Four-way multitasking is an Intel technology developed to optimize the use of multi-core computers for conducting parallel processing of computer program tasks or processes. Four-way multitasking improves on the previous technology of parallel processing conducted by single-core or CPU based computers, which would be able to run programs only in a pseudo-parallel manner by switching between program tasks during execution. Four-way multitasking makes use of the multiple CPU cores found on the Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 computer processors in order to execute the computer processes simultaneously.
Requirements for Four-Way Multitasking
In order for your computer to use four-way multitasking, it has to have multiple cores on the computer processor and support the Hyper-Threading technology developed by the Intel corporation. In late 2009, the Intel Core i5 and i7 computer processors were the first CPUs that were able to support four-way multitasking. They were soon joined in early 2010 by the Core i3, which also comes equipped with a four-way multitasking ability. The competing processors from AMD supported multiple core technology, but as if 2010 are not able to support the Intel technology required to accomplish four-way processing.
Benefits of Four-Way Multitasking
When a CPU is capable of four-way multitasking, it can more efficiently use computer resources to execute program or process tasks in parallel. The efficiency benefits increase when the demand of computer resources by the programs being executed increases. Common applications that benefit significantly from four-way multitasking include batch video editing and playing 3D video games or simulations. Computer efficiency has been benchmark tested to increase to up to 90 percent when running complex, resource-hungry programs.
Single Core CPUs
Through the mid-2000s, single core computer processors were the predominant processors sold on the consumer market. They continue to be one of the predominant processors purchased, but they are unable to conduct true multitasking or four-way multitasking. Single core processors that do multitasking make use of the operating system task scheduler–which splits multiple tasks into pieces, then lines them up to run through the processor– in order to give the appearance of parallel processing to the end user.
Multi-core Computer Processors
Multi-core processors have a single CPU that includes two or more separate microprocessors that can be used to execute computer tasks in parallel. The operating system can still schedule separate tasks to “time share” the resources of the separate computer processor cores if required. Multi-core processors that execute four-way multitasking can achieve increases of overall processor speeds of up to 133 MHz depending on the computer programs being used on the computer.
Four-way multitasking is enabled by default on an Intel Core i5 processor and can be used by the i7 CPU if switched from eight-way multitasking in the computer BIOS. The only way to disable four-way multitasking is to disable the feature in the computer’s BIOS. If multitasking is enabled, the operating system manages the computer’s resources to best optimize computer performance and keep the computer processor’s operating temperature within safe limits of the hardware.