This article will review dual vs. quad-core processors for computers, not for smartphones. When purchasing a new laptop, make sure you’re on the lookout for the specifications to see what kind of hardwarethe laptop uses, and it’s here that you’ll often see references to dual or quad-core processors. But what are they?
Dual-core processors were launched in 2005 and made a huge impact on computers and laptops. Having a multi-core processor means that computers can multitask much better, enabling you to run several applications and perform intensive tasks simultaneously.
There is always only one processor chip. That chip can have one, two, four, six, or eight cores. Presently, an 18-core processor is the best you can get in consumer PCs. Each is the part of the chip that does the processing work.
You might think more cores will make your processor faster overall, but that’s not always the case. It’s a little more complicated than that.
Many cores are faster only if a program can split its tasks between the cores. Not all programs are developed to split tasks between cores. Each core’s clock speed is also a significant factor in speed, as it is the architecture. A newer dual-core CPU with a higher clock speed will always exceed an older quad-core CPU with a lower clock speed.
When the processor is switched on, it supplies power to all the cores, not just one at a time. The more cores available, the more power consumption by the processor. However, the makers have been trying to reduce power consumption and make processors more energy productive. But as a general rule of thumb, a quad-core processor will draw more power from your laptop, which will drain your battery faster.
Due to this additional heat, manufacturers need to add better heat sinks or other cooling solutions.
More cores aren’t always expensive. As written above, clock speed, architecture versions, and other considerations come into play. But if all other factors are the same, then more cores will fetch a higher price.
Programs have to be mainly developed to take advantage of multiple processors. Such “multi-threaded software” isn’t as common as imagined. Even if it’s a multi-threaded program, it’s about what it is used for. For example, the Google Chrome web browser supports multiple processes, as does video editing software Adobe Premiere Pro.
Imagine you have the right software and all your other hardware is the same. Would a quad-core processor be twice as fast as a dual core processor? The answer is No!
Note:Scaling to cores is the theoretical ability of any software to assign the right tasks to the right cores, so each core is computingat its optimal speed. In reality, tasks are split sequentially or randomly. If you choose to be a gamer, getting more cores on a gamingPCis ideal. The vast majority of new AAA titles support multi-threaded architecture. Video games are still largely dependent on the graphics card to look good, but a multi-core processor helps.
More cores will benefit any professional who works with video or audio programs. Most popular audio and video editing tools take advantage of multi-threaded processing.
A higher clock speed and more processor cache will boost speeds better than more cores. Adobe Photoshop largely supports single-threaded or lightly threaded processes. Multiple cores aren’t going to be a significant boost with this.
A quad processor will perform faster than a dual-core processor for general computing. Each program you open will work on its core, so the speeds are better if the tasks are shared.
Image Credit: MakeUseOf