Hyper-threading is a technology developed by Intel Corporation. It is used in certain Pentium 4 processors and all Intel Xeon processors. Hyper-threading technology, commonly referred to as “HT Technology,” enables the processor to execute two threads, or sets of instructions, at the same time. Since hyper-threading allows two streams to be executed in parallel, it is almost like having two separate processors working together.
While hyper-threading can improve processing performance, software must support multiple processors to take advantage of the technology. Fortunately, recent versions of both Windows and Linux support multiple processors and therefore benefit from hyper-threading. For example, a video playing in Windows Media Player should not be slowed down by a Web page loading in Internet Explorer. Hyper-threading allows the two programs to be processed as separate threads at the same time. However, individual programs can only take advantage of Intel’s HT Technology if they have been programmed to support multiple processors.