What is Hyper-Threading Technology?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Threading, or simultaneous multi-threading (SMT), in a computer environment, refers to multitasking or multiprocessing of instructions from a single program, that is, more than one stream of information being processed at the same time. This can only happen with applications that are designed to operate in this type of environment. Hyper-threading, in the generic sense, makes a single Central Processing Unit (CPU) function similarly to a dual-processor system. Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology (Intel® HT Technology), provides parallel operation at the thread level on each processor so that multi-threaded software can run more efficiently.

Woman doing a handstand with a computer
Woman doing a handstand with a computer

Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology can run on laptops, desktops, servers, and workstation networks, as long as the computer system requirements are met. The computer system requirements have four parts. It requires Intel® Hyper-Thread Technology-enables chipsets and system BIOS, an operating system that is either enabled or optimized for HT Technology, and a processor supporting Hyper-Thread Technology as well. Hyper-Threading Technology can be combined with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology for even faster processor due to the ability to respond and adapt to the workload in different ways. This added technology will allow the processor to work harder under a greater workload and conserve power when demands are less, while staying within its set operating parameters.

The processors that support Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology include 32-bit, 64-bit and Itanium® 64-bit processors. The cache size ranges from 512 kb to 24 MB, while threads range from two to 16. The processors have between one and eight cores, but this type of microprocessor architecture is claimed to be more efficient than simply adding more cores.

The benefits of Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology include an expected boost in performance with demanding software. Gamers who use high-end games can expect to benefit. Multimedia professionals who are performing audio, photo or video editing and creating or editing images as well as running background applications, like a mail client or virus protection, can expect to find high performance across the board, as can those who are playing music in the background while they work. The change in architecture has led to new courses and training materials for programmers to help them understand how to take advantage of Hyper-Threading Technology.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to wiseGEEK about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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Discussion Comments

anon95000

It's hard to get a clear explanation of what the hyperthreading mechanism is ! We are always given the benefits of hyperthreading but not how it works.

IIUKBlitzII

Thanks Wisegeek for researching HTT.

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