While most applications and games were lightly-threaded a few years ago, recently, almost every heavy app (including modern games) is becoming heavily multi-threaded, taking advantage of more threads alongside cores to boost performance.
Threads also contribute to making your computer a multitasking powerhouse – multiple apps can be run at the same time without resulting in terrible performance.
While it’s easy to check most features and specifications of your computer, threads are not so straightforward. In this guide, we’ve simplified the question that troubles many people; how many threads does my Windows & MAC computer have?
Let’s dive deeper.
How To Check The Number Of Threads in Windows?
There are some ways you can see the number of threads on Windows; each is explained below.
1. Task Manager
Open Task manager by either
- Right-clicking the Task Bar > Task Manager
- Pressing CTRL+ALT+DELETE
Then go to performance> CPU. At the bottom of the graph, you’ll see info such as Base Speed, Sockets, Cores, etc. Logical Processors are the number of threads your computer supports.
Example of summary:
Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-7700HQ CPU @ 2.80GHz Base speed: 2.80 GHz Sockets: 1 Cores: 4 Logical processors: 8 Virtualisation: Enabled L1 cache: 256 KB L2 cache: 1.0 MB L3 cache: 6.0 MB Utilisation 3% Speed 1.46 GHz Up time 5:05:18:33 Processes 272 Threads 4075 Handles 303822
2. Windows Device Manager
Open Device Manager by searching “Device Manager”, then clicking to open
- Click on “>” to expand the Processors section
- The number of entries is the number of threads of your processor
3. 3rd Party Applications
Some of the apps that can be installed to show more information about the hardware in your computer are
In this guide, we will stick with CPU-Z; it’s the easiest to use and most popular.
- Download and Install CPU-Z (2MB) from the official website
- Install & Run
- Under the first tab “CPU”, you’ll see almost every information on your CPU.
A number of Cores and Threads is on the bottom right.
4. Online Via Google Search
For this method, you must know the exact name of the CPU in your computer, which is information that can simply be found in your computer.
- Open File Explorer and right-click on “My PC”
- Go to Properties
- Under “Device Specification”, the Processors name is listed e.g., Intel(R) Core (TM) i5-5300U CPU @ 2.30GHz 2.29 GHz
- Paste it into your browser and search the processor’s name on Google
The CPU’s manufacturer website will be the 1st result, i.e.,
- https://ark.intel.com/ for Intel
- https://www.amd.com/ for AMD
The number of threads of the specific chip is listed under each processor’s specification.
How Do I See The Number Of Threads On MAC?
If you want to find out the number of threads your MacBook has, the best method is using the Terminal.
We will use the “sysctl” command in this example
- Launch the “Terminal” application on your computer
- Type command “sysctl hw.physicalcpu hw.logicalcpu” (without parenthesis) and press ENTER
- Two results get displayed: hw. Physicalcpu & hw.logicalcpu
- The number of threads is written after “hw.logicalcpu” e.g. hw.logicalcpu 8.
What Are Threads?
While a core is the actual hardware component of a CPU that provides processing power, threads, the smallest units of processing are virtual versions of a physical CPU core created by a running program (or process).
Since a single process can contain multiple threads, by dividing your processor’s physical cores into these multiple virtual cores, your computer is able to execute many tasks of a process at the same time on the same limited cores, utilizing all resources fully.
Threads execute individually while sharing a core’s resources, making a CPU more efficient.
How to Check Number Of Threads Per Core Of My Processor?
Check the number of threads/cores on Windows or MAC OS using the methods explained earlier
- If the ratio of cores to threads is 1:1, your CPU only supports 1 thread/core
- If it’s 1:2, it has 2 threads/core (multithreading capability)
While early processors would only support 1 thread/core, most modern CPU cores support up to 2 threads/core. At the same time, CPUs used in data center servers will support 3, 4, and even 8 threads/core, e.g., IBM processors.
If for each processor core that is physically present, your Windows and MAC operating system can address two virtual (logical) cores to run concurrently on the main core; this is called simultaneous multithreading (SMT).
What Is Hyper-Threading?
Also known as Hyper-Threading Technology, this is the term Intel uses to refer to the simultaneous multithreading (SMT) capability of their processors.
If an Intel Core i5 chip has 4 Cores 8 Threads, it uses Hyper-Threading to present each of the physical cores on their CPU as two virtual cores (threads). On the other hand, an Intel Core i5 with 4 Cores 4 Threads won’t be capable of Hyper-Threading.
Being an Intel-specific marketing term, an AMD CPU or Arm-based CPU like the new M1 chip (used in recent MacBooks) cannot be said to have Hyper-Threading Technology even if they support simultaneous multithreading (SMT). However, MACs that use Intel processors can support Hyper-Threading.
How Do I Know If Hyperthreading Is On Or Off?
If you would like to check whether or not Hyper-Threading is enabled on your computer, you need to access the BIOS Menu. You can look up how to do so for your Windows or MAC computer (it requires 1st turning off your system).
The Hyper-Threading setting is mostly under “Advanced”, “Processors” or “Performance” related settings for computers with a CPU that supports the feature.
How Do I Increase My CPU Threads?
Most computer processors are hyper-threaded by default, but for others, this has to be done manually. You can’t increase the threads of your CPU if it does support SMT, but if it does, this can be done by enabling it in the BIOS.
Access your BIOS menu, and follow these steps:
- Select Processor, then go to Properties
- Click on “Enable” Hyper-Threading
- Select Exit & Save Changes from the Exit menu
- Check the number of threads if they’ve doubled using methods explained earlier
How Many CPU Threads Do I Need?
If you are a:
- Heavy multitasker
- Content creator (editing high-res videos)
- Do complex, time-consuming CPU-heavy tasks
You should go for a Windows or MAC computer with at least a modern quad-core CPU with 1 thread/core. This will enable you to get good performance, and do your work faster with the system remaining responsive.
In short, 4 threads are enough, but more is always better.
How Many Threads Do I Need For Gaming?
With many of the best processors featuring upwards of 6, 8, and even 16 threads, the gamer in you may rightly ask, do games use all those threads?
Well, modern games are some of the heaviest apps you can run on your computer. If you’re a AAA or esports gamer who plays the latest games, to do so at full HD resolution (1080p) and above, get decent frame rates (FPS), and have a competitive advantage, you should have a computer with at least a modern quad-core CPU or better with SMT capability.
That means a CPU with:
- 4 cores 8 threads
- 6 cores 6 threads (Note: Doesn’t have SMT, but 6 threads are good enough)
- 8 cores 8 threads (Doesn’t support SMT)
- 8 cores 16 threads and above
The latest games are being made to utilize more cores and threads than those made a few years back. A quad-core without SMT was the recommended minimum hardware specification for the best games sometime back, but today, for an enjoyable experience, you need at least a CPU of 6 threads.
Having known how to check the number of threads will always come in handy. For your current Windows and MAC computer, you’ll be able to ascertain if it is good enough for your current needs or you need an upgrade.
Beyond that, before you purchase your next computer, you’ll also be able to check the same to guide your buying decision.