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Hyper-Threading

Contributor(s): Reza Nazari

Hyper-Threading is a technology used by some Intel microprocessor s that allows a single microprocessor to act like two separate processors to the operating system and the application program s that use it. It is a feature of Intel's IA-32 processor architecture.

With Hyper-Threading, a microprocessor's "core" processor can execute two (rather than one) concurrent streams (or thread s) of instructions sent by the operating system. Having two streams of execution units to work on allows more work to be done by the processor during each clock cycle . To the operating system, the Hyper-Threading microprocessor appears to be two separate processors. Because most of today's operating systems (such as Windows and Linux) are capable of dividing their work load among multiple processors (this is called symmetric multiprocessing or SMP ), the operating system simply acts as though the Hyper-Threading processor is a pool of two processors.

Intel notes that existing code will run correctly on a processor with Hyper-Threading but "some relatively simple code modifications are recommended to get the optimum benefit."

This was last updated in October 2006

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