What is Virtual Core? (Explained)

What is Virtual Core

What is Virtual Core?

A virtual core is typically found in a processor and is separated between two areas of the CPU. Technically, the virtual cores are quite different from the physical cores because they do not have anything that practically separates them.

The virtual cores are designed and implemented in a CPU to reduce the workload of the processor by taking on some of the processing jobs of the computer.

However, in doing so, it does not interfere with the working process or the other areas.


  • Virtual cores are separated between two areas in a CPU and are designed to offload the processor by doing some of the processing jobs.
  • Processors using virtual cores typically add only one such core to every physical core.
  • The virtual cores are not like the physical cores of a processor because these cores are not physically separated.
  • Ideally, the virtual core acts as a second pipeline that supplies instructions to the actual processing unit when it sits idle.
  • The hyperthreading technology creates the virtual processing cores in each physical core present in the processor.

Understanding Virtual Core

What is Virtual Core

A virtual core takes away some processing tasks to offload the CPU. These cores are separated between two areas and do not interfere with the working process of the processor but help in expediting the overall process.

The virtual cores typically keep things moving and eliminate the chances of any delays in the processing task by finding empty spaces in each thread and squeezing in the waiting tasks into them.

Typically, there is one virtual core added to each physical of a processor that comes with cores. However, in some CPU designs, this concept is pushed even further.

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In these CPUs, specialized cores are implemented for processing, which can often add up to four or eight of these cores on one single physical core.

Ideally, the similar events or rocks on the full cores are classified with the use of advanced machine learning algorithms.

The virtual cores incorporate full core images, CT, and processed feature detection views, which include microscopic-level data.

These are applied with the petrophysical properties of good well log data in an integrated and more comprehensive analysis and visualization environment.

The features of a virtual core include the following:

  • Data cleansing
  • Data processing
  • Integrated viewer for well logs, volumes, and images
  • Machine learning with cutting-edge detection algorithms
  • Easy navigation from multiple feet of core to millimeter-resolution features

Performance issues:

However, there are some performance related issues with the virtual cores worth knowing at this point.

The additional circuitry needed in a virtual core to add one more pipeline is minimal.

This is usually done to keep the power requirements of these cores down to a minimum, even though it keeps the physical cores busy most of the time.

However, surprisingly, it adds to the power draw in a different way.

According to specific Intel research, it is found that when a virtual core is added to a CPU it generally enhances the performance of the processor by about 30%.

This figure, however, may vary quite significantly based on the application.

While some applications may observe an increase in the performance by nearly twice as much, there may be a few specific applications where the performance boost is minimal.

And, in some cases, especially in the case of the non-optimized software for virtual cores, it may even result in negative scaling.

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There are also some notable security risks associated with involving the virtual core in processing. This is because these specific cores use mostly the same resources used by the physical cores.

This makes it quite difficult to monitor cache hits, access times, as well as the TLB or Translation Lookaside Buffer. This may result in the leaking of encryption keys.

However, this type of side-channel attack vector is quite rare because, in order to perform such attacks, it is required to execute arbitrary code previously.

Apart from that, it is also required to run the code on a specific virtual core, which is related to the physical core which may be running the primary thread you want to monitor.

Nonetheless, to prevent such issues and for security reasons, some serious users recommend disabling hyperthreading and Simultaneous Multithreading or SMT.

What Does a Virtual Core Do?

A virtual Core is a virtual demonstration of processing power in a solitary hardware virtualization. It executes operations or applications just like a physical engine and can run its individual operating system.

Ideally, a virtual core is considered as the second pipeline linked to the same physical core of the CPU which basically keeps the Central Processing Unit busy by providing instructions when it is in an idle state.

The features of the virtual core help it in processing and providing auto-detection as well as displaying different core capabilities such as:

  • Parting fractions
  • Intensity
  • Lamination frequency
  • Dip angles

The virtual cores also come with other capabilities that allow them to offer more accurate and consistent quantitative data interpretation between wells.

Ideally, a virtual core ensures far more efficient use of the resources of the CPU of a computer system.

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This specific feature results in an increased utilization of the actual cores of the CPU, and that too, essentially, at no additional cost.

Virtual Core vs Physical Core

  • The virtual cores execute some part of the processing jobs while, in comparison, the physical cores perform the bulk of it by sharing the whole workload between two or more cores if required.
  • The virtual cores are quite different from the physical cores because they do not have anything which physically separates them.
  • The power for the virtual cores to perform is usually provided by the physical core which then shares the responsibility of processing tasks, but the physical cores are powered by the specific power supply unit.
  • The individual virtual cores are not as powerful as the physical core. However, when combined together their power far exceeds that of the physical cores if hyperthreading is not enabled.
  • The total number of virtual cores may be either equal to or greater than the physical cores of the host machine, depending on the design.


The virtual core is surely not the physical core of the CPU in any way.

Acting as a second pipeline connected to the actual physical core, it boosts the overall efficiency of the system but the shared resources sometimes are likely to cause some exciting safety risks that are not easy, if not impossible, to defend against.

About Taylor

AvatarTaylor S. Irwin 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.

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