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The processor is nothing but your central processing unit, which is also commonly known as CPU; it is the main chip in the computer which is responsible for carrying out all the tasks that they are supposed to, for example, instructing the various components of the computer what they are supposed to do as per the instructions given by the various programs (software) running on your computer.
In most computers, the CPU, the Central Processing Unit, is the device that is apart from the main body of the computer. For most of the devices that run programs or software on it, there are high chances that they have a CPU in them; these devices include TVs, mobile phones, etcetera.
Unlike the computer, smartphones have the CPU on the same physical chip as the other components of it. Most modern computers have a CPU that shares a chip with its graphic electronics, which decides what you see on your computer screen. The chip that contains the CPU in the smartphones and tablets may also be capable of handling calls, Wi-Fi, GPS, and many other tasks.
These multi-purpose chips are known as SoCs (system on a chip). In the case of a computer, the CPU is generally found at the heart that is the center of the system, which is then plugged into the motherboard.
It is not normally visible from the side panel of the desktop or the PC because it is generally located underneath the cooling fan as the CPU is a compelling component and has a tendency to get very hot if not cooled properly.
The CPU in PCs are relatively cooler and are designed in a manner that makes them easy to remove, which makes it easy to replace to chip when something goes wrong with the process. Still, it does not imply that you can change your processor to a more powerful one as the CPU has to be compatible with the motherboard for this kind of swap to take place.
When you upgrade your CPU to a more powerful one, you also need to upgrade your motherboard at the same time. The CPUs in the laptop is cooler and are fixed, which makes it unable to remove or replace, unlike the CPUs in PCs, which makes laptops unable to be upgraded in this regard.
The ability of the CPU to process the data fed in it is dependent on the number of cores it has. Each core is essentially a CPU in itself, which has many programs written on it so that multiple cores can work together on processing the data that a particular program requires and, at the same time, vastly increasing the speed at which that program could be run.
Most of the modern CPUs have at least two cores (Dual-Core) while others have four cores (Quad-Core), or even eight cores and more. Having multiple cores is associated with giving a speed boost. Still, it must be remembered the kind of program you are running as sometimes a quad-core processor can perform certain tasks like video editing a lot faster in comparison with the dual-core chip, but this won’t be the same for all the tasks.
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- 1 Dual Core Vs. Quad-Core
- 1.1 What Is Dual-Core Processor?
- 1.2 What is a Quad-Core Processor?
- 1.3 The Difference Between Dual-core and Quad-Core Processor
- 1.4 How a Dual-core or a Quad-core affects the speed of your CPUs
- 1.5 Which Processor Consumes More Power
- 1.6 More Cores Equals More Heat?
- 1.7 Which is more expensive, Quad-core or Dual-core?
- 1.8 Software is of crucial importance.
- 1.9 More Cores Does Not Mean More Speed
- 1.10 Multiple cores in gaming
- 1.11 Multiple cores in video and audio editing
- 1.12 Multiple cores for photo designing.
- 1.13 Conclusion
Dual Core Vs. Quad-Core
What Is Dual-Core Processor?
Dual Core is a CPU that, as the name itself suggests, has two processors that work together in the same integrated circuit. These kinds of processors have the ability to work efficiently as a single processor by themselves. Still, at the same time, it can also perform the operations at double the speed.
Each core of the dual-core processor has its own cache; both the processors are able to handle most of the tasks simultaneously. In the year 2000, IBM introduced dual-core chips in its Power 4 microprocessors, and in the year 2004, Dual-Core CPUs were introduced.
Because of the perpetual increase in the single-core clock speeds, CPUs were generating more heat as they were using more power. The purpose of introducing dual cores was to improve the performance without generating more heat as both the processors in the dual-core processor use the same amount of energy.
