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Hyper-Threading: Everything To Know

We explain Intel's Hyper-Threading technology, its pros and cons, and whether or not you should get a CPU with Hyper-Threading.

Are you looking to buy an Intel CPU and have encountered the term “Hyper-Threading”? This article will explain the unique technology found in Intel chips. 

Key Takeaways

  • Intel Hyper-Threading technology splits a core into two threads so that the core can perform more tasks in parallel. 
  • The technology is useful for multi-threaded tasks (like modern graphics-intensive games, video encoding, and rendering workloads). Meanwhile, Hyper-Threading provides no performance improvement in single-threaded tasks (such as games older than 2010).
  • It leads to higher power consumption and heat output. Also, CPUs with Hyper-Threading tend to cost more than those without Hyper-Threading. 
  • A single core with Hyper-Threading does not equal two cores without Hyper-Threading.

Intel Hyper-Threading 

Hyper-Threading is the name of Intel’s implementation of Simultaneous Multithreading Technology (SMT). Hyper-Threading splits a core into two threads (rather than one) to process more workloads than the standalone thread can handle. These threads are also called logical or virtual cores

Intel Hyper-Threading
A simplified representation of Intel Hyper-Threading – Image Credits (Intel)

Each logical processor can function independently of the other in the same core to execute specific threads or instructions. More logical processors mean that more work can be done in parallel. Thus, the cores, and consequently the CPU, can be better utilized to their full potential. 

Advantages Of Hyper-Threading

Hyper-Threading can benefit you depending on the workload. Multithreaded workloads (such as modern graphics-intensive games, video editing software, and graphics rendering software) benefit from Hyper-Threading and perform much better with it than without it. Multitasking (having multiple programs running simultaneously, such as multiple browser tabs, video streaming, and chatting software) is also sped up by Hyper-Threading. 

Also Learn: What Is TDP?

Disadvantages Of Hyper-Threading 

Hyper-Threading has no major disadvantages, as modern games and programs are increasingly becoming reliant on multiple threads. However, CPUs with Hyper-Threading do use more power and generate more heat. Furthermore, CPUs with Hyper-Threading cost more than those without Hyper-Threading. Although, if you get a 10th gen or newer Intel CPU, you will have Hyper-Threading, unless it’s a Celeron CPU

Read: How To Lower CPU Temperatures

Single-threaded tasks don’t benefit from Hyper-Threading. This is especially true for old games (earlier than 2010) that only need a single thread and benefit from high clock speeds instead.

In very rare cases, Hyper-Threading can lead to a performance decrease (though, you most likely won’t encounter such a case). This may occur because the core’s resources, such as cache, execution engine, and functional units, are shared between the two threads in a Hyper-Threaded core.

Hyper-Threaded Core Vs Dual-Cores

It should be remembered that a single core with Hyper-Threading does not equal two cores (without Hyper-Threading). Hyper-Threading does not replicate entire cores; it only doubles the instruction pipeline for a single core to utilize the core more efficiently. 

It’s important to remember this general principle: 

Hyper-Threaded Dual-Core CPU > Dual-Core CPU without Hyper-Threading > Hyper-Threaded Single-Core CPU > Single-Core CPU without Hyper-Threading 

Thus, a single core with Hyper-Threading is better than the same core without Hyper-Threading. The same applies to dual-core CPUs. 

Does My Intel CPU Have Hyper-Threading? 

First off, if you have a Rocket Lake (10th gen) or newer Intel CPU, your CPU has Hyper-Threading support unless it’s one of the Celeron chips. For older CPUs, refer to the specs sheet for that particular CPU.  

Intel Core i5-13600K
Intel’s Core i5-13600K, a CPU with Hyper-Threading (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Hyperthreading support is one of the aspects to look out for when choosing an Intel CPU — read about how to choose a CPU to know what other factors you should consider.

Should I Enable Hyper-Threading? 

If your CPU supports Hyper-Threading, the feature will already be enabled by default. And yes, you should keep Hyper-Threading enabled if you have already invested in a CPU with Hyper-Threading support. It can provide a substantial performance boost depending on your specific workload(s). 

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Intel Hyper-Threading do?

Intel Hyper-Threading divides each core into two threads so that more instructions can be executed in parallel. It keeps the CPU cores from idling and utilizes them more efficiently.

Does Hyper-Threading improve FPS?

Almost every modern game, especially graphics-intensive ones, can utilize Hyper-Threading to provide better performance. However, games older than 2010 generally won’t benefit from Hyper-Threading, and FPS will not be improved.

Should I disable Hyper-Threading?

If you have an Intel CPU that supports Hyper-threading, you should keep it enabled as it can provide significant performance improvement, and its disadvantages are minimal.

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What started out as a love for PC gaming turned into an enthusiasm for PC tech and hardware. Ali is a high school graduate who aspires to be a dentist. On the side, Ali likes to keep up with the latest in PC tech, and write about it.


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