Cores & Threads: Hybrid Processors for Today's Multitasking World (Part 1)

Cores & Threads: Hybrid Processors for Today's Multitasking World (Part 1)
Cores & Threads: Hybrid Processors for Today's Multitasking World (Part 1)
White Paper
December 07, 2023

Cores & Threads: Hybrid Processors for Today's Multitasking World (Part 1)

The incredible growth of processing parallelism has resulted in a corresponding explosion of performance and capabilities, but not all cores and threads are created equally. For mainstream computer users, such as the vast majority of Microsoft Windows users, the detailed usage of cores and threads is not important for the user to understand. When done editing a document, we hit the <SAVE> icon, and all the magic happens under the hood. But for designers of critical real-time processing systems, what happens under the hood matters.

This 2-part White Paper series explores the performance details of today’s latest multi-core and hybrid-core processors to guide software developers and systems designers who need to understand what happens under the hood and exert tight control over their processing systems.

In Part 1 of the series, we provide foundational background on the evolution of modern processors, establishing important characteristics of single-core, multi-core, and hyperthreading processor architectures. We introduce the concept of a hybrid-core processor architecture, where not all cores are created equal. Finally, we explore how today’s popular operating systems use hybrid-core processors.

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