the same as the other, none of them separately is as powerful as the physical core of which they are the parts.

They simply work together to enhance the power of the physical core on the whole when hyper threading is enabled.

On the other hand, in a multi core processor, each of the cores are separate and when they work separately the power of the entire CPU is naturally increased and is much more in comparison to hyper threading.

7. Availability

The hyper threading technology is not available in all Intel processors.

It is available in some of the new Intel Core processors designed by Intel and Intel Core vPro, Intel Xeon, and Intel Core M.

On the other hand, the multi-core technology is most commonly available in processors that come with two cores, four cores, and six cores.

Which is Better – Hyper Threading or Multi Core?

It is true that increasing the number of cores in a processor or implementing hyper threading or SMT both means the same thing and serves the same purpose – to add to the thread count of the processor in order to augment its performance.

In hyper threading, the virtual cores created from one physical core enables the processor to assign tasks between the cores in real time.

The technology behind it as well as that of the multi-core processors ideally enhances the performance of a single-core, non-hyper threaded processor.

No matter which particular technology you use, you will surely get a much greater and better performance as compared with the performance offered by any regular processor.

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Still these two are not the same thing, as you can see from the list of differences already.

However, at this point it may not be easy or feasible to say which one among multiple cores and hyper threading is better to go for.

There are a few other things to consider for that which is mentioned below.

The multi core processor adds to the physical processing cores which is much better than a single core processor because it will not have to process a task one at a time on a first-come, first-serve basis.

This is very useful for the users who usually multitask because the tasks will be processed concurrently and therefore would not start piling up thereby creating a lag.

Therefore, a CPU with two or more cores is far better and more efficient for multitasking.

The more the number of cores in the processor, the better it will be since more data can be processed without any drop in the performance.

On the other hand, the hyper threading technology of Intel is actually an attempt to facilitate parallel computation in the CPUs that can be used in the consumer PCs.

It was first released in 2002 on a Pentium 4 desktop processor.

In hyper threading, as said earlier, two virtual cores are created from one single physical core in the CPU.

In spite of being a single core, it therefore appears to be two cores to the operating systems.

The set of execution resources also is only one for each core.

The CPU speeds up the execution of the task by using its own logic and nothing is left waiting for the previous task to be completed to start a new one.

Therefore, hyper threading is actually more of a ‘bonus’ but still it is not a substitute for an additional core.

The advantages offered by hyper threading include:

  • Reducing the workload of the core by splitting it into two virtual cores
  • Increasing the performance of the cores
  • Reducing the processing times of the cores
  • Opening the programs much faster and
  • Making your computer more responsive while multitasking.

In short, the hyper threading technology enhances the processing efficiency of the cores.

On the other hand the advantages offered by multi core CPUs include everything that is offered by the hyper threading technology and more.

In addition to that, these CPUs offer much better performance since these have more physical cores, each of which is much more powerful than two virtual cores.

If things are still not very clear to you, then the following explanation surely would help.

Consider the core of a CPU as your mouth and the threads in it as your hand.

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The process here involves, needless to say, is eating your food.

If you have more than one mouth then you will be able to eat a lot more food at the same time and different types of it as well.

Still, it will not be very much because you have only two hands to put the food into your mouth.

This will create a bottleneck in the operation – which is eating your food. In short, this means that the process will be slow.

Now, imagine that you have several hands to feed in more food but only one mouth to eat.

Then also the same problem would occur – the eventual process will be slow.

However, here the bottleneck will be created by your mouth since it will have limited capacity to take in food.

Finally, imagine that you have several hands and multiple mouths.

Then there would be no issues whatsoever in eating a lot of different types of food at the same time.

This means that it is always good to have a proper balance between the numbers of cores and threads in the CPU so that it can perform at its best efficiency.

In terms of math, it is good to have cores and threads in the ratio 1:2 which is why you see double the thread with respect to cores in the modern CPUs. This means that:

  • 1 core with hyper threading technology will have 2 threads in total and
  • 2 cores with hyper threading technology will have 4 threads in total.

The dual cores in this case, will be able to perform more tasks.

Therefore, a CPU with multiple cores along with hyper threading technology is probably the best way to go ahead if you want faster and better performance from your computer.

Conclusion

Several modern CPUs now come with both hyper threading technology and multiple cores.

In the case of the multi core processors, as you can see, unlike hyper threading, there are no tricks involved.

The CPUs literally have multiple processing units in them which improve its performance dramatically.

About Taylor Swift

Taylor SwiftTaylor Swift, a UOPEOPLE graduate is a freelance technology writer with in-depth knowledge about computers. She loves to play video games and watch movies when she has no writing assignments. Follow Her at Linkedin