Computers are extremely complicated. Cores, speed, processing units, gigahertz, what does it all mean?
When you are on the lookout for a new laptop or computer, the CPU or central processing unit is the most important part. One that you should definitely prioritize. Unfortunately, they come with a lot of jargon.
In this article, we will explain what a processor is, what it does, and specifically, we are going to explain what a Quad-Core Processor is.
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What is a Processor?
Inside your computer is a number of parts. All of them have their part to play in the day-day running of your computer.
The most important part is called the processor. Your processor makes thousands of decisions every single second. These decisions allow all of the parts of your computer to communicate and work.
The power and quality of your processor are measured in a number of ways. Two of the most common indicators are clock speed and the number of cores.
What is Clock Speed?
Clock speed is the number of decisions or processes that your CPU can undertake per second. This number is measured in GHz. 1GHz is 1000 processes per second.
The higher the speed, the more decisions your computer can make every second and the smoother your computer will run when you start doing demanding work.
What are Cores?
Old processors used to have a single core. That meant that the processor could only undertake one single task at a time. Multi-core processors are what we use today. Dual-core processors can work on 2 separate tasks; a quad-core processor can work on 4 separate tasks, as it has four cores.
Multiple cores allow processors to work at a much more efficient rate. Twin-core CPUs processor will allow you to tackle most normal computing tasks with ease.
A quad-core processor will allow your computer to undertake more challenging tasks like gaming or 3D modeling.
Remember that many cores do not equal high performance; you will need your processor to be strong in other areas too.
If you want to read more about cores, check out our article here:
Power Consumption & Heat Production
One thing you need to bear in mind when deciding upon a processor is power consumption. A quad-core processor is much more powerful but requires a lot more power to run. This means that in laptops, you will have less battery, and desktops will require a stronger power supply.
Both dual-core CPUs and quad-core processors produce more heat than a single-core processor. This means you will need to consider what cooling solutions your laptop or computer will need in order to keep the CPU at an optimum processing temperature. Single-core processors produce very little heat, so it may be something you have never had to consider before.
Quad-Core Vs Dual Core Processor: Cost & Differences
The number of cores does not reflect the quality of the processor. Newer dual-core processors are often stronger than old quad-core processors from previous generations.
Our advice would be to buy a processor from the newest generation. If your budget only allows for a dual-core processor from the newest generation, you may still be better off than buying an older quad-core processor.
Again, do not get hung up on the number of cores. Prioritize newer generations and buy as high up in that line as you can afford.
Where Do More Cores Really Help?
If you are only planning on using your computer for basic low-performance tasks like browsing the internet and word processing, you probably don't need a quad-core CPU. A single-chip will be more than enough.
One task that will massively benefit from more cores is in gaming systems. The newest AAA+ games all come with the ability to take advantage of multi-threading quad-core CPUs. This means you get the best performance from your chip.
Video or Photo Editing Software
Nothing pushes your chip as hard as when it is being used during photo or video editing software. Quad-core multi-threading CPU's make multi-tasking during editing a breeze. If you are used to slowing loading and software during your design tasks, a quad-core CPU could be the answer.
Photoshop and Design Software
If you're a designer aiming for a higher clock speed and more processor cache is the best way to increase speeds. All of the most popular design software, such as Adobe Photoshop, prefer single-threaded processes. Using CPUs with multiple cores might not even help you at all.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Quad core processor vs i7 - what’s the difference?
A Quad Core Processor is simply a processor with 4 cores. An i7 processor is a CPU from Intel’s i7 range.
What is the fastest quad core processor?
The fastest quad core processor is the i7-7700k.
What is an APU quad core processor?
An APU quad core processor is a processor from AMD’s Accelerated Processor Unit range. These are high-tech, high performance chips.
What is a quad core processer in smartphones?
Smartphones are essentially the same as computers. A quad core processor in a smart phone is a smartphone processor with 4 cores.
Installing a quad-core CPU into your PC or buying a laptop with one already inside is an easy way to make sure your computing power is high enough for gaming and photo/video editing. For these programs, having four cores is a massive benefit.
If you do not game or edit, it may not be worth the cost to upgrade to multiple cores as you might not even notice a difference.
If you are using an old laptop and want a faster system in general, increasing the number of cores that your system can use is an easy way to make your computer faster.
Andrew White is the founder of TechGearoid, a leading technology review & information website that is designed to help consumers make better decisions when it comes to their IT purchases. As a specialist tech writer (nerd) with over 10 years of experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern technology & the newest market innovations. When he isn’t providing value for his readers, he’s usually drinking coffee or at the beach. Andrew lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and family.