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What is a "Dual Core" Computer?


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4 replies to this topic

#1 of 5 Richard_T

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Posted February 07 2006 - 02:53 PM

My wife and I recently purchased an HP Media Center which has 2 intel Pentium processors running at 2.2 GHz (dual cores), 2 GB or RAM memory and an Nvidia GeForce 6200SE graphics card. We got it at a great price so we decided to dive in and replace our old Compaq. My question is, what is this dual core thing and how does it work? Is it that if I have one program running I'm getting 4.4 GHz? Any help would be great.
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#2 of 5 Patrick Sun

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Posted February 07 2006 - 03:12 PM

Dual Core
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#3 of 5 Ken Chan

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Posted February 08 2006 - 12:58 PM

Quote:
which has 2 intel Pentium processors running at 2.2 GHz (dual cores)
I'm guessing you got one dual-core processor, which means 2 cores total. Not 2 processors. The physical chip is the processor, and besides the core or cores, contains other stuff (like cache memory). You can get computers with 2 dual-core processors, which means 4 cores total.

Quote:
Is it that if I have one program running I'm getting 4.4 GHz?
Short answer: no. Longer answer: almost certainly not Posted Image In theory, if a program is written to take advantage of multiple cores, you could get close to twice as much work done in the same amount of time as you would with an otherwise-identical single-core processor. But many tasks aren't suited for that kind of "parallelization" and most programs aren't written that way; for those that are, there are other factors that prevent you from "getting double".

The most likely benefit you will see if you are doing more than one thing at once, like browsing the web while compressing music. Because there is more than one core, one processor-intensive activity (compressing) should not block other activities (browsing).

#4 of 5 DaveD'

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Posted February 08 2006 - 02:25 PM

Quote:
The most likely benefit you will see if you are doing more than one thing at once, like browsing the web while compressing music. Because there is more than one core, one processor-intensive activity (compressing) should not block other activities (browsing).
Exactly, the main benefit of a dual core processor is more efficient multi-tasking.

#5 of 5 Kimmo Jaskari

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Posted February 08 2006 - 09:45 PM

Some applications are done properly and multi-threaded. Photoshop, for instance, is such a program. Multiple cores really speed things up there.

A normal single-core computer is really only ever doing one thing at a time. It may seem like it is doing many, but in reality the only thing that makes a single-core computer appear to be doing many things is that the programs "take turns". On a multi-core CPU, two things can happen simultaneously.
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