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Threading Technology

Several threading techniques are used to speed up processor efficiency: multithreading and HT (Hyper-Threading Technology). A thread is a small piece of an application process that can be handled by an operating system. An operating system such as Windows schedules and assigns resources to a thread. Each thread can share resources (such as the processor or cache memory) with other threads. A thread in the pipeline might have a delay due to waiting on data to be retrieved or access to a port or another hardware component. Multithreading keeps the line moving by letting another thread execute some code. This is like a grocery cashier taking another customer while someone goes for a forgotten loaf of bread. Figure 3.10 shows this concept.

Figure 3.10

Figure 3.10 Multithreading

Intel’s HTT (Hyper-Threading HT or HT Technology) allows a single processor to handle two separate sets of instructions simultaneously. To the operating system, HT makes the system appear as if it has multiple processors. Intel claims that the system can have up to a 30 percent increase in performance, but studies have shown that the increase is application dependent. If the application being used cannot take advantage of the multithreading, then HT can be disabled in the system BIOS/unified extensible firmware interface (UEFI) (covered in Chapter 4).

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