This month, several notebooks with Intel's new Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 "Arrandale" processors are being released. All of these mobile CPUs support hyper-threading, which allows Windows to effectively use each core as if it were two separate processors. A dual core CPU with hyper-threading, would therefore support four threads and a quad core CPU would support a whopping eight threads.
While Windows makes use of multiple threads by assigning different threads to different apps, many programs use only a single thread, minimizing their ability to take full advantage of the CPU. Fortunately, we number of games, media creation programs, and productivity apps can make use of four or more threads. Here are some of our favorites.
3D games can really push a notebook to its limit so, if they use multiple threads, they will be able to offer higher frame rates, more detail, and a smoother experience. Some of our favorites include:
- Resident Evil 5: This third person shooter continues the resident evil story line and introduces a new type of enemeis called "Majini" (or evil spirit in Swahili). (Buy)
- Far Cry 2: This first-person shooter has been around for a couple of years, but is still so demanding we routinely use it for testing notebooks in the LAPTOP lab. As a soldier, you must find and kill the Jackal, an immoral arms dealer who is selling to both sides in an African conflict. (Buy)
- Lost Planet Colonies: Another demanding first-person shooter, Lost Planet is set on an ice planet in the distant future. Take on the evil NEVEC corporation and stop them from destroying all life on the planet's surface. (Buy)
- Ghostbusters: The Video Game: Who wouldn't want to try bagging ghosts with Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson? Now you can attack the Stay-puft Marshmellow Man with all four threads. (Buy)
- Adobe Photoshop CS4: The world's leading image editing program can take advantage of all your CPU has to offer and that helps when modifying huge uncompressed images, particularly in batch mode. (Buy)
- Adobe Premiere Pro CS4: Rivaled only by Apples Final Cut Studio, Premiere Pro is the choice of professional video editors everywhere. (Buy)
- Core Video Studio X2: A low-cost video editor for consumers, Video Studio X2 lets you easily burn home movies to disc, share them online, or output them for portable players like the iPod. (Buy)
- TMPGEnc 4.0 Express: Easily convert videos from one format to another. A simple editor also lets you recut your clips. (Try)
- Microsoft Excel 2007: We all use Microsoft Office, but did you know that since version 2007, Excel is capable of using four or more threads? When you're running a complex formula across 50,000 cells, you'll appreciate the speed increase. (Buy)
- ABBYY FineReader 10: OCR (Optical Character Recognition) can really squeeze the juice out of your CPU as your computer tries to transform scanned papers into editable documents. (Buy)