Modern computer processors, including mobile, laptop and desktop silicon, are multi-core chips that can simultaneously tackle an assortment of tasks. Even Chromebooks — the affordable and easy-to-use web-based laptops — feature multi-core processes even though they are primarily used for browsing the internet and working with light applications. The software that runs on all Chromebooks is catered explicitly to Google’s suite of productivity apps, including email, file and photo storage. Chrome OS is designed by Google and is optimized for the company’s services, providing solid performance with inexpensive hardware. However, for users trying to utilize every bit of performance inside their Chromebook, select notebooks have hyper-threading support, which will increase performance.
Although the software is made entirely by Google to create a secure ecosystem that includes the company’s applications and services, the hardware is a different story. Chromebooks are made by various manufacturers and can vary greatly in pricing, 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-featured operating system. Others are built to stand the test of time and made for the education market, like the rugged Chromebooks produced by HP. The key differences, though, can come in the Chromebook’s processor — Intel and Qualcomm, among others, make the chips that power the notebooks.
Related: Can You Use Android Apps On Chrome OS Flex? What You Should Know
First, what is hyper-threading? It’s a computing process that attempts to divide up the work on a given task between multiple cores on a processor, with ‘threads’ created in the software. Hyper-threading is different from multi-threading, which splits up tasks between multiple cores, but is limited to one thread per core. On a processor with four cores, multi-threading can only execute four threads simultaneously. However, the limitations of multi-threading are nonexistent when a processor supports hyper-threading. The process can run multiple threads on the same core, which allows many tasks to be completed simultaneously. The hyper-threading technology, which is present on particular enthusiast Intel processors, allows two threads to work concurrently on each core.
How To Enable Hyper-Threading
Chromebooks that contain Intel processors may support hyper-threading, which can increase the laptop’s performance. According to a Google support page, hyper-threading is turned off by default but can be easily enabled with Chrome OS 74 and newer installed. In the address bar of the Chrome web browser, users must enter “chrome://flags#scheduler-configuration” to show a settings menu. Under the “Schedule Configuration” heading, there is an option that “Enables Hyper-Threading on relevant CPUs.” After enabling hyper-threading, users must click the button to restart their computer. The process is the same to disable hyper-threading — users need only to enter the address to invoke the hidden settings menu and select “Disables Hyper-Threading on relevant CPUs.“
It might seem like a no-brainer to enable hyper-threading and receive all of a Chromebook’s performance, but there are serious security risks that are associated with the feature, according to a Chromium support page. By utilizing Intel’s hyper-threading feature, Chromebooks also use micro-architectural data sampling, which is a group of security vulnerabilities that could make it possible for a hacker to read user data. If a hack is successfully executed, it is possible that passwords, credit card info, or cookies could be compromised. Due to the exploits that may coincide with enabling hyper-threading, Chrome OS has the feature disabled by default, but Intel’s technology could provide immense performance gains to modern Chromebooks.