Systems and methods for improved received network traffic distribution in multi-core computing device are presented. A hardware classification engine of the computing device receives a data packet comprising a portion of a received network traffic data flow. Packet information from the data packet is identified. Based on the packet information, the classification engine determines whether a core of a multi-core processor subsystem is assigned to the data flow of which the packet is a part. In embodiments, this determination may be made based on one or more criteria, such as a work load of the core(s) of the processor subsystem, priority level of the data flow, etc. Responsive to the determination that a core is not assigned to the data flow, a core of the multi-core processor is assigned to the data flow and the data packet is sent to the first core for processing.