The invention of dual-core processors has paved the way for the introduction of triple and quad-core processors. As the name itself suggests, dual-core processors have twice the processing power in comparison with the machine with a single-core processor but, the inverse in the number of processors does not necessarily guarantee an increase in the speed because some of the operating systems and programs are not well equipped for multiprocessing.
What is a Quad-Core Processor?
A quad-core processor is a type of processor that has four processor cores embedded with a single processor dye. Each core of the quad-core has the ability to execute and process instructions given to it independently of the other four cores in the processor.
A quad-core processor is a multipurpose architecture that is specifically designed in order to provide faster processing power. Quad-core literally translates to four cores, is a successor of the dual-core processor, which is a processor made of two cores.
The quad-core processor integrates two dual-core processors within a single processor. The two dual cores communicate with each other, and each dual processor has its own chase, which is used by them for the purpose of communication.
A quad-core processor can execute multiple tasks simultaneously, which also means that each core can be dedicated for a separate function. Also, the performance of the device increases with the use of a quad-core processor by a considerable amount.
The system of our entire system does not solely depend on your processor but also other components in your computer. Intel and AMD are popular manufacturers of quad-core processors.
Now that we have understood the meaning of a dual-core and a quad-core processor let us further dive into the differences between the dual-core and a quad-core processor.
The Difference Between Dual-core and Quad-Core Processor
The basic difference in terms of usage in the case of a dual-core and a quad-core processor is that the dual-core processor has two processors, as the name suggests. As we have early on discussed in this article, it is useful specifically for individuals who are in need of energy-efficient and budget-friendly computers for the purpose of performing basic tasks like checking emails, surfing through the internet, etcetera.
Whereas on the other hand, quad-core processors are useful for individuals who are in need of a computer that has a fast processing speed and can manage numerous tasks, applications, and programs simultaneously.
Given the influx of information we have at this point in time, we are generally aware and have at least the basic level of information regarding the electronic devices we use, and we are generally habitual of purchasing devices that have many exciting features to offer and at the same time are able to fulfill our specific needs.
This has helped producers to come up with ideas that would not only help to make the processor more powerful but also at the same time guarantee electronic gadgets that have an extended battery life, better speed, graphics, and software, and the idea was to inverse the number of cores.
Multi-core processors are pro-multi-tasking and allow the user to manage multiple programs and applications by dividing the load between the multiple processors, which makes it a lot more efficient to work on the device.
Most of the time, while buying a laptop or a computer, people are often facing a dilemma of whether they should go for a dual or a quad-core processor.
Quad-core processors are known to provide smoother performance and are more powerful when it comes to managing CPU-intensive tasks in comparison with the dual-core processor as it has more cores, but as we have discussed earlier in the article, the increase in the number of processors does no necessarily guaranteed an increase in the overall speed and the performance of the device as there are other factors and components to be considered as well.
How a Dual-core or a Quad-core affects the speed of your CPUs
It is a common assumption amongst people that as the number of cores increases, so does the speed of your device, but that is not always the case as what determines the speed of your device is based on a number of factors.
More cores can make your CPU perform faster only if a particular program can split tasks between the cores. The clock speed of each of the cores in the processor is also a crucial factor that determines the speed and performance along with the architecture of the processor.
A relatively new dual-core CPU that hasn’t been worn out yet is very likely to outperform an older quad-core CPU, which will have a lower clock speed due to the wear and tear caused by the usage.
Which Processor Consumes More Power
As the number of cores in the processor will increase, so will the power required to run the processor. When a processor is switched on, it supplies power to all its cores at the same time.
Most of the manufacturers have been trying to reduce power consumption and are working on making processors that are more energy efficient. For a fact, a quad-core processor will consume more of the power and hence will run your battery out much sooner.
More Cores Equals More Heat?
There are other factors that might lead to the heating up of your device, but it is generally believed that more cores will lead to incensed overall heating of your CPU and device.
Due to the increased heating, manufacturers need to find better cooling solutions as the addition of more fans increases the overall weight of the device.
