Not everyone is conversant with the world of computers. There are so many technical aspects that the layman cannot just guess. It is with that in mind that it becomes necessary to discuss some things. Today I shall be looking at the “core” element of computers. Generally, there are computers with one core and there are others who will multiple cores. There are obviously fundamental differences in how those computers would work. By the time you reach the end of this article, you would have assimilated enough knowledge to make a decision for or against either of these computers.
What Is A Core?
This is a good starting point before we delve into more detail. A core is basically a processing unit. In other words, you can say that a core is an engine. Thus when we say “multicore” we are simply referring to several cores. When dealing with cores we are looking at the processing speed of a computer’s processor. Let me cite an example so that you get the picture. I am sure some of you have seen computer processor specifications like 2.0GHz. If a computer is a single core that means its processing speed is that 2.0GHz (GHz – gigahertz).
Let us suppose a computer processor has that 2.0GHz spec but instead it is a dual-core. That would effectively mean that its processing speed is 4.0GHz (i.e. each core has a 2.0GHz processing speed). If the number of cores is 3 then the total processing speed is 6.0GHz and so on. Apparently, a multicore computer is faster than a single-core computer. Just so you know, say, 2.0GHz is what is referred to as clock speed.
I have somewhat explained this already. Multicore processors have superior processing speeds. That is why people consider the number of cores as a key factor when looking to buy a computer. The most common feature people look out for when purchasing PCs is having a dual-core or more. If you want something fast you are going to want to settle for a multicore (by the way, multicore starts from the dual-core) computer. The use of single-core computers is still common in some circles simply because single cores have, for the longest time, always been the norm. With multicore processors the quantity and sophistication of processes that can be run concurrently are colossal. As with the single-core the vast majority of the processor’s time is spent waiting upon memory to be available for other processes.
I do not want to get into the mathematical aspects to illustrate this point. However, it would be crystal clear to those mathematically inclined if I were to. Anyways, multicore computers consume less power than single-core computers. Consider a single core computer and a dual-core computer. The single-core can actually deliver an equivalent processing output to that of the dual-core BUT it would consume more electricity. Thus we have one difference between single cores and dual cores, that of power consumption.
Initial Toll Of Cost And Setup
This is yet another key issue that differentiates these two. A single-core processor is easy to set up plus it is generally more affordable. However, a multicore processor system is quite hectic to set up. Plus it is quite costly to buy although it is way more efficient than a single core. It is that initial amount of money required to acquire that can be an uphill task.
Not Always Black And White
Let me highlight to you that choosing between single-core and multicore might not be as black and white. Here is what I mean; a single core might deliver the same output but requiring more power than a multicore would. This means if power consumption is not an issue for you then a single core might be OK. A multicore would be able to deliver the same output (and even more) but consuming way less power. Thus if power consumption is a big deal to you then a multicore would be the best fit.
Let us look at another example: consider two scenarios namely, a quad-core with a clock speed of 2.0GHz and a dual-core with a clock speed of 4.0GHz. What this effectively means is that the dual-core has the same processing speed as the quad-core. In case you did not get the premise; the total processing speed for the quad-core is 8.0GHz. Then for the dual-core, it is again that same 8.0GHz.
Those are just some examples to show you that there are several metrics to consider when choosing between either. Generally, people just think more cores automatically mean faster processing. As you saw from the second example above that is not necessarily always the case.