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I have an AMD Octo core CPU. As I watch the CPU meter app, I am noticing that while all cores can have activity, it seems a couple have higher and more consistent activity.

How does the "work load" get distributed per core? Why does it seem a few cores get hit harder then the rest?

Specs: Mobo ASUS ROG Crosshair V Formula-Z Windows 7 Pro CPU is AMD FX-8320 16 gBs of RAM

  • Possible duplicate of How do multi-core CPUs work? – fixer1234 Jun 12 '16 at 1:00
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    Not a possible dup. I understand the concept of multi thread/task. I am trying to understand how the cores are tasked....I can shut all cores down to use a single core if I like. How does the OS manag work to be spread across the cores....how does it determine what core should get what? % of use? – Carl B Jun 12 '16 at 10:26
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Programs tend to use one core. Well, unless the program is designed to use software design techniques such as multi-threaded parallelization. Since some programs do use such a technique, some programs may offload some (but not all) of their load onto another CPU core.

Of course, modern operating systems are advanced enough that they multi-task multiple programs. Or, more specifically, multiple pieces of programs that are designed to identify different threads so the computer (operating system, CPU, whatever) can put different pieces of a program on different CPUs.

In short, the precise details actually get pretty complicated, and are probably subject to change as hardware evolves, and as operating systems change strategies, and compilers include different optimizations, and software designers use different techniques. I don't claim to know all of the intricate details.

What I do know is that it does make sense that you may see some software using multiple CPU cores, while other software may not be doing that (at all, or at least: as much). So, you're likely not imagining things. What you think you're noticing, probably is exactly what is actually happening.

  • Despite the already existing "close" vote (for "too broad"), I figure it's a basic question, so I provide a cursory overview as an answer. The "Related" category currently shows several other questions that look like they may be on topic, such as How do multi-core CPUs work? – TOOGAM Jun 11 '16 at 7:58

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