Linked by David Adams on Wed 4th Aug 2010 18:28 UTC, submitted by estherschindler
Hardware, Embedded Systems Anyone contemplating a new computer purchase (for personal use or business) is confronted with new (and confusing) hardware choices. Intel and AMD have done their best to differentiate the x86 architecture as much as possible while retaining compatibility between the two CPUs, but the differences between the two are growing. One key differentiator is hyperthreading; Intel does it, AMD does not. This article explains what that really means, with particular attention to the way different server OSes take advantage (or don't). Plenty of meaty tech stuff.
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RE[3]: Comment by another_sam
by Zifre on Wed 4th Aug 2010 22:54 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by another_sam"
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But from what I read, and I am probably very wrong, it sounds like the virtualization going on uses two parts of the physical CPU for differing instruction sets, but wouldn't they both need to be utilized in a clock cycle?

I'm not sure I exactly understand what you're saying, but you are probably right in that you are probably very wrong. ;)

Here is how I would explain hyper-threading:

A logical CPU (which could be an entire CPU, a core, or a "hyper-thread", depending on the setup) executes instructions from RAM. Mostly all these instructions can do is access RAM and manipulate CPU registers. So the only state that a logical CPU needs to run is the registers (since RAM is shared). So, a hyper-threading core (which is a physical section of the chip that has one set of the things that execute instructions) has two copies of all the registers, one for each "hyper-thread". When it is executing a "hyper-thread", and it has to wait for something slow (such as access to RAM), it can switch to the other set of registers. This, in effect, causes the other "hyper-thread" to run. It constantly switches back and forth so that the core is rarely waiting for something, and thus, performance is improved without adding an entire new core.

Edited 2010-08-04 22:54 UTC

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