Computer cores?

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by chris888222, Jul 7, 2011.

Jul 7, 2011

Computer cores? by chris888222 at 1:42 PM (1,530 Views / 0 Likes) 20 replies

  1. chris888222
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    Member chris888222 GBAtemp's Flygon Fan

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    I'm a DARN noob in computers, so please don't flare me for this one.

    My last post was about my dad wanting to buy a laptop.

    Well, he (and I) are confused over the cores and whether it will effect the laptop computer's speed/performance.

    E.g.
    Laptop A
    2.3GHz Dual Core

    Laptop B
    2.0GHz Quad Core

    Are these laptops equally fast? I went to a store and they said these numbers contribute to the speed. I'm really lost now. [​IMG]

    Thanks.
     


  2. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Afraid performance is a combination of many things.

    Trying to keep it simple though

    Cores- effectively another processor inside the computer (they often share things so that can lead to bottlenecks if trying to use them to the fullest all at once) however you have to have a program designed to use them. Two cores are nice as it allows one core for the OS and the other for a program but after this there are few programs that can make use of them properly- some games (although I rarely see one doing it properly), some video encoders and a select few other programs (usually related to the big 3 machine killers of video, CAD and games) will benefit.

    Processor speed- straight Hz is often a misleading measurement but under the assumption that both those machines use the same class of processor and that more cores is not necessarily all that useful the higher clocked dual core will have the edge although only just.

    Frankly though for most purposes (including some of the video stuff unless you are heading far in the the H264, high res or filters world) it will be the hard drive holding you back- laptops tend to favour smaller slower devices for various reasons. If you want a speedy laptop get one with an SSD drive but they are still a bit pricey for a bundled machine so of those I say get the one that has the most ports, nicest screen and whatever else (keyboard, track pad....) you might want as that will probably influence how much you get along with the machine far more (web browsing and office type work is not really getting any more demanding as time drags on).
     
  3. chris888222
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    Member chris888222 GBAtemp's Flygon Fan

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    So to put it simply.

    2.3GHz Duo Core is faster than 2.0GHz Quad Core but doesn't perform as well? [​IMG]
     
  4. Originality

    Member Originality Chibi-neko

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    The number of cores (not counting HyperThreading for the moment) equates to the number of tasks it can run simultaneously. It's like having two calculators to work with instead of one (or, in your example, four instead of two). Each core will run at roughly the clock speed listed (i.e. 2.3Ghz per core).

    Something to take into account is that not all applications/games are designed to work on any more than one core at a time. With applications like this, the number of cores in the CPU is meaningless (not counting TurboBoost for the moment), and all that matters is how fast the core runs that application. However, if an application/game is designed to run on dual-core CPUs, or to be multithreaded to make use of the 6+6 cores of a Core i7-980X, then all the processing will be divided between each core. In this case, the effective speed of Laptop A will be roughly 4.3Ghz and Laptop B will be roughly 7.3Ghz.

    With TurboBoost, unused cores can be deactivated in order to overclock the cores that are used. This can push a 2.1Ghz quad-core CPU to around 2.8Ghz on a single core. AMD Phenom IIs have a similar technology too.

    The specifics depends on the processor architecture and how efficiently resources are divided, but this gives you a rough idea. Also, speed does not equate to the power of the CPU. A dual-core Pentium 4 won't perform nearly as well as a dual-core Core i3-2300.

    FYI, most applications/games are designed to use two cores at the most. Only certain types of applications (e.g. compression software, encryption software, graphics, modelling and/or animation software) will be designed to be multithreaded and use every core available, because the more power they can get, the quicker they can complete their tasks.
     
  5. tijntje_7

    Member tijntje_7 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    You're doing stuff, each core is one person.

