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Difference Between Quad Core and Dual Core

dual-coreThe ever continuing battle for computing supremacy has been going on for a couple of decades and is expected to go on for a long time. At first the struggle was with a much higher multiplier, and then it shifted into whoever had the highest speed. Now that processor speeds are at their limit given the current technology, the battle has now moved from the faster processor and into the more processors.

The quest for faster and better computing power has led to the two biggest microprocessor manufacturers to build more cores into a single package. This has become to be known as dual core processors for Intel and the x2 for AMD. But we won’t be discussing about which company makes better chips. This is about the differences between 2 cores and 4 cores.

Quad core processors are the logical next step from dual cores. The constant reduction in the size of chips allowed this technology to evolve. Multi core technology as they are collectively known take advantage of the fact that most people don’t run a single program when using their computer. It is more likely to be somewhere around 5 to 10 programs that are running concurrently. Multi core processors can greatly benefit the user by dividing the workload between all the processors present.

It is then clear that 4 cores should be technically superior against two. Although that may be true, in real world scenarios it doesn’t happen very often. There are a few things that are holding back the true performance of quad core processors. The first one would be heat. If your single core processor can crank out a serious amount of heat, just imagine how much heat 4 cores would generate. To alleviate the heating problem, they would need to scale down the total speed of each core. This problem could be solved by abandoning traditional air cooling solutions and going for liquid cooling which is harder to implement but can cool the processor at a much higher rate.

The second problem would be the other hardware. Whether you have 2 or 4 cores, you would still be using the same memory controller and buses. That would mean that the data of 4 cores would be more congested when trying to execute heavy tasks. This would then limit the overall performance it can achieve. The solution to this problem would be a new motherboard architecture that allows multiple buses along with multiple cores, allowing the cores to access its own areas of memory and to work independently.

Although quad core processors are genuinely superior to the dual core ones, the supporting technologies have not managed to catch up to the development. In the future, when the power is maximized, we can finally see clearly the great superiority of quad core processors.


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