Back with another interesting read for newbies and techies alike. In this one, we’ll be teaching you about Cores and Threads in Computer CPUs, How to find out how many you have, and why you might benefit from having more.
In the old days, computers had 1 Central Processing Unit with 1 Core and 1 Thread. This meant a lot of raging-out moments when that PC inevitably got stuck doing something.
What are CPU Cores?
In the past processors came with only one core that could be utilized fully on executing one task at a particular time. Today CPU cores range from 2 to 18 cores and are expected to see a greater number of cores in newer processors coming out in the future.
Multi-Core processors mean that one core can work on a task smoothly without any interrupts and another core can work on another different task. Many laptop CPUs come with 2 cores but some higher-end models come with 4 cores instead. Some Intel Processors use Hyperthreading, to divide a core into two virtual cores which are called threads. Similarly, AMD processors use something called simultaneous multithreading, the same thing as Intel’s Hyperthreading.
In Tom’s Hardware CPU Benchmarks Hierarchy, you can see the correlation between higher performance and increasing cores and threads.
The video below illustrates different PCs with a different numbers of cores and threads and how the boot-up between these PCs varies. Take a look. Note: This is just one of many scenarios where more cores and threads benefit us.
What Exactly is A Thread?
A thread is essentially a sequence of code that functions as a data-processing conveyor belt. These are referred to as “Logical Processors” because they are not physical cores. Each Core of a CPU contains at least one thread. However, you can have two threads per core on CPUs that support simultaneous multi-threading (SMT), as most do these days.
If a CPU has two cores and two threads, or four cores and four threads, multi-threading is disabled.
The number of threads is often used to determine how good a CPU is at multitasking. When measuring a CPU’s multi-core performance, the number of threads can make a considerable difference in the benchmark results.
When executing applications that need a large number of concurrent cores and threads, such as rendering, encoding, simulation, or data science, threads can make a significant impact. Multiple threads can also help in Gaming where you may need to have software running in the background to stream games, chat with friends online, etc.
How many Cores & Threads does your PC have?
We have a few ways of finding this out, don’t worry they’re super simple.
Task Manager Method
This is the easiest method to find out your PC’s cores and threads. Along with threads you can also view other details about your CPU such as clock speed, memory, model, and cache.
- Press CTRL+ ALT +DELETE keys, this will open up the Task Manager app.
- Click on the Performance Tab in the Task Manager App.
Now in the picture below I’ve clearly labeled where you will find the number of cores and threads in the Task Manager app.
Understanding what threads are and how more of them can benefit us is very useful especially to estimate the capability of a system to run certain programs. A wide variety of CPUs are being released every year, with more and more Physical cores with Hyperthreading, to me, this indicates that developers require more and more mappable cores and threads to be able to run the complex programs of tomorrow.
If you liked this explanation, browse through more of our content to find more fascinating things to learn about Computers.