I hope you had fun reading the history of computers.
Taking a leaf out of those history I bring details about the heart of computer, that is the PROCESSOR.
Two most prominent chipmaker in the world - INTEL and AMD are slugging it out to provide the best possible processors in today's world. With time the companies have moved ahead from Single- Core CPUs to Quad- Core CPUs with 8-Core CPUs in pipeline.
Just 3 years back we were arguing about performance difference between Single core cpus v/s dual core cpus. Now, with Intel's dual-core becomming more mainstream, within less than a year, we have already begun to look to the future and speculate the performance increase between dual vs. quad-cores.
What are basically Single Core, Dual Core, Quad Core CPUs?
Let me explain each of them in brief
Single Core : In a single-core or traditional processor the CPU is fed strings of instructions it must order, execute, then selectively store in its cache for quick retrieval. When data outside the cache is required, it is retrieved through the system bus from random access memory (RAM) or from storage devices. Accessing these slows down performance to the maximum speed the bus, RAM or storage device will allow, which is far slower than the speed of the CPU. The situation is compounded when multi-tasking. In this case the processor must switch back and forth between two or more sets of data streams and programs. CPU resources are depleted and performance suffers.
Dual Core : A dual-core processor is a single chip that contains two distinct processors or "execution cores" in the same integrated circuit. Each core handles incoming data strings simultaneously to improve efficiency.
A dual core processor is different from a multi-processor system.
Multi Core refers to - two or more CPUs working together on one single chip (like AMD Athlon X2 or Intel Core Duo) in contrast to DUAL CPU, which refers to two separate CPUs working together.
Quad Core : In this processor, there are four complete execution cores in a single processor with upto 12 MB of L2 cache and upto 1333 MHz Front Side Bus. Four dedicated, physical threads help OS and applications deliver additional performance that reflects in multi-tasking and multi-threaded performance. More instructions can be carried out per clock cycle, shorter and wider pipelines execute commands more quickly and improved bus lanes move data throughout the system faster.
To take full advantage of more than one core CPU, operating systems as well as applications should be developed such that they can utilize the multiple core capability of processor thereby improving the performance.
The obvious question that comes to every computer user will be:
What sort of processor do i need to buy?
The answer to this is quite straight forward.
In today's world usually we run two to three applications at one time. That is while surfing on web, we listen to music, burn dvd, run other applications as well. So at this time a single core cpu won't be able to perform these task efficiently. So the best option would be to go for dual core cpu or quad core cpu.
For value conscious users who want the best out of both the worlds should go for a higher end dual core cpu as they can be easily overclocked to meet all the basic requirements.
For those who have no money bar issue can go for the best Quad Core processors available in the market.
For users who are interested in overclocking their units to perform the best Quad Cores are the way to go while for those who don't like to play with their units will have a different opinion that dual cores are better as the lab test mention below suggest.
Games, which usually run about 2 years behind hardware innovations, b/c of their long and vested development time, are just now starting to cater to dual-core cpu's. However, with games like Unreal Tournament 2007, and Alan Wake looking to take advantage of multi cores, it's common sense that individuals looking to play the next wave of next gen games, look to the quad-core environment. Also, the power consumption to productivity ratio is greater in quad-core machines, verses dual-core.
I think it won't be until the end of '07 to '08 when we really see common programs and apps, as well as games, truly become multi-threaded.
We're not yet at a point of deminishing returns, where adding more cores will cease to improve performance, so the switch should be even more likely. As far as upgradability, dual-cores can't be upgraded to quads, and the new motherboards coming out will be able to support dual-quad- cores, potentially offering up to 8 cores within a single machine.
While programs now don't really take advantage of quad-core cpu's, unless they are extremely multi-threaded, they will eventually.
In my personal opinion, if you are a gaming freak it is better to go for Quad Core for reasons mentioned below. And for those who are more in software development and application users need not worry as buying a Quad Core should ensure that they don't have to update their Computers for 5 to 7 years.
The recent XBIT lab review had a battle between 3 GHz Dual Core processor and a 2.4 GHz Quadra Core processor which are price almost the same. Though the performance difference is not huge it has to be kept in mind that the applications and games as of today are still lacking in terms of utilizing all core. But one can expect to change all this in near future, as near as end of 2008 or starting of 2009.
Here is the link for the processor battle between two processors.
Finally, it all boils down to what you need and how are you gonna utilize the processor so that your money is well spent and you get the most out of your CPUs.
There is another report generated where dual core and quad core processor of INTEL and AMD are compared.
Find it out at http://techreport.com/articles.x/12091/1
Not surprising is that INTEL wins comprehensively considering they are working on 65 nm processors as well as 45 nm processors. AMD has a long way to go and play catch up to its arch rival, till then it can consolidate with # 2 chip maker in the world.
I hope you enjoyed reading and referring about the processors. If you wish to make any comments or give your personal views you are most welcome to do so. As they are very valuable to me.
So have a good day, I look forward to hearing from you soon.