Hyper threading in a processor increases its speed and efficiency. In addition to that, there are several other benefits of this technology and, of course, there are some downsides of this technology as well which may not be known to you.
It will be of great help for you to know all of them and for that you will not need to go through the hassle of looking in different websites on the internet because you are already reading a worthy article which entails just those. So, continue reading.
In This Article
- The virtual or logical cores enhance the performance of the processor and reduce the workload on the cores of the processors as well as the time of execution of an instruction.
- This technology allows running several programs at a time and reduces issues like cache misses, idle time and resource utilization, and helps in multitasking, rectifying branch mispredictions, and switching resources.
- This technology highly depends on the hardware and the software available along with the CPU support provided.
- Hyper threading might increase the temperature of the CPU and cannot help much if the number of cores is fewer in the first place.
- Hyper threading cannot be activated or deactivated from the BIOS and it will also consume more power and may result in cache thrashing.
Hyper Threading Processor Pros
1. Enhanced Performance
One of the biggest advantages of Hyper Threading is the boost in performance of the CPU due to the increase in the number of cores in it.
Each of the actual physical cores is divided into two virtual cores called threads.
These logical cores increase the number of cores of the CPU and they trick the operating system, applications, and CPU-intensive programs to make them think that these are actual cores.
2. Reduced Execution Time
Since a dual core behaves like a quad core CPU and a quad core behaves like an Octa-core CPU and so on, the programs and applications run much faster and it reduces the instruction execution time significantly.
According to a statement of Intel, the speed of performance of a CPU can be enhanced by anywhere between 15 to 30% with the use of Hyper Threading technology.
3. Reduces CPU Burden
Since the tasks are divided among the cores and their respective threads, use of Hyper Threading technology will reduce the burden of the CPU.
This is another reason for the CPU running faster.
4. Run Multiple Programs
You can run several demanding programs and apps at the same time on a device that is equipped with a CPU that supports Hyper Threading technology.
The CPU will not feel the extra workload and therefore the performance will not be affected.
5. Cache Misses Resolved
If the CPU, or the application and even the system wants to retrieve some data from the cache but does not find it there, it is called a cache miss.
This happens when different data is scattered across the memory in different parts.
The CPU will then turn on to the RAM to access the desired data which takes a long time.
While the RAM retrieves the data, the CPU core sits idle.
With the use of Hyper Threading technology such situations do not happen because the CPU continues to work while one core executes the task and the other core hangs around for the data to be retrieved.
6. Use of Idle Time
A few parts of the CPU, referred to as execution units, usually remain idle.
This is a common issue that affects the performance especially when several instructions are required to be executed one after the other.
With the use of the Hyper Threading technology this idle time is not only reduced but is also utilized for beneficial purposes by helping the cores work in parallel.
7. Increase Resources and Multitasking
When you use Hyper Threading technology, the number of resources available to the CPU is increased which eventually helps it in performing each task independently.
This, once again, reduces the idle time of the cores and also allows you to multitask easily and more efficiently.
The Hyper Threading technology will enable the CPU to handle more data in less time and also run more data in the background without causing any disruption which is ideally required for multitasking.
8. Rectify Branch Mispredictions
There is a circuit called the branch predictor which guesses the direction of a branch before it moves into a particular path.
The primary objective of it is to speed up the execution of tasks and enhance the performance, if only the branch predictor predicts the correct path of the code that is.
Or else, the core has to start once again from the beginning.
When you use Hyper Threading technology, the second thread will take care of the execution of tasks by utilizing the resources and the first thread will wait for the core to rectify the issue due to branch misprediction.
9. Switching Resources Between Threads
With the use of Hyper Threading technology it is very easy to switch resources between threads.
This is another feature that helps the users to multitask more efficiently.
Every thread created by the programs on the computer when these are opened and run is assigned with a particular task.
This helps the programs to run smoothly.
However, it needs constant supply of resources which is ensured by the Hyper Threading technology by switching them between the threads.
