The fact that Intel introduced the Core 12 series to the market forced Microsoft to release Windows 11 at a time when the kernel needed to face significant changes regarding hardware’s future. The P-Core and E-Core changed everything, as Intel Thread Director arrived to make optimal scheduling decisions for each processor workload. Both companies seemed to have a promising partnership, but that wasn’t the case. With the announcement of Core 14, Intel launched APO, restricted to these CPUs. Fortunately, we now have CoreDirector, but what exactly is it?
Intel Thread Director is not working as Microsoft and the blue team would like. It does the job, but the affinity is not correct, and APO is needed to regain the expected gaming performance since the E-Cores limit performance in this area. Therefore, new software aims to fill the gap left by both Microsoft and Intel, allowing for increased gaming performance or improved processor efficiency.
CoreDirector is a free Windows process management software with a specific function: preventing more complex or simple processes (depending on their load and allocation) from generally ending up on the E-Cores. This is because Intel still prioritizes efficiency but isn’t always necessary nor a requirement to be met.
CoreDirector aims to keep tasks on the P-Cores above the E-Cores, especially for demanding software.
Why is all this confusion necessary, and how is it possible that Microsoft and Intel haven’t solved it?
In reality, it is not in their hands. In other words, developers are largely to blame. Most software benefits more from AMD’s architecture and chiplet design than Intel’s, as most programs and applications have not been updated with a foundation that can understand and work with two types of cores. In many cases, this may never happen.
Windows and Thread Director have to interpret which type of Cores a thread should go to, and APO is only specific to games. Therefore, no one manages to cover the entire spectrum, let alone do it correctly.
This program arrives to forcefully resolve the issue, as its description explains:
CoreDirector offers several application methods, from gently disabling Efficiency Mode in target processes to slightly stronger CPU sets and strict CPU affinities.
Disabling Efficiency Mode: This method will prevent threads from going into efficiency mode. It serves to prevent automatic scheduling on E-Cores. However, a process can still use the E-Cores if the number of threads warrants it or if explicitly decided.
CPU Affinities: This method restricts all threads to P-Cores. The only exception is a process purposely scheduled on the E-Cores.
CPU Sets: This method lies somewhere between the other two and leaves much of the decision to the operating system.
Finally, this software has no restrictions between Intel architectures with P-Core and E-Core, meaning it is compatible with Intel Core 12, Core 13, and Core 14. If greater control or customization is required, the same company offers another software called Project Lasso that allows more thread-level optimization. However, for most users, CoreDirector will be more than enough to gain FPS and overall performance.