What Intel Processors Have Hyper Threading?

by J.T. Barett
Intel's Hyper-Threading technology maximizes processor utilization.

Intel's Hyper-Threading technology maximizes processor utilization.

In 2002, Intel introduced "Hyper-Threading" technology in its Xeon family of processors. Modern operating systems such as Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X allow each program to have multiple threads, or separate processes. Hyper-Threading allows the same core in a multicore processor to execute two threads instead of one. When a core becomes idle, Hyper-Threading puts it back to work on another thread, improving the computer's overall processing speed.

Xeon

High-end workstations and servers for business and telecommunications use the Xeon processor line. Introduced in 1998, Xeon chips began as high-performance versions of the Pentium family, at first exploiting up to 512KB of L2 cache to speed up handling large sets of data, then receiving multiple cores. Xeon processors received Hyper-Threading technology in 2002. Intel continues the Xeon family through updated processor designs as of August 2012.

Pentium 4

The Pentium 4 was the last and only member of Intel's Pentium family to have Hyper-Threading. Intel designed the Pentium series for desktop PCs for home and office users. Unlike the Xeon and I-series, Pentium chips had a single core. Hyper-Threading allows the Pentium 4 to alternate between two process threads, helping it get more work done in the same amount of time. Intel offered the Pentium D dual-core chip at about the same time as the Pentium 4, though it did not have Hyper-Threading.

Atom

The Intel Atom is a processor designed for netbooks and other mobile devices. It has a low-power design that optimizes battery life, a crucial factor for portable computers. Atom processors come in a variety of configurations: single and dual core, and 32- and 64-bit designs, with clock speeds ranging from 600 MHz to 2.13 GHz; many of these variants have Hyper-Threading.

Core i3, i5 and i7

First introduced in 2008, the Core i3, i5 and i7 models constitute Intel's current line of desktop PC processors. They cover a wide range of clock speeds, from 1.2 GHz for the i3 Mobile to 3.6 GHz in the fastest i7 processors. All processors in the series are 64-bit designs and have a minimum of two cores each; other than the quad-core i5 models, they all benefit from Hyper-Threading technology.

About the Author

Chicago native J.T. Barett has a Bachelor of Science in physics from Northeastern Illinois University and has been writing since 1991. He has contributed to "Foresight Update," a nanotechnology newsletter from the Foresight Institute. He also contributed to the book, "Nanotechnology: Molecular Speculations on Global Abundance."

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