Hyper Threading and Turbo Boost: 8 Differences

Hyper threading and Turbo Boost are two different technologies supported by a CPU that are quite different from each other though their purpose is the same, which is to enhance the performance of the processor.

Most users know the difference between them simply based on their definition but know less or nothing about the other differentiating aspects. This limited knowledge may make it very difficult for them to make a choice between the two.


  • Hyper threading is more power efficient than Turbo Boost technology because this technology helps in making the best use of the utilized or underutilized resources by splitting the physical cores into two.
  • When Turbo Boost is enabled, a larger number of requests can be processed because the higher speed of the cores can reduce the latency significantly.
  • Hyper threading technology actually tricks the operating systems to think there are two separate cores but Turbo Boost technology simply overclocks the unused cores automatically when needed.
  • Heat is not generated as much in hyper threading as it is in Turbo Boost.

8 Differences Between Hyper Threading and Turbo Boost

Differences Between Hyper Threading and Turbo Boost

1. Power Efficiency

The CPUs with hyper threading technology are relatively more power efficient because the mechanism divides a physical core into two and allocates the job to each to work in parallel.

It typically uses the unused or underutilized resources.

On the other hand, the Turbo Boost technology is known to consume more power when in action as it uses additional resources for that and increases the overall speed of the cores by a significant margin.

2. Number of Requests Processed

When hyper threading technology is used, the efficiency of the CPU cores is enhanced and it can handle extra requests per second.

However, with the use of Turbo Boost technology, the CPU can handle much more requests per second.

3. Latency

Even if you use hyper threading technology, a CPU will not be able to do much about the long tail latency that it is typically known for.

On the other hand, the increased operating speed of the cores of the CPU due to the use of Turbo Boost technology can reduce latency quite significantly.

4. Found In

Turbo Boost feature is typically found in all of the new processors of Intel but hyper threading technology, on the other hand, is available in most of them but not all.

5. Performance Level and Speed

The hyper threading technique divides the physical cores into two but that does not mean that the performance level and speed will also be doubled.

There will be a notable increase though. This is because the cores, or threads to be precise, will be using shared resources.

On the other hand, with the use of Turbo Boost technology, which increases the overall frequency of the CPU cores, the increase in the level of performance and its speed will be much more in comparison to using hyper threading technology.

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6. Working Process

In hyper threading technique the physical cores are split into two to perform as two separate logical cores and trick the operating systems and apps to increase the performance.

On the other hand, in Turbo Boost technique, the cores that are being used are overclocked automatically when it recognizes that there are unused cores.

7. Heat Generation

Since the increase in speed is not much in the hyper threading mechanism, the heat generated during the operation of the processor is not much.

On the other hand, the increased operation speed of the cores of the CPU supporting Turbo Boost technology results in much higher heat generation.

This means that it will need an efficient cooling solution. The better it is, the higher the cores can go in terms of clock speed when turbo-boosted.

8. Technical Aspects

In technical terms, the hyper threading is actually determined or managed by the scheduler.

It decides what type of job will be done by each part of a single core.

In simple terms, it divides the job between the two virtual cores within one physical core and this allows higher usage time.

On the other hand, the Turbo boost technology enhances the frequency of each of the cores of the CPU automatically much higher than the average limit but keeps everything within the voltage, power and temperature threshold.

It also considers other factors for it such as the number of cores that are being used and their usage.

Which is Better – Hyper Threading or Turbo Boost?

It is difficult to answer this question in just a few words or in a couple of sentences.

These two technologies, as you can see from the above compilation of differences, serve the same purpose but in a different way.

Therefore, it is for the users to decide which one of these two technologies will be best suitable for their type of jobs.

In order to help you do that in the right way, here are a few other facts and information just for you.

Hyper threading technology is that which helps the CPU to run numerous threads all at the same time.

This, in turn, helps in making the best use of the Execution resources available in it.

In this specific technique, a single physical core poses as two distinct cores, as said earlier, which helps in finding instructions from two different addresses alternatively.

On the other hand, when you consider the Turbo Boost technology, it simply pushes the most important part of the processor beyond its speed limit.

However, this limit is restricted to the power and thermal limitations of the system itself on the whole.

Therefore, this translates to conservation of a lot of energy when the other components of the CPU are not active, for example the Graphics Processing Unit or GPU and the other cores of the CPU as well.

This additional power can be redirected to those vital and active components of the CPU such as the core that is currently running a heavy single threaded program.

This will enable it to run at a higher clock speed and voltage which will, in turn, boost its performance at the same time.

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Now, take a look at the similarities in these two specific technologies for a much better understanding.

Both, the hyper threading technology and the Turbo Boost technology, are innovative and useful features owned by Intel.