For example, a particular program such as a video game can be brought to the front and several other programs can be kept running in the background.
10. Design and Development
Though not directly, use of Hyper Threading technology also allows designing and developing smaller processors without a large number of cores included in them.
This increases the number of transistors actually within the given space and also helps in overclocking or maximizing the processing frequencies.
11. Cost Effective
Though it may sound contradictory since the cost of CPUs with Hyper Threading technology costs more than those that do not support it, ultimately using such CPUs can prove to be very cost effective.
With this technology each core can run two threads and it copies only specific memory elements and not all of the components in the processor chip.
This increases the efficiency of the CPU but the size of the chip die is increased only by 5%.
This additional cost to the chip is quite insignificant in comparison to the improvement gained in speed.
Ideally, the Hyper Threading technology entails the microprocessor chip itself only and does not need any external components.
Hyper Threading Processor Cons
12. Dependent on Software and Hardware
The boost in core and performance of the CPU due to the use of Hyper Threading technology is highly dependent on specific software and hardware.
As such, these benefits cannot be enjoyed only while using specific applications and not all.
For example, it is not beneficial for serial apps when one task must be completed to start performing on the second.
Therefore, the tasks that work in parallel with others can only benefit from the use of Hyper Threading technology since different tasks can be assigned to different threads.
13. CPU Support
Another significant problem with the Hyper Threading is that not all CPUs support this technology.
This is once again due to the fact that Hyper Threading is a hardware-related technology.
Also, those specific CPUs that support this technology may not embrace it wholly.
Therefore, while choosing a CPU you will need to make sure that the processor supports this Hyper Threading technology in the first place.
14. CPU Temperature
The temperature of the CPU may increase when you use Hyper Threading technology.
This is much contradictory to the common belief that it reduces the temperature of the CPU since the programs run faster.
On the contrary, the temperature rises because more threads are involved in the operation.
Therefore, you will also need to invest in a proper cooling system in order to use this technology.
You can check the degree of rise in temperature while using Hyper Threading technology from the BIOS of your system as compared to the temperature generated when this feature is not active.
15. Insufficiency of Cores
The use of Hyper Threading technology cannot solve the problem of insufficient cores even if the technology divides each physical core into two virtual cores.
These logical cores inside a physical core truly enhance the efficiency of the core by creating more threads but it does not translate to a higher number of cores.
Therefore, this technology is not useful for those specific programs that need more physical cores and not virtual cores to run smoothly.
Though the CPUs are core dependent, if the total computing power is lacking, an additional number of threads will not be of much help.
The performance of the entire CPU does not double with the use of the Hyper Threading technology.
It simply enhances the efficiency of each of the cores to run at their utmost performance potential.
Performance improvements are typically dependent on the applications used.
You can enable or disable Hyper Threading technology from the BIOS of your system but as a user you cannot activate or deactivate this feature at any given time as you wish.
It is pretty much similar to the Intel Turbo boost technology which is typically activated by the CPU only and that too under specific conditions.
18. Power Consumption
Another significant issue of the CPUs supporting Hyper Threading technology is higher power consumption in comparison to those CPUs that do not support this technology.
This is because the CPUs use more threads in parallel and the entire area of the core needs to be powered on whether or not it is in a stand-by state.
This high power consumption can be a significant issue for mobile computing and for the server farms.
19. Cache Thrashing
There is also a notable increase in cache thrashing seen in the CPUs that support the Hyper Threading technology in comparison to those that do not support it.
This is caused in the computer activity due to too much use of resources that result in failure to progress or inconsistency in the caching system.
This makes the system either run slow or use the CPU more. This increase can be as much as 42% according to some reports.
Also, when you compare this specific aspect with the cores that come with multiple cores it is reduced by as much as 37%.
So, thanks to this article, you now know the different advantages and disadvantages of Hyper Threading technology.
You can now weigh the two along with your computing needs and preferences and decide whether or not you want this feature in your CPU.