Hyperthreading is a term you probably seen used when observing hardware specs,or may have come across the term while reading about it in a magazine or on a website.The term may seem a bit confusing or seem like I'm speaking a foreign language,especially if you aren't familiar with inner workings of basic computer hardware . In this installment of Explanation Needed, I'll try to explain as best I can in so many words what exactly is Hyperthreading and its benefits.
Hyperthreading is an Intel technology that has been around for almost 13 years circa 2002, back then it was only available in the Pentium 4 and Xeon processor. After a couple of years in existence,the technology itself was discontinued for various reasons part of which had to do with lack of optimizing software.
Today Hypertreading technology has found many resources to integrate into a whole new generation of processor architecture,thus making the technology relevant again. Those processors are the Core i3,i5 and i7 , which are the current generation Intel processors that is predominately used in most desktop and laptops today.
Enough with the brief history lesson,what exactly is Hyperthreading and what are some of its benefits.
Hyperthreading allows a single processor to behave like two separate processors to a operating system or application. The key function to Hyperthreading within microprocessor's core is to execute two streams of any instruction sent by the operating system.
If you really want the technical science of it all in terms of basic operation,the processor itself divides its power evenly between all working programs by switching it back and forth. The whole process of switching back and forth tricks the computer user,giving the illusion that there is unlimited amount of multitasking going on. I might add,Hyperthreading does not increase the overall speed of the processor.
If you're running heavy duty applications such as 3D rendering,trans coding video or even playing some graphically intense video games,then Hyperthreading processing would be beneficial. You don't see the full effects of Hyperthreading if you're partaking in mundane task on your computer such as web browsing or or playing single mp3 music files. The performance boost with Hyperthreading is said to reach almost 30%,though there are instances where you probably won't see any boost in performance at all.
If there's any ill effects of Hyperthreading it would be overheating. Most hardware pundits recommend that you use a water cool setup to keep the processor running a stable core temperature.
Currently Hyperthreading technology can be found in the Intel Core i7 series processors.