Besides supporting multiple processes, Messaging Server further improves performance by subdividing its work among multiple threads. The server’s use of threads greatly increases execution efficiency, because commands in progress are not holding up the execution of other commands. Threads are created and destroyed, as needed during execution, up to the maximum number you have set.
Having more simultaneously executing threads means that more client requests can be handled without delay, so that a greater number of clients can be serviced quickly. However, there is a performance overhead to dispatching among threads, so there is a practical limit to the number of threads the server can make use of.
For POP, IMAP, and HTTP, the default maximum value is 250 threads per process. The numbers are equal despite the fact that the default number of connections for IMAP and HTTP is greater than for POP. It is assumed that the more numerous IMAP and HTTP connections can be handled efficiently with the same maximum number of threads as the fewer, but busier, POP connections. Your optimum configuration may be different, but these defaults are high enough that it is unlikely you would ever need to increase them; the defaults should provide reasonable performance for most installations.