If you’ve heard about hyperthreading, you probably know that it pretty much makes a CPU more efficient, by up to 30%.
This is usually done by splitting a single physical core into two logical cores, and this is done by taking advantage of CPU stalling.
So for gaming, 30% more performance sounds good right? Well, hyperthreading isn’t what it seems most of the time, especially for gaming; single core performance is more important.
What Processors Support Hyperthreading?
Hyperthreading is proprietary to Intel, and it’s their form of SMT or simultaneous multithreading, so you’ll only find hyperthreading in Intel processors.
But the concept of simultaneous multithreading isn’t exclusive to Intel processors because Ryzen has their own implementation of SMT.
Besides that, most of Intel’s gaming processors such as the I5, I7, and I9 processors come with Hyperthreading capabilities, and you can toggle it on and off.
Before the 10th generation of Intel processors, I5’s never used to support hyperthreading, but I5’s were still regarded as great gaming processors.
So maybe this is proof that hyperthreading is not conducive to a great gaming experience, however it still does have its merits.
Can Ryzen Use Hyperthreading?
Yes and no, Ryzen processors can not use hyperthreading because it’s proprietary to Intel processors, but Ryzen processors do have a form of SMT which hyperthreading is.
Most Ryzen processors are able to split a physical core into two logical cores like a hyperthreaded CPU can, but Ryzen doesn’t call it hyperthreading.
So the answer is technically yes, but actually no, they use the more generic term which is SMT/Simultaneous multithreading.
In terms of functionality, there is practically no difference, the main difference is that Intel calls it hyperthreading and AMD really doesn’t have a name for it.
How Does Hyperthreading Help Gaming?
Hyperthreading has a weird effect on games because games as a whole benefits more from single-core performance which is clock speed and IPC.
Hyperthreading on the other hand is multi-core performance, so it shouldn’t really impact the frame rate on some games.
But in some games, hyperthreading can either give you more FPS, or make you lose FPS, but the median shows no realistic FPS difference.
In general, you can say hyperthreading makes multitasking easier, you’ll be able to run background applications better without them affecting the gaming experience as much.
For this reason, we recommended keeping hyperthreading on because as a whole, the system will benefit from it, and it doesn’t really affect gaming.
If you’re looking for more frame rate, then overclocking your CPU will yield far better results than hyperthreading, this is because of single-core performance.
Hyperthreading Can Hurt Gaming Performance
Hyperthreading has the potential to hurt gaming performance, you can end up with slightly lower frame rates compared to hyperthreading off.
So for super competitive gamers that want as many frames as possible, this isn’t ideal and keeping hyperthreading off would be a better move.
Also, the increase in temperature can cause additional loss in frame rate if you suffer from thermal issues. This is called thermal throttling.
But for most gamers, you should keep hyperthreading on as the difference in frame rate really isn’t a big deal, you will most likely lose 5FPS at most.
Pros and Cons Of Hyperthreading
Overall, hyperthreading is a good thing to have active, especially if you’re a gamer even though you’ll likely not experience a frame rate boost.
It makes your system as a whole run a lot faster with minimal consequences, so if you have a hyperthreading capable CPU, it’s best to activate it.
However there are downsides to hyperthreading, some games may actually have a frame rate drop, this is usually because of the system distributing resources inefficiently.
Also, hyperthreading can increase the temperature of your CPU, this is because your CPU is technically working more than usual.
Pros Of Hyperthreading:
- Better management of resources, this can benefit you if you’re a gamer and a streamer.
- Multithreaded tasks can benefit significantly from it, some games can too.
- You may experience a 30% boost in performance depending on the task.
- Its free
Cons Of Hyperthreading:
- Some games may actually take a hit on performance.
- CPU temperatures will increase.
Are Physical Cores Better Than Threads?
In terms of raw performance, physical cores will always be better than threads, the more cores you have, the more guaranteed performance you will have multicore wise.
Threads on the other hand depend on many factors such as application dependency, threads won’t always result in more performance.
For most games, you’re mostly focusing on how well a single core can process information, so we’ll take in the clock speed, and the IPC.
Threads mostly boost multicore performance, so single-core wise, there’s practically no difference, so cores are more important for gaming.
From the screenshot above, we can see the average frame rate is lower with hyperthreading on compared to hyperthreading off.
Hyperthreading on has an average frame rate of 131 which isn’t too bad, but hyperthreading off has an average frame rate of 139.
Even though it’s an 8FPS difference, this can be a huge deal in competitive gaming situations in games such as PUBG.
It seems that the processor handles data sent by the graphics card better when hyperthreading off, this is probably because hyperthreading is inefficient in this scenario.
In Battlefield 5, hyperthreading makes practically no difference with both having around the same average frame rate.
With hyperthreading on, 200 FPS was the average frame rate, with hyperthreading off, it was 199, the difference is negligible.
This is what we mean when we say hyperthreading is dependant on the game, but for the most part, there will be minimal difference in frame rate.
In conclusion, hyperthreading is neither bad or good for gaming, but it does seem to have an effect depending on the game.
In some games, hyperthreading can result in a slight FPS boost, and some games will experience an FPS drop, it depends on how the game handles its resources
To end things, we recommend keeping hyperthreading on as it vastly boosts your computer’s multitasking capabilities while rarely impacting the gaming.