What Are CPU Threads

A CPU thread is basically a virtual core.

One CPU core can have up to two threads meaning it has two virtual cores and one physical core.

CPU with multiple threads

A CPU with 2 physical cores can have up to 4 threads, a CPU with 4 physical cores can have up to 8 threads, and so on.

You get the idea here…

However, you should also note that a virtual core isn’t the same as a physical core and although you can do more with multiple threads having more physical cores is ideal.

Let’s just say you have a CPU with 2 cores and 4 threads. That doesn’t mean you have 4 cores.

In fact, it is actually better to have more cores with single threads instead of fewer cores with multiple threads.

The way this works is that one physical CPU core will only be able to perform one task at a time, however, if you give that core multiple threads it will be able to perform a task and queue up a second task to take on as soon as it finishes the first task.

Whereas, if you have a single core with a single thread it will start by doing a single task, finish that task, queue up the next task, then start the next task.

So basically having multiple threads allows your CPU core to skip a step and handle multiple tasks at a time.

You can use the analogy in this video that gives a great explanation of how threads work.

If you think of a CPU core as your mouth and the threads as your hands, you realize that you can only eat one thing at a time because you only have one mouth, but because you have two hands you can queue up the next bite you want to eat.

The same goes for CPU cores and threads.

A physical CPU core can only complete one task at a time but the multiple threads can queue up multiple tasks to complete so the physical core can quickly switch between tasks, almost as if the CPU is working on two tasks simultaneously.

Having multiple threads can be especially helpful when video editing, 3D rendering, and when you are completing multiple tasks at the same time.

Threads allow you to listen to Spotify, chat with your friends on Discord, and play your favorite video game all at the same time because it is allowing your CPU core to multitask.

Hyperthreading vs Multithreading: What’s The Difference?

Hyperthreading allows multiple threads to run on a single core to assist the physical core to take care of multiple tasks. Whereas multithreading allows for multiple threads to exist within the same core, but complete tasks individually using the physical cores resources.

Hyperthreading and multithreading are essentially the same things, they just have two different ways of completing the same tasks.

Hyperthreading uses multiple threads that don’t require as many resources as let’s say multiple cores, while at the same time still increasing the performance of the CPU. The only downside to this is that there is usually a conflict between what threads get to use the CPU’s resources.

Multithreading, on the other hand, makes threads that act as smaller CPU cores, which effectively uses the CPUs resources to complete the tasks given at hand.

Is it Better to Have More Threads in a CPU?

Yes, it is better to have more threads in a CPU as it will let you complete multiple tasks faster, and queue up operations that your CPU needs to complete next.

More Threads or More Cores in a CPU? What’s Better?

If you want to get the most out of your CPU, then you want to buy a CPU with more cores. The reason for this is that threads are used to assist the CPU’s physical cores when completing a task.

Although threads are considered virtual cores they are not as effective as physical cores, so you would much rather want to have 8 physical cores instead of 8 virtual cores/threads.

What is more important is whether your CPU should have more cores or faster speed.

Lucas Coulson

I first got into building my own computer when I was around 12 or 13. The first computer I had ever built didn't work. So I kept researching to figure what I did wrong. I really enjoyed researching, learning, and building computers, so I decided to turn it into an online business, and here I am.

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