Why do some misbehaving processes use 100% CPU and some 50% CPU?

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QUESTION :

When programs on my laptop crash, they sometimes start hogging CPU. I have noticed that some processes use 50% (like firefox, various games) but a few use 100% like (VLC, GOM) etc.

Does this have do with Core2Duo processor on my laptop? Also what determines whether they will use 50% or 100%?

ANSWER :

Single-threaded applications will use 50%, or one of the cores on the system fully. Multi-threaded apps will use 100%, or both cores.

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