Why I like hyperthreading…

One of questions that I had before buying my latest desktop was how beneficial is hyperthreading. I read all the performance reviews that compared the hyperthreaded P4s to their single threaded brethren and the concensus was pretty much that for today's applications there is little benefit. Applications need to be written to take advantage of multiple CPU's before any benefits is gained. The problem that I had with these benchmark reviews was that it only really took into account running one application at once. For gamer's I can see how that makes sense. For doing software development work I can easily find myself switching between 5 or 6 applications constantly. One of the most frustration experiences when working in this scenario is starting an operation in one application and switching to another, with no response. The first app is hogging the CPU and you are stuck twiddling your thumbs until your PC springs back to life with a flurry of window swapping. What hyperthreading effectively seems to do is limit one application to 50% of the CPU. This guarantees that when you choose to go something else whilst you compressing that 500meg zip file that you will have some CPU horsepower left. Obviously the downside is that your Zip file does not compress as fast it might. I don't care too much as there is always something else I can work on in the meanwhile. It may not be the right choice for everyone but it works for me.

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