Last Updated on November 11, 2020
The speed of your processor dictates the time your computer will take to execute instructions. There have been significant advancements in processors over the years and multicore processors being the current trend let us discuss what is a hexacore processor.
A hexacore processor can be defined as an integrated circuit that is fitted with six independent units(cores) on a single die. These six cores act as mini processors that function collectively to make one single hexacore processor.
The hexacore is made with six cores so as to improve its multitasking capabilities. Since it has six cores, it is able to split tasks into six different units working independently hence improve performance.
What Is a Hexacore Processor?
A hexacore processor falls under the category of multi-core processors and was first introduced into the market in 2010. Intel launched its first hexacore processor called the Core i7 980x.
This was an improvement to previous versions since besides having six cores, it also has 12 threads, a cache memory of 12mb, and a base frequency of 3.3 gigahertz that would go up to 3.6 gigahertz.
The main difference between processors lies in how it is equipped. By this I mean the specifications such as the processor speed, the number of cores, cache speed and also the power consumption. To better understand what is a hexacore processor let us look at the characteristics of hexacore processors.
What are Processor Cores?
As discussed earlier think of the six cores in a hexacore processor as small processors found in the main CPU die.
Basically, instead of having 6 independent CPUs, in 6 different sockets on a motherboard, the CPU die itself is divided into sub processor called cores.
Each cores has its own sub components like the ALU, Registers and Cache memory.
With six cores this improves the speed of the processor. This is because with every core acting independently, each core can perform different tasks at once. This means that the multi-tasking ability of a hexacore processor would be superior compared to a processor with four cores (quad-core) or less.
However, it should be noted that not all programs and applications are designed for multicore environments.
For instance AutoCAD is highly depended on a single core performance of the CPU rather than how many cores it has. So for this application the single Core clock speed would matter the most.
For newer games, for instance, and also for video editing an rendering, the higher core count would matter.
Also Read: 6 Best Processors for AutoCAD
The Threads in A Hexacore Processor
A thread can best be described as a virtual core in a processor. Intel uses hyperthreading while AMD uses continuous multithreading, commonly known as hypertransport, to breakdown physical cores into smaller virtual cores to improve the performance of the processor.
For instance, if the processor has multithreading capability, the cores in a hexacore processor will be further broken down virtually to form a maximum of twelve threads.
A thread is created by the operating system and every time an application starts, a thread is created. The more applications you have open, the more threads will be formed by the OS.
Generally, a higher thread count further helps with multitasking.
The Cache Memory of Hexacore Processors
The cache memory is a special type of fast memory that acts as a buffer between RAM and CPU which holds requested data making them available to the CPU when needed. The cache memory differs between hexacore processors. We can demonstrate cache size using two hexacore processors
The AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT has 35 megabytes of cache memory while the AMD Ryzen 5 2600 has 19 megabytes cache memory even though both have six cores.
Both of these are hexacore processors but when comparing execution time, the AMD Ryzen 3600 XT would win slightly because of the difference in cache size.
The cache size in processors is also divided into three levels; L1, L2, and L3 with L1 being the fastest and L2 being the slowest. These levels are different in sizes in different hexacore processors. Using the previous examples, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT has an L2 cache of 3mb and an L3 cache of 32mb adding up to 35mb while, AMD Ryzen 5 2600 has an L2 cache of 3mb and L3 cache of 16mb adding up to 19mb of cache memory.
While L1 and L2 cache memory are dedicated to each core, the L3 cache is shared between all cores.
The Heat Generated by Hexacore Processors
With faster processing comes more heat generated. When the processor is heated it needs to be cooled and the power dissipated by the cooling system required is measured in TDP (Thermal Design Power).
Hexacore processors have different processing power hence have different TDPs. An example would be Intel Core i7-9750H which has a TDP of 45 watts.
This means that the mentioned hexacore processors need a cooling system that can dissipate 45 watts of heat.
The TDP generally increases with the number of cores which means most hexacore processors probably have more TDP than quadcore processors.
But there are many other factors that determine the TDP, core count is just one of them.
How Do I Know if I Have a Hexacore Processor?
The type of processor can be viewed using the task manager. The task manager program can be launched in two ways.
First, you can launch it by pressing control(ctrl) alt and delete at the same time. This opens a variety of options among them the task manager.
You can also open the task manager by pressing control shift and escape at the same time. When the task manager is open, click on the performance section.
Then click on the CPU widget and below the graphs, you will see your core specializations. If the cores are six then you have a hexacore processor.
Performance of Hexacore Processors
Knowing what is hexacore processors you may be wondering how hexacore processors perform.
Hexacore processors are generally fast. Most of the hexacore processors have a base clock speed of about 3.3 gigahertz which when combined with a good graphics card is good for gaming and heavy tasks such as 3D designing.
An example of a fast hexacore processor is the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X hexacore processor which is well equipped for gaming with 6 cores, 12 threads, a base clock of 3.7 gigahertz and a boost clock of 4.6 gigahertz, and a cache size of 35mb. While a quadcore can also be used in gaming, having more cores gives the edge in performance.
Of course, if you are talking about cell phone based hexacore processors, then that it may have a completely different performance factor, but the generally idea stays the same.