If you are to choose between a processor that has 2 cores and a processor with a single core but with a higher clock speed, which do you think you’d get? Nowadays, most of the processors that are on the market have at least 2 cores in them. Brand new single core processors are becoming a rare commodity. But just in case, would you prefer a faster single-core processor over a slower processor with more than 1 core?
When you are using your desktop for the internet or just simple word processing activities, you really don’t need a very powerful processor. A processor with a single-core will suffice. Here’s a question that I asked myself, “Which should I buy, an Intel Pentium 4 3.0 GHz processor or an Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Dual Core but only at 2.4 GHz?” Let me put it into an analogy.
Let’s use roads. Let’s say road A has a speed limit of 120 kilometers per hour (processor clock speed) and a single lane (1 core). Then, road B has a speed limit of 100 kilometers per hour but it has 4 lanes (quad core). If there are only 2 or 3 cars running at average speeds such as 70 km/h (using the internet), you won’t see a difference whichever road they’re on. If a single car needs to go fast, that car can take advantage of the extra 20 km/h.
Now, what if it’s an unusually very busy rush hour where there are more cars let’s say around 3 times the regular volume or more? Obviously, road B with 4 lanes will be able to accommodate more cars and possibly maintain the average speeds unlike on road A, they’re probably in a bumper-to-bumper slow moving traffic. Based from this example, as mentioned throughout this article, you can really take advantage of a multi-core processor for extensive computing processes.
You don’t have to worry much about the bus speed of the processors. Older processors usually have slower bus speeds but they’re not really far off from multi-core processors. Some of the single-core processors were at 800/1033 MHz front-side bus speed which is comparable to most dual-cores.
However, multi-core processors will always beat a single-core processor when it comes to really strenuous computing. There are some among the latest games that allows you to use 2 or more cores to help out in processing.
When it comes to technology, processors with multiple cores are usually more advanced compared to single core processors. They have more features added into them. The platforms for single core processors are really winding down. Most of the new motherboards, from low-end to high-end, usually do not support single core processors anymore. Plus, with smaller die sizes, new processors do not produce as much heat as old ones and the end result; it doesn’t require much power to operate.
So, in my opinion, I’d always choose multi-core processors. But again, it depends on what you’re going to use your computer for. If you are certain that you won’t be playing 3D games or use any software that needs more processing power, single-core processors will suffice. They are much cheaper but make sure that you have a motherboard to accommodate the processor. Plus, most of them are second hand so you better scrutinize the item you are gong to buy. But if you require hardcore processor power, go for the latest multi-core processors.
Wikipedia – Multi-core processor