Processor vs Core vs Thread – Difference and Comparison

What is Processor?

In computer technology, the processor is an electronic circuit that performs calculations based on the instructions provided by the operating system (OS). The processor is the epicenter of a computer system because it is the hub of all operations. It accepts both arithmetic and logical input to the process. The credibility of a processor is measured by its ability to process information at a fixed time and other factors. 

It is a misconception that a system contains only one processor. Rather, a computer system consists of multiple processors, each performing its peculiar function. As for the components of a processor, they are an arithmetic logic unit, floating point unit, cache, and registers. Aforesaid components work in harmony to constitute the overall functionality of a computer.

What is Core?

The core is the central component of a processor, and each processor can have multiple cores incorporated into it. It is the core that actually performs operations and calculations and, in the general sense, processes information to be made available to the user. The core is characterized by the singularity of tasking, implying that a core can only work on one task. 

This is why multiple cores are embedded together so that they are able to process information and perform calculations at a relatively faster speed. A processor with two cores is termed dual-core, a processor with four cores quad-core, a processor with six cores is hexa-core, and a processor with eight cores octa-core. Some processors even support up to twelve cores.

What is Thread?

Unlike the processor and core, the thread is an abstract composition that is used to divide the physical core into multiple functioning cores. If you are using a standard CPU, each core can be split by two threads. The creation of thread is necessitated by a process. For example, when a program is launched on a computer, it creates a thread that is responsible for executing its tasks only. 

Therefore, the number of threads is proportional to the number of running applications. Threads are meant to employ a processor in multitasking. In this way, not only is the workload divided, but it also provides faster tasking. Conceptually, the OS creates different threads based on the tasks available to perform.

Difference Between Processor and Core and Thread

  1. The processor is an electronic circuit; the core is a unit of the processor; the thread is a component of the processor made by the OS.
  2. The processor processes information; the core is a subpart of the processor with allocated tasks; the thread divides a physical core into two.
  3. The processor is relatively larger; the core is a smaller component; the thread is not physical and is virtual.
  4. The processor contains all units; the core is embedded in the processor; the thread is virtually made.
  5. Processors can be a microprocessor, microcontrollers, and embedded processors; cores can be dual-core, quad-core, hexa-core, and octa-core; threads can be user threads and kernel threads.

Comparison Between Processor and Core and Thread

Parameters of ComparisonProcessorCoreThread
DefinitionElectronic CircuitUnit of ProcessorCore Splitter
FunctionProcessing the InformationPerforming CalculationsDividing the Physical Core into Two
SizeRelatively BiggerRelatively SmallerVirtual in Nature
PlacementInside CPUInside ProcessorCreated by the OS
TypesMicroprocessor, Microcontroller, and Embedded ProcessorDual-core, Quad-core, Hexa-core and Octa-coreUser Threads and Kernel Threads