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 Kernel 2.6 on a Hyperthreaded Pentium 4

"What if the microprocessor can process two instruction streams in parallel? Doing this will require that it maintains two sets of `architectural state' (general purpose registers, instruction pointer etc), but the execution units (the ALU, FPU) need not be duplicated. It is said that this can be done with very little hardware (and thus, cost) overhead. Now we can visualize two instruction streams in memory - the microprocessor maintaining two instruction pointers and fetching instructions from both the streams. Because the execution units are not duplicated, it would be impossible for the microprocessor to really execute two instruction simultaneously - but what if an instruction from one stream takes a long time to complete (maybe, it is doing I/O - or there was a cache miss and its waiting for data to arrive from main memory). During this period, the microprocessor can execute instructions from the other stream using the execution units which are sitting idle. This is the basis of Hyperthreading ..."

 (Submitted by Noel Wed Jun 9, 2004 )


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