    You're baking a cake, you can do that alone, or with 2 ~ 3 people to prepare the ingredients and mixing and stuff. The preparing part is finished quicker. Now, you put the cake in the oven. No way the other people can help you with that.
    Preparing is multiple cores
    Oven is single core


    You have to carry a shitload of bricks to the other side of the river?
    Multiple people will help. A LOT.

    But, processor cores. Math:
    If you're solving a math equation. People can't help you with the later part of the equation before you've done the earlier part, right? Single core.


    If you usually have more programs opened (somewhat cpu intensive programs as well) multiple cores are the way to go.
    If you usually have only one ~ two programs open (cpu intensive programs games, photoshop) less cores with higher clock speeds are the way to go.

    Dual core means 2 people.
    Quad core means 4 people.

    I'd go with the quad core, the 0.3GHz difference is not much. It can do what you would be able to do with a dual core and more.

    Dual core could handle for example: Photoshop iTunes, a flash game and a youtube video (360p) Without too much problems
    Quad: Photoshop, iTunes, a flash game, a youtube video (360p) and on your second monitor (for example) crysis. Which is an extremely resource demanding game. Of course running all this stuff means you should have enough ram as well, but that's not the point.

    Conclusion: More cores is pretty much always better.
     
  6. chris888222
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    Member chris888222 GBAtemp's Flygon Fan

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    Ok I get the rough idea..

    But what's with the GHz?? [​IMG]
     
  7. OmegaVesko

    Member OmegaVesko GBAtemp Regular

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    It's the frequency at which data is processed in the processor. Basically, the more GHz it has, the faster and smoother it'll run. The more the better. (Note that for instance, a quad-core at 2.0GHz can be faster than a dual-core at 2.5GHz).
     
  8. Originality

    Member Originality Chibi-neko

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    Ghz does not equate speed. A 3 Ghz Pentium 4 (dual core) will have much less performance than a 2.5Ghz Core i3. I could also bring out the AMD vs Intel example, but that'd bring up an old argument again. Suffice to say, Intel CPUs have roughly 30% better performance in games than equivalent AMD CPUs.
     
  9. tijntje_7

    Member tijntje_7 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Erhm sorry, but a pentium 4 dual core? [​IMG]


    Also op, could you give us the full names of those processors on the laptops? We might help you pick better.
    The newest generation i3 Extreme powerful max über +++ is probably stronger than the first generation quad core (by amd, because they have overall lower performance but way higher price-performance stuff [​IMG])
     
  10. chris888222
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    Member chris888222 GBAtemp's Flygon Fan

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    I used MacBooks as examples to keep it simple, cuz they're under a single brand.

    The 2.3 GHz uses intel core i5, 2.0GHz runs i7.

    http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop...mco=MTM3NjU5MzU

    I'm not an apple fanboy though [​IMG]
     
  11. Originality

    Member Originality Chibi-neko

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    Now that I know they're both core i CPUs, I can easily say that the core i7 will be faster in every case than the core i5. Because of TurboBoost.

    Inb4 someone (like FAST) argues with me, I know TurboBoost doesn't work as well as it advertises.
     
  12. chris888222
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    Member chris888222 GBAtemp's Flygon Fan

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    So 2.0GHz in this instance will be faster?
     
  13. heartgold

    Member heartgold GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Don't forget pipelines in CPU's
     
  14. chris888222
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    Member chris888222 GBAtemp's Flygon Fan

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    What do you mean?

    Sorry I'm a huge noob...
     
  15. Coto

    Member Coto GBAtemp Addict

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    Too much complex terms for a newbie here. (no harm intended), so let's go slower.

    You know, the difference between a 2.0GHZ & 2.8GHZ Dual Core, based off the technology it has, the lower silicon process they have (90nm,45nm, etc), means the less power they consume and do much more things, because of fewer silicon chips, which mean lower temperatures & lower power consumption.

    Besides that, there's an improvement at L1/L2 instructions (not referring to higher L1, L2 memory space or latency) which let you take "short-cuts" when applications access CPU. Instructions like SSE, MMX which would accelerate the math calculations (later designed as a FPU).

