If you have a multicore processor, you will have more than one CPU thread. Each core provides a single CPU thread. Depending on the operating system you are running, you can take advantage of these CPU threads to run more than one command at the same time (called multi-tasking).

Before we proceed any further, let’s take a moment to understand what multicore means. Multicore is not a new concept as such. In fact, many years ago mainframe computers were built with multiple CPUs as well as individual components within those computer systems that contained multiple CPUs. We now have low power devices such as smartphones and tablets with up to 4 cores which provide 8 CPU threads each!

What are CPU threads?

CPU threads have been around since the early days of Windows. They were designed to allow a single processor or CPU to perform more than one task at a time which is called multitasking . The operating system, in turn, schedules instructions for each thread from different processes separately and manages the workload across the available cores effectively.

It may be important to note that while there are multiple CPU threads within a core, they share other resources such as L1 cache based on availability. In other words, if one thread requires exclusive access to cache memory, all other threads will have to wait until it is free again.

As mentioned earlier, using multiple CPU threads can significantly improve performance when you run applications that support multiple CPU processing including software like Adobe Photoshop and video games.

How Do Threads Work?

Each thread works with its own stack for local variables and it has its own program counter, instruction pointer, register values, etc. Each thread gets a chance to run on the CPU when an operating system scheduling algorithm decides that all threads are in a true idle state. When one thread is running, other threads are also allowed to run but they are given less priority compared to the currently running process.

What’s important to note here is that by giving each process or application their own CPU thread(s), you can improve performance because your processor will be more responsive as there will not be time wasted while one core waits for another core containing the main process or application which will increase responsiveness of applications.  When programs run on separate cores they do not have to stop and wait for another process that is running on a different core to complete.

Additionally, each CPU thread can be assigned to specific processors which enables you to control how much of your computer’s power goes to each task. This is especially useful in high-demand situations when you need maximum performance from applications, games or even the operating system itself.

How Do I Use Multiple CPU Threads?

There are many easy ways you can take advantage of this, including using the Windows Task Manager (instructions below) as well as third-party software designed for this purpose such as HLAE , Process Lasso or SoftPerfect RAM Disk .

It should be noted that there are some limitations concerning multiple CPU threads on Windows. For example, you cannot use all your CPU threads simultaneously. This means that if you have 4 cores with 2 CPU threads each, you can only fully utilize half of the available processing power at any given time.

However, by giving each process or application their own CPU thread(s) or core(s), this will increase responsiveness because your processor will not be idle while one core waits for another to complete.

Why should you care about CPU threads?

While many computer users are content to work with their computers in a single application at one time, there are others who may be required to run multiple applications simultaneously. For example, if you are writing an essay using Microsoft Word or editing images in Adobe Photoshop, you can take advantage of your multi-core processors by running these software programs at the same time.

Multi-tasking is not new to us and it has been around for decades but only now have we reached a point where our everyday devices have enough processing power to handle multitasking effectively while delivering optimum performance.

How do I check how many CPU threads my PC has?

In order to check how many cores your computer has and how many CPU threads each core supports, We have gathered five steps in order to check how much CPU threads you have in your PC:

Finding Thread Count Using Task Manager:

To find out how many cores your computer has and to check which ones support hyper-threading, follow these short steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to launch Task Manager. It may ask you for admin privileges in order to carry out the selected task.

  2. On the “Processes” tab, select the Image Name column to order the list of processes by name.

  3. Click on CPU column to sort the list of processes based on how much CPU is being used by each application.

  4. The topmost applications are using the most processing power, this might be your web browser, system idle process or something else. To check for hyper-threading, look for the number of CPU cores you have (in this case 4) and compare it to how many CPU threads each core supports (in this case 4).

Finding Thread Count Using BCDEdit:

You can find out the number of physical and logical processors your computer has and view information about them by typing “bcdedit /enum” in the Command Prompt.

  1. Press Windows key and type “cmd”. Right-click on cmd entry and select Run as Administrator option from the menu to launch Command Prompt with administrative rights.

  2. On the black screen, type or copy-paste “bcdedit /enum” without quotes and press Enter to see how many cores you have.

  3. Scroll through the list until you find “Logical Processors” and check how many CPU threads each core supports.

Finding Thread Count Using Systeminfo:

  1. Press Windows key and type “cmd”. Right-click on cmd entry and select Run as Administrator option from the menu to launch Command Prompt with administrative rights.

  2. On the black screen, type or copy-paste “systeminfo” without quotes and press Enter to see how many cores you have.

  3. Scroll through the list until you find “Processor” and check how many CPU threads each core supports.

Finding Thread Count Using Windows PowerShell:

  1. Press Windows key and type “powershell”. Right-click on powershell entry and select Run as Administrator option from the menu to launch Windows PowerShell with administrative rights.

  2. On the black screen, enter following command without quotes: “get-service -name *CPU*”

  3. Scroll through the list until you find “Number of Processors” and check how many CPU threads each core supports.

Finding Thread Count Using Third-Party Software:

Alternatively, you can use a third-party software that will provide a list of your CPU threads.

Intel Processor Identification Utility: Intel’s free System Identification Utility is available for download from the company’s website and it shows how many cores you have installed in your computer along with how many CPU threads each core supports.

Viewing thread count using Task Manager: There are several third-party programs that can give information about the number of cores and additional information such as the number of hyper-threads per core if applicable . For example, Stardock Process Lasso has an eye-candy display showing how many active system resources - including cores - your machine has at a glance. As seen in the below, The Ultimate Outsider’s product has a nice heads-up display showing the number of running processes, number of cores and hyper-threads for each core.

How does hyper-threading work?

Hyper-threading is an enhancement to Intel’s multithreading technology that allows one physical processor core to act like two logical cores, improving the performance of multithreading software . It addresses the fundamental capability vs capacity dilemma by providing more simultaneous multithreading than the traditional approach of carving up a single core into multiple logical processors.

This technology was originally intended to improve the performance of multi-tasking workstation applications by exploiting idle times on some CPU cores while performing tasks on other CPU cores. It made sense to use this technology for server OSs because it allows one OS to better utilize the power of a server with multiple CPU cores. Hyper-threading is only available on Intel Xeon families E5, E7 and Core i7 since Nehalem architecture CPUs.

Conclusion:

The number of CPU cores vs threads that your system has is important when you want to take advantage of multithreading. For example, a game like Battlefield 4 needs 8 logical cores and hyper-threading can reduce the performance gap between CPUs with more cores and those with less/no additional threading support.

You can use any of the five methods described in this article to find out how many CPU threads each core supports or view information about processor cores using Task Manager, BCDEdit, Systeminfo, Windows PowerShell or Third-Party Software. As for hyper-threading technology itself, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon as new CPUs from Intel will continue offering it as a way to boost performance on programs that are optimized for multi-threading.

Hope this article helped you get the knowledge about CPU threads you’ve been looking for. If there’s anything I can do to make this article better please let me know in the comments below.

Nazim Naqvi
Nazim Naqvi founded InnoTech Reviews in 2021 with the goal of providing objective reviews and comparisons on various technology products. He is an engineer by profession and has a deep interest in tech gadgets such as laptops, smartphones, tablets etc. Nazim also likes to keep up to date with the latest innovations happening in the world of technology.