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Number of threads

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On Performance Settings it says "Number of threads" from 1 to 8. It's set to 5. What exactly is this feature? And what's the difference if I set it to 1 or if I set it to 8?

 

Also, scan thread priority means how much it will take for a scan to finish? For example if I set it to time critical the scan will finish faster than if I set it to low?

 

Thanks.

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A thread is a way of isolating instructions that are being processed, so that multiple things can be processed at the same time. This is great when a processor has multiple cores, and can physically process multiple things at the same time. If you have one thread for each CPU core, then you can process data in each CPU core at the same time.

In your case, I would assume your computer has a 4-core (quad-core) processor, since by default Emsisoft Internet Security will set itself to use 1 more thread than the number of available CPU cores that it detects. Using a separate thread for each processor core allows the scanner to increase the speed at which it scans files, as a separate file can be scanned in each CPU core at the same time.

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So since I have an i5 CPU I should change it to 4 and set it to high?

Not necessarily. The problem with picking a good value is that it greatly depends on your overall hardware. If you have a mechanical disk for example, decreasing the number may be beneficial as it reduces disk seeking caused by parallel disk access. SSDs on the other hand strive with parallel workloads, so increasing the thread count, even to a value way beyond your CPU core count, can lead to major improvements. You will have to experiment to see what works best on your system.

Increasing the priority is not recommended though unless you know exactly what you are doing. Increasing the priority will allow EIS to hog more CPU time, potentially starving other processes that require CPU at the same time, causing them to freeze. The default will allow other applications to run during scans. If you don't run any other applications during scans, EIS will get all the CPU time anyways, so there it doesn't make scans faster in that scenario. Reducing priority will allow other applications to take precedence over EIS. It's quite useful when you regularly perform scans with EIS being in the background as it will greatly reduce the impact an on-going scan has on the rest of your system.

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If you have a mechanical disk for example, decreasing the number may be beneficial as it reduces disk seeking caused by parallel disk access. SSDs on the other hand strive with parallel workloads, so increasing the thread count, even to a value way beyond your CPU core count, can lead to major improvements.

Have you considered detecting the system disk type and configuring the thread value depending on if it's a hard disc drive or a SSD?

For example:

  • fast SSD --> number of threads = number of cores + 3
  • slow HDD --> number of threads = number of cores - 1

Of course only if the improvements are worth it and consistent.

And maybe only for "Quick Scan" and "Malware Scan" which afaik mostly only scan the system partition (at least if you don't move %ProgramFiles%, %AppData%, etc. to other discs).

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The thread count is not solely based on disk type. You would have to perform 15 - 60 minutes of extensive benchmarking to figure out decent values for a system. It's simply not worth it as the default values produce decent results on most configurations.

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