And, though you can enable or disable hyper threading in your CPU from the BIOS setup of your system, you cannot activate whenever you want.

Just like Turbo Boost, this feature is also activated by the CPU and that too when it feels that it is necessary.

Hyper threading is a specific mechanism that is best applied on apps and operations where it is needed to schedule the multiple tasks more efficiently and intelligently.

For example, these tasks can be anything that needs intense multitasking such as:

  • 3D rendering
  • Animation
  • Video editing and others.

Hyper threading technology will help in ensuring that there is literally no idle time on your CPU.

This is because it will help the CPU to push the lighter tasks to one particular process and the heavy apps and programs on the other.

Now, what about Turbo Boost?

This technology helps in using more dynamic overclocking processes so that the CPU can attain an operational speed that is much higher in comparison to the actual processing speed configured for it.

This technology helps in determining how close the CPU is to its optimal TDP or Thermal Design Power by monitoring its current usage.

This in turn helps it to compute that highest amount of power the CPU is actually supposed to use to operate.

If it is found that the CPU is operating well within its designated limits, Turbo Boost sets in.

The primary objective of this innovative and useful technology is to push the processing power of the CPU to a much higher level.

It typically operates in dynamic increments.

And, it continues to scale it up higher and higher till the time the frequency touches the maximum boost level permitted or the CPU reaches closer to its upper limit of TDP.

However, all these will not be done at random. On the contrary, everything will depend on several factors and parameters that will be taken into account by the CPU such as:

  • The current workload handled by it
  • The number of cores available in it
  • The current temperature level of it and
  • The current and requisite power consumptions.

If these variables are found to be close to the lower limit of the CPU then Turbo Boost will set in and offer scalability and optimal performance for the specific apps and requesting processes.

However, the Turbo Boost technology increases the operational speed of only, and only, the busy cores, and that too as long as the total number of these cores is not too high.

It will also consider whether or not the set conditions are met, such as the CPU is not too hot for example.

When the number of threads increases there will be a gradual drop in the frequency of the CPU cores until the normal frequency value is reached.

Though the exact figures may differ from one type of CPU to another as well as on the operating conditions, usually the execution times will display a drop in performance at the following rate:

  • When there are 1 and 2 threads, the cores will run at full speed
  • When there are 3 and 4 threads, the performance will drop by roughly 5%
  • When there are 5 and 6 threads, the performance will drop by roughly 14%
  • When there are 7 and 8 threads, the performance will drop by roughly 18%
  • When there are 9 and 10 threads, the performance will drop by roughly 20 % and
  • When there are more than 10 threads, the performance may drop by roughly 24%.
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Therefore, with all that said, it can be rightfully said that you actually cannot choose between using hyper threading technology and Turbo Boost technology just like that and according to your wish.

It is actually decided by Intel itself as to which should be activated or disabled.

For example:

  • Hyper threading in Core i3 CPUs is enabled but no Turbo
  • Turbo is enabled in Core i5 CPUs but no hyper threading
  • In Core i7 CPUs both are enabled and
  • In Intel Pentium and Celeron processors you will get neither hyper threading nor Turbo Boost.

As for the mobile CPUs, there is no Turbo Boost or Hyper threading in the Core i3 mobile CPUs which is the same as the Core i3 desktop processors.

However, both Core i5 and Core i7 mobile CPUs have Turbo Boost technology and hyper threading technology both in them.

Therefore, considering all these processors, it can be concluded that neither of the two technologies, Turbo Boost and hyper threading, is the best option.

On the contrary, when it comes to performance, having a larger number of cores is the best option.

And, if the processor is overclockable, the higher number of cores will help a lot in performing multithreaded tasks since you will get higher clock rate due to overclocking.

So, it depends on the individual users, their computing needs, the type of CPUs in the options list, and the purpose for which the system is being used.

Every processor has its respective purpose and uses.

Turbo Boost technology will simply provide auto overclocking typically based on the factory settings and hyper threading facilitates in multithreaded tasks, both when the favorable conditions are met.

To be more specific, for an everyday user or an office user, having neither Turbo Boost technology nor hyper threading technology will make any significant difference in their computing tasks.

The same is applicable when you use the system for only basic entertainment purposes and do not have any plan for heavy tasking, or using intensive apps and programs, or playing the latest games.


This article surely has made you much more knowledgeable now about the differences between hyper threading and Turbo Boost technology that you longed to know.

With such knowledge you can surely make a choice as to which to use for doing your kind of computing tasks.

About Taylor Swift

Taylor SwiftTaylor Swift, a UOPEOPLE graduate is a freelance technology writer with in-depth knowledge about computers. She has an understanding of hardware and technology gained through over 10 years of experience. Follow Her at Linkedin

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