    This means, ie: a 12,999994736 integer number result needed to be divided and took heavy raw CPU time, while a MMX instruction would just simplify it to 12.

    It's something like this, rather than the per clock cycle, at least, nowadays.
     
  16. Berthenk

    Member Berthenk Epitome of Awesomeness

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    It's not about the clock frequency, it's about the overall performance of the CPU. The i7 will outperform the i5, like Originality said.
     
  17. chris888222
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    Member chris888222 GBAtemp's Flygon Fan

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    Oh... okay then. Then what does the clock speed show?
     
  18. YetoJesse

    Newcomer YetoJesse Advanced Member

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    ok, I'm just going to leave a reply on the topic and not your past reply thingy, cuz imo, the clock speed is the GHz thingy...

    now, you have a 2.3 GHz dual and a 2.0GHz Quad

    If I'm correct, i assume the following:

    The amount of cores says how many individual programs you can run simultaniously without the whole computer freezing (assuming this is all in windows).
    this means that a dual core Laptop can open Internet and Word...
    When Internet freezes, Word can still be opened and used, as it runs on a different core...
    Thus a Quad core is better when doing lots of things simultaniously (Chatting, Surfing, Listening to music etc)

    *Note that not ALL programs have this feature, meaning that it is possible, when using a variable on something like Windows Live Messenger, it may just end up working on the first core...

    second part is the GHz (GigaHertz) thingy.
    this is the speed of the cores. the 2.3 GHz core are faster then that 2.0 GHz

    It all pretty much depends on what you want to do with the computer...

    **note that even though 2.0 and 2.3 GHz don't look like a big difference, the highest atm is about 3.61 GHz

    I think that sums up all the posts lightly (again? XD)
     
  19. Berthenk

    Member Berthenk Epitome of Awesomeness

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    If I'm not mistaken, the amount of instructions (or calculations) a processor can execute in one second. Wikipedia is with me on this one.
    The clock speed does not say anything about the processor, like Originality said; you'll need to look up some benchmarks to know the true potential of a CPU.
     
  20. Fishaman P

    Member Fishaman P Speedrunner

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    Get the i7 if you're not concerned about price.

    And FYI, here are a few terms:

    Clock speed: Measured in Gigahertz. How many times per second the processor can start to calculate new stuff. Usually it's waiting most of the time, so in that case higher GHz would help A LOT.

    Turbo Boost/Turbo Core: If, for example, you have your 2GHz i7, but it's running a single-core application, those 3 cores are on standby, doing next to nothing. Since you'll have a little heat and energy headroom, that 1 core being used can clock itself up, e.g. 2GHz --> 2.5GHz.

    HyperThreading: Think of it as CPU emulation. 1 core can act as 2, so a quad-core i7 computer can appear to have 8 processors. When the CPU is doing lots of weak work, HyperThreading helps immensely. If the CPU is at 100% on every core, HyperThreading will actually make it slower because it can't do the work faster, but clock cycles are used to do the "emulation".

    Now for examples:

    Turbo Boost: You have 4 guys to carry bricks across a river, but only 1 can go at a time. With a food supply for everyone (LOL), the 1 guy can eat more and therefore do the work faster.

    HyperThreading: You have 4 people carrying bricks. If the bricks are HUGE, then splitting 4 full-powered people into 8 half-powered people wouldn't help, as 2 people would have to carry 1 brick. However, if you're carrying tiny bricks, each person, whether full or half-powered, can carry as many bricks as can fit into their arms.

    Good uses of HyperThreading: Multitasking, calculating different equations at the same time, video encoding
    Where you should turn HyperThreading off: Games, Emulation, etc.

    Since I'm a huge gamer, I prefer to leave it off.
    And also be aware that some video encoding apps only use 1 core, so HyperThreading wouldn't help at all.
     

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