What is Hyper-Threading and How It Improves Chromebook Performance

Some Chromebooks with Intel processors support hyper-threading, which can increase performance, but enabling the software is risky.

Modern computer processors, including mobile, laptop, and desktop chips, are multi-core chips that can tackle an assortment of tasks simultaneously. Same Chromebooks – Affordable and easy-to-use web-based laptops – have multi-core processes even though they are mainly used for browsing the internet and working with lightweight applications. The software that runs on all Chromebooks is explicitly for Google’s suite of productivity apps, including email, file and photo storage. Chrome OS is built by Google and is optimized for enterprise services, delivering solid performance with inexpensive hardware. However, for users trying to use the full performance of their Chromebook, some laptops support hyper-threading, which will increase performance.

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While the software is entirely designed by Google to create a secure ecosystem that includes the company’s apps and services, the hardware is another story. Chromebooks are made by different manufacturers and can vary widely in terms of price, technical specifications and features. Some devices that run Chrome OS have the form factor of a traditional tablet or two-in-one, but ditch Android for a full operating system. Others are built to stand the test of time and designed for the education market, like the rugged Chromebooks produced by HP. The main differences, however, may stem from the Chromebook’s processor — Intel and Qualcomm, among others, make the chips that power laptops.


Related: Can you use Android apps on Chrome OS Flex? What you should know

First of all, what is hyper-threading? It is a computer process that attempts to distribute the work on a given task among multiple cores on a processor, with “threads” created in software. Hyper-threading is different from multi-threading, which distributes tasks among multiple cores, but is limited to one thread per core. On a quad-core processor, multithreading can only run four threads simultaneously. However, the limitations of multi-threading are non-existent when a processor supports hyper-threading. The process can run multiple threads on the same core, allowing many tasks to be performed simultaneously. Hyper-threading technology, which is present on particularly enthusiastic Intel processors, allows two threads to run simultaneously on each core.


How to Enable Hyper-Threading


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Chromebooks with Intel processors can support hyper-threading, which can increase laptop performance. According to a Google support page, hyper-threading is disabled by default but can be easily enabled with Chrome OS 74 and newer installed. In the address bar of the Chrome web browser, users should enter “chrome://flags#scheduler-configuration” to display a settings menu. Under the “Schedule Setup” heading, there is an option that “Enables Hyper-Threading on affected processors.“After enabling hyper-threading, users must click the button to restart their computer. The process is the same for disabling hyper-threading – users only need to enter the address to call the hidden settings menu and select “Disables hyper-threading on affected processors.


It might seem obvious to enable hyper-threading and get all the performance of a Chromebook, but there are serious security risks associated with this feature, according to a Chromium support page. Using Intel’s hyper-threading feature, Chromebooks also make use of micro-architectural data sampling, which is a group of security vulnerabilities that could allow a hacker to read user data. If a hack is successfully executed, passwords, credit card information, or cookies may be compromised. Due to exploits that can coincide with enabling hyper-threading, Chrome OS has the feature disabled by default, but Intel’s technology could provide immense performance gains for modern systems. Chromebooks.


Next: Steam Coming To Chromebooks Soon After Premature Announcement

Source: Google, Chrome, Intel

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