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Thread: Dual Core or Quad Core? What to buy?

  1. #1
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    Question Dual Core or Quad Core? What to buy?

    I've been looking at buying a new computer lately, and I'm wondering if I should go with a Dual-core processor or a quad-core. If I take a look at, for example, System76, they have a Core i5-520M Processor with 2 cores and a clock speed of 2.40GHz, and also a Core i7-720QM Processor with 4 cores and a clock speed of 1.60GHz.

    So the one with 2 cores has a higher clock-speed and the one with 4 cores has lower clock speed. So which way should I go with this tradeoff, and why? Is the clock speed more important to a high performance system, or the extra cores?

  2. #2
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    Re: Dual Core or Quad Core? What to buy?

    My recommendation is the higher clock speed dual cores.

    Most applications aren't able to utilize 4 cores to get the full use of them at once.

    A good bit of programs do support dual. Even if the ones you use don't, they will be running on one of the faster dual cores than one of the slower quad cores.

    Maybe five or ten years from now everything will be able to utilize multiple cores, but for now I'd recommend the dual cores.



    edit: I bought a low-end quad core Phenom for my computer 6 months ago, and ever since I've wished I had bought dual core instead.

  3. #3
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    Re: Dual Core or Quad Core? What to buy?

    I currently own 3 Machines all with Core 2 Duo's and rarely do I feel as if I'm pushing them to the limit. If I do it's because I'm trying to. More often I tend to reach the limit of my other hardware before I reach the limit of my CPU.

  4. #4
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    Re: Dual Core or Quad Core? What to buy?

    You missed the most important piece of information: what will you use this machine for?

  5. #5
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    Re: Dual Core or Quad Core? What to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chemical Imbalance View Post
    My recommendation is the higher clock speed dual cores.

    Most applications aren't able to utilize 8 logical cores to get the full use of them at once.

    A good bit of programs do support dual. Even if the ones you use don't, they will be running on one of the faster dual cores than one of the slower quad cores.

    Maybe five or ten years from now everything will be able to utilize multiple cores, but for now I'd recommend the dual cores.



    edit: I bought a low-end quad core Phenom for my computer 6 months ago, and ever since I've wished I had bought dual core instead.
    fixed that for you, core i5 and i7 are different than "old" dual and quad cores in that the have hyperthreading. That "dual core" still can do 4 threads...just not 8 like the i7...

  6. #6
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    Re: Dual Core or Quad Core? What to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chemical Imbalance View Post
    My recommendation is the higher clock speed dual cores.

    This.

  7. #7
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    Re: Dual Core or Quad Core? What to buy?

    I agonized over dual-core versus quad-core processor for my current build. So, I compromised and put in an AMD Phenom tri-core.

  8. #8
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    Re: Dual Core or Quad Core? What to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bachstelze View Post
    You missed the most important piece of information: what will you use this machine for?
    Ah, yes. I forgot about that. I suppose I'll use it for a lot of things. Web browsing, music, videos. Telecommuting for my job, most likely, which would mean software development. I would also want to play games on it, through wine or not. I recently played a bunch of Fallout 3, but I also enjoy the odd game of QuakeLive and other shooter games like Call of Duty and such. I would like to be able to play Diablo3 when it comes out, and maybe Starcraft 2 (I don't know if clock speed will really be a factor there). This pushes me towards the dual-core option.

    I'll occasionally encode videos for my N900, so it would be nice for that to be fast. And I want to be able to use virtual machines, perhaps for concurrent software development, simulating HPC cluster sort of stuff, which pushes me a bit towards the quad-core option.

    I suppose that I want the best of both worlds. Can I have it all? Is there any kind of sweet-spot for a multi-use machine that anyone knows about?

  9. #9
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    Re: Dual Core or Quad Core? What to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by bark50 View Post
    I agonized over dual-core versus quad-core processor for my current build. So, I compromised and put in an AMD Phenom tri-core.
    ^^ this.

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    Cool Re: Dual Core or Quad Core? What to buy?

    IMHO - if you can afford a little faster quad core machine with LOTS of RAM, the future will bring all of us software that should work well with multi core machines.

    My next lappie will be an i7 with 8 gig RAM - mainly for running VM's and editing video on the road.
    If at first you don't succeed - just buy the company and tell them to make the one you want.

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