P4 HT, Dual Core and 64 bit processors - explain!?

  funkey_monkey 12:58 23 Nov 2005


I'm in the process of purchasing a new computer and I've gotten lost as to what Dual Core and Hyper threading are all about.

What are they? I assume that Dual core is 2 processors inside the one casing which can do two tasks in parallel?
Hyper threading - is this something to do with multi tasking?

Do I need them on a Pc - what are they required for?

Also, in regards to 64 bit procesors - are they a must on new PC's? What are they requried for and when (if ever) will they become a must?

Thanks in advance.

  Mysticnas 13:11 23 Nov 2005

hey funkey_munkey.... You're not ian are you??


Dual core: basically just what you said, two cores located on one CPU.

HT: This is a virtual dual CPU setup. So your computer thinks there are two CPU's in your system. Usually better performance when running more than one application at a time.

64bit: Only required if you have a 64bit operating system such as the new 64bit Windows XP or Linux. This also increases performance as the system can compute larger numbers.

Neither of these are of much benefit to the average user who surfs the net and uses MS office.

However, for multimedia use the can considerably increase performance, especially if you specific 64bit software to use on your 64bit OS. For gaming the dual core and HT features can increase performance. (notice i use the word 'can' and not 'will')

However, the general trend is gearing towards these features anyway, so if you buy new system chances are you'll most likely have a HT and possilbly dual core processor in them.

  Mysticnas 13:12 23 Nov 2005

for all the typo's. I'm at work. :o)

  funkey_monkey 13:18 23 Nov 2005


Thanks for your reply.

The machine I'm looking at is a Dell 5150 with 3Ghz P4 processor and HT.

You state that 64 bit processore are only required for the new Windows XP and Linux. Can I get linux in 32 bit version?

I was thinking of installing a secondary hard drive on the Pc and installing Linux and Open Office.

Are HT processors a worthwhile buy or should i step up to another type?

I will mostly be using the machine for programming - C++, maybe UML, VB, etc.


  Mysticnas 13:30 23 Nov 2005

Linux will work on 32bit as well.

As regards to getting the next thing up from a HT CPU, well... The thing is that HT is a technology applied, as far as i know, to all new intel desktops CPU's apart from the Celerons.

So anything as you say that's further up the chain will have HT anyway.

To be honest you don't need all that if that's all you'll be doing on it. I was getting by at uni with P3 700mhz doing JAVA, VB6, UML and even photoshop and 3D Max.

I did upgrade later on though, and again recently too.

I prefer Intel, but if you want to save a bit of money why not go for AMD?

  phil46 13:43 23 Nov 2005

I have just upgraded my computer to 3.7gb 64bit
But i ask myself what i'm i getting for the extra cash? In my view i don't notice any difference,yes it can play these HT GAMES but i'm
not one for computer games and as regards to log on speed my 6year old HP Brio Pentium3 can log onto WXP a little faster.

  Mysticnas 14:15 23 Nov 2005

Just a correction, i hope you don't take offence phil46.

Hyper Threading (HT) is nothing to do with games or other software. It's a hardware thing. Basically it leverages the multitasking ability of have 2 CPU's. You will notice a difference if you use you pc intensively, and with more than one application/program open at a time.

I know that these days people run a lot of apps anyway in the background like messengers, antivirus, firewalls, scheduled events etc. The real performance boost comes when running, for example, Photoshop and Premiere. These are two processor intensive applications when you have them both open at the same time you pc tends to be able to handle itself better.

Anology: feeding two kids at the same time, both are processor(brain) intensive tasks and can cause the system(you) to sometimes crash. All this as well as keeping an eye on the cooking on hob, keeping an ear out for the doorbell and phone, making a mental shopping list, remembering to pick up the other kid from school, hoovering, and clearing all the clutter from preparation of the dinner away.

However, if there are two of you feeding a kid each it just makes things a lot easier. And with dual core, it's like having 4 of you to help out.


  amonra 14:24 23 Nov 2005

Very succinct, thanks Mysticnas.

  Mysticnas 14:32 23 Nov 2005

just glad I could oblige. ;o)

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