As we were saying...we wanted to take a look at the issue of core parking, which some observers have suggested can adversely affect gaming performance on Hyperthreaded CPUs. We have some results on the next page that demonstrate the effects of Windows 8.1 on Hyperthreading, which many have suggested does a better job using virtual cores. But not everyone wants to upgrade to Windows 8.1, and we don't necessarily blame them.
So we thought we'd do a little experiment with core unparking via registry edits, which might be an appealing approach for anyone committed to sticking with Win7. We used the handy utility UnparkCPU to do the heavy-lifting for us. And as you'll see, it definitely makes a difference in BF4, but does it cure the HT affliction that we demonstrated so clearly on the previous page?
Battlefield 4 Single-Player
We've carried over the results from the previous page on the left-hand side of this graph, with our new "unparked" results on the right. So are the new results better? Most definitely. In our single-player benchmarks, the Hyperthreaded CPU now runs full strength, hitting our video card's limit of 80fps in this game each and every time. The results at 3.3GHz are particularly impressive, notching an 8 percent performance gain over the Hyperthreaded CPU left to its own devices (i.e., partially parked), while also beating the non-HT CPU by a few percentage points.
Battlefield 4 Multi-Player
So much for that idea - core unparking simply doesn't deliver the goods here. Sure, it's providing slightly higher performance than the standard Hyperthreaded processor at the two lower clockspeeds we tested, but it doesn't catch up to the non-HT processor, and furthermore, at 4.5GHz, it has the lowest average frames per second of the three configurations. Our advice - run without Hyperthreading for now if you're playing BF4 multi-player. Note that the performance with our 4.5GHz non-HT processor is absolutely stellar - the minimums are nearly 60fps, and the average is just under 80fps, almost identical to the performance in the single-player game. Considering the extra overhead that multi-player imposes, we're pretty impressed that the results are that close!
Update: Our original article ended here, but there's been plenty of speculation that Windows 8.1 provides a different gameplay experience than Win7, especially with regard to Hyperthreading. Well, we built a new Windows 8.1 rig just to test this theory, and our additional benchmarks on the next page demonstrate whether Win8.1 is a must-have for gamers using HT processors.