Intel’s HT Technology allows a single processor or processor core to handle two independent sets of instructions at the same time. In essence, HT Technology converts a single physical processor core into two virtual processors.
HT Technology was introduced on Xeon workstation-class processors with a 533 MHz system bus in March 2002. It found its way into standard desktop PC processors starting with the Pentium 4 3.06 GHz processor in November 2002. HT Technology predates multicore processors, so processors that have multiple physical cores, such as the Core 2 and Core i Series, may or may not support this technology depending on the specific processor version. A quad-core processor that supports HT Technology (like the Core i Series) would appear as an 8-core processor to the OS; Intel’s Core i7-3970X has six cores and supports up to 12 threads. Internally, an HT-enabled processor has two sets of general-purpose registers, control registers, and other architecture components for each core, but both logical processors share the same cache, execution units, and buses. During operations, each logical processor handles a single thread.
A processor with HT Technology enabled can fill otherwise-idle time with a second process for each core, improving multitasking and performance of multithreading single applications.
Although the sharing of some processor components means that the overall speed of an HT-enabled system isn’t as high as a processor with as many physical cores would be, speed increases of 25% or more are possible when multiple applications or multithreaded applications are being run.
To take advantage of HT Technology, you need the following:
- Processor supporting HT Technology—This includes many (but not all) Core i Series, Pen-tium 4, Xeon, and Atom processors. Check the specific model processor specifications to be sure.
- Compatible chipset—Some older chipsets may not support HT Technology.
- BIOS support to enable/disable HT Technology—Make sure you enable HT Technology in the BIOS Setup.
- HT Technology-enabled OS—Windows XP and later support HT Technology. Linux distributions based on kernel 2.4.18 and higher also support HT Technology. To see if HT Technology is functioning properly, you can check the Device Manager in Windows to see how many processors are recognized. When HT is supported and enabled, the Windows Device Manager shows twice as many processors as there are physical processor cores.
The Pentium (5th generation, in case the author didn't know, thus the "Pent"), DID execute x86 instructions. It was the Pentium Pro that didn't. That was the sixth generation.
CISC and RISC are not arbitary terms, and RISC is better when you have a lot of memory, that's why Intel and AMD use it for x86. They can't execute x86 instructions effectively, so they break it down to RISC type operations, and then execute it. They pay the penalty of adding additional stages in the pipeline which slows down the processor (greater branch mispredict penalty), adds size, and uses power. If they are equal, why would anyone take this penalty?
Being superscalar has nothing to do with being RISC or CISC. Admittedly, the terms aren't carved in stone, and the term can be misleading, as it's not necessarily the number of instructions that defines RISC. Even so, there are clear differences. RISC has fixed length instructions. CISC generally does not. RISC has much simpler memory addressing modes. The main difference is, RISC does not have microcoding to execute instructions - everything is done in hardware. Obviously, this strongly implies much simpler, easier to execute instructions, which make it superior today. However, code density is less for RISC, and that was very important in the 70s and early 80s when memory was not so large. Even now, better density means better performance, since you'll hit the faster caches more often.
This article is also wrong about 3D Now! It was not introduced as an alternative to SSE, SSE was introduced as an alternative to 3D Now!, which predated SSE. In reality, 3D Now! was released because the largest difference between the K6 and Intel processors was floating point. Games, or other software that could use 3D Now!, rather than relying entirely on x87 instructions, could show marked performance improvement for the K6-2. It was relatively small to implement, and in the correct workloads could show dramatic improvements. But, of course, almost no one used it.
The remarks about the dual bus are inaccurate. The reason was that motherboard bus speeds were not able to keep up with microprocessors speeds (starting with the 486DX2). Intel suffered the much slower bus speed to the L2 cache on the Pentium and Pentium MMX, but moved the L2 cache on the same processor package (but not on the same die) with the Pentium Pro. The purpose of having the separate buses was that one could access the L2 cache at a much higher speed; it wasn't limited to the 66 MHz bus speed of the motherboard. The Pentium Pro was never intended to be mainstream, and was too expensive, so Intel moved the L2 cache onto the Slot 1 cartridge, and ran it at half bus speed, which in any case was still much faster than the memory bus.
That was the main reason they went to the two buses.
That was as far as I bothered to read this. It's a pity people can't actually do fact checking when they write books, and make up weird stories that only have a passing resemblance to reality.
And then act like someone winning this misinformation is lucky. Good grief, what a perverse world ...
As for the reason Intel went with a slot design for the Pentium 2 was to prevent AMD from using it. You can patent and trademark a slot design.
As for the Pentium Pro, it had issues from handling 16bit x86 instruction sets. The solution was to program around it. The was an inherent computational flaw with the Pentium Pro too.
not on mobile. some mobile i3s are single core, same with the mobile i5s... those are all dual core... with hyperthreading.
there are even dual core i5s in haswell on the desktop. (they are the ones with a (t) after the number)