Which is more expensive, Quad-core or Dual-core?
It does not necessarily imply that more cores equal a higher price; there are many other factors, and the clock speed, architecture is some of the important factors that play an important role when it comes to the price of a processor.
Software is of crucial importance.
Most manufacturers don’t want their customers to know that it’s not just about the number of cores in your processor, but the software that you are running them on is of crucial importance.
As it was mentioned early on in this article that the increased number of cores does not necessarily guarantee better performance and speed as the programs of the device have to be specifically developed to take advantage of the multiple processors; not all devices are well-equipped with that. Such kinds of multithreaded software aren’t widespread.
Even if it is a multithreaded program, its purpose is also essential. For example- Adobe premiere pro instructs different cores of the processor to work on different aspects of the editing process as many layers are involved in the process of video editing; hence it requires each core to work on separate tasks; here, we can see the role the software plays.
More Cores Does Not Mean More Speed
Even if you have the right kind of software and the right kind of hardware, it does not necessarily mean that a quad-core processor will be faster than a dual-core processor.
Increasing the cores will not solve the problem of scaling, which is faced by the software. Scaling is not but the ability of the software to assign the right task to the right core, which enables each core to compute the data at the optimal speed. This is not the case in reality as the tasks are assigned by the software in a split sequential or a random manner.
For example- for a quad-core processor which has 4 cores (core 1, core 2, core 3, core 4) And at a particular given point of time 3 tasks are to be completed (T1, T2, T3) in order to finish an action there are five actions in all namely (A1, A2, A3, A4, A5)
In this case, the software will divide the tasks in this manner-
Core 1 = A1T1
Core 2 = A1T2
Core 3 = A1T3
Core 4 = A2T1
The software is not as smart as the human brain hence the division of tasks is done in such an inefficient and inadequate manner; this division does not guarantee the task has been performed at the highest speed or in the most efficient manner.
This proves the point we made earlier in this article that the software is not well equipped to take full advantage of the multiple cores, and hence more cores do not mean more speed.
So if more cores don’t necessarily increase the speed and performance, do you actually need them?
Now you are aware that there are certain restrictions faced by the cores when it comes to their performance, but it does not necessarily mean that upgrading to multiple cores is a waste of money. Whether you need to upgrade to multiple cores depends on what you need them for?
Multiple cores in gaming
It is advisable to get more cores if gaming is what you are using your pc or laptop for as video games are highly dependent on the graphics to look visually pleasing, and a multiple-core processor facilitates it.
Multiple cores in video and audio editing
For professional editors who edit many audio and video files, a quad-core processor is a better option in comparison with the dual-core processor as most of the audio and video editing software takes advantage of multithreading processing.
Multiple cores for photo designing.
For a professional designer, high clock speed and more processor cache are required as it will increase speed better than an additional number of cores.
The most popular photo designing and editing software Adobe Photoshop mostly supports single-threaded or lightly threaded processes; multiple core processors or a quad-core processor is not a suitable option in such a situation.
To conclude dual core vs quad core, a quad-core processor is going to perform faster in comparison with a dual-core processor. Each program that is opened on your device will run on its own core. So, the speed increases when the tasks are shared. If you run many programs simultaneously and often switch between them, then a quad-core processor is the right choice for you.
But expecting a supernormal increase in the speed of your device is not the right choice. You will have to select the right kind of processor as per your requirement. All the important aspects that you must be considered while purchasing a processor are discussed in detail in this article; if you understand your own requirements and weigh them, you will be able to find the right kind of processor for you.
I lead product content strategy for SaltMoney. Additionally, I’m helping our broader team of 4 evolve into a mature content strategy practice with the right documentation and processes to deliver quality work.
Prior to Instacart, I was a content strategy lead at Uber Eats and Facebook. Before that, I was a content strategist at SapientNitro, helping major Fortune 500 brands create better, more useful digital content.