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Intel abandons hyperthreading for Lunar Lake CPUs

Monday, June 10, 2024

Intel’s fastest processors have included hyperthreading, a technique that lets more than one thread run on a single CPU core, for over 20 years — and it’s used by AMD (which calls it “simultaneous multi-threading”) as well. But you won’t see a little “HT” on the Intel sticker for any Lunar Lake laptops, because none of them use it. Hyperthreading will be disabled on all Lunar Lake CPU cores, including both performance and efficiency cores.

Why? The reason is complicated, but basically it’s no longer wanted as Intel strives to maximize power efficiency in portable laptops. The performance cores or P-Cores on the new Lunar Lake series are 14 percent faster than the same cores on the previous-gen Meteor Lake CPUs, even with the multi-thread-processing of hyperthreading disabled.

Turning on the feature would come at too high a power cost, and Lunar Lake is all about boosting performance while keeping laptops in this generation thin, light, and long-lasting. That means maximizing single-thread performance — the most relevant to users who are typically focusing on one task at a time, as is often the case for laptops — in terms of surface area, to improve overall performance per watt. Getting rid of the physical components necessary for hyperthreading just makes sense in that context, though it’ll likely mean Lunar Lake CPUs won’t perform as well as AMD-powered laptops in multi-threaded tasks.

The same relentless quest for power efficiency also means Lunar Lake laptops won’t have replaceable memory, another monumental change.

Hyperthreading might still be viable for future desktop CPUs, especially for “big iron” applications in servers and data centers, or even gaming laptops that are more concerned with raw power over efficiency and size savings. For a more technical breakdown, be sure to read Mark Hachman’s deep-dive into Lunar Lake.

By: DocMemory
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