If you go to a laptop shop and ask about the specs, you might hear a few words that are not clear what they mean. But some of the jargon you hear are quite important, such as processor, and dual-core, quad-core, etc.
If you are not familiar with those terms, keep reading to find out more about those specs and decide which is best for you.
What Is a Processor?
Processors are the brawn of your computer, powering every task you complete. Whether it’s opening a file or typing up an email – everything must first be processed by this vital component before being passed off to other devices for additional work and storage.
Processing power is measured in clock speed – the number of cycles the device process instructions per second. The higher number of Cycles Per Second (CPS) that the processor has access to will result in greater processing speeds which translate into programs running smoother and faster.
Apps with heavy graphics, video games, and virtual reality demand a higher CPU speed. A faster processor means you can have more apps running without any lag or slow performance.
What are Cores?
Processor cores are the individual processing units in a computer’s CPU. They can be thought of as different sections that all work together to create one larger unit, like pieces assembling into a puzzle.
These cores’ job is to run the calculations and instructions of the application you are using. And the more cores your processor has, the faster your apps will run.
Which is better? Quad-Core or Dual-Core?
The debate about which is better, a dual-core or quad-core processor chip, has been going on for years.
Some say that the one with four cores will be faster and more powerful than two of them running at once; others argue that it doesn’t really matter as long as both are fast enough to perform well in applications requiring multitasking capabilities.
This may seem like an easy question, but there’s actually no simple answer because each person uses their computer differently. For example, if you only use your PC intermittently, fewer cores might make sense, so they don’t go idle while waiting between tasks such as web browsing sessions.
On the other hand, if most of what you do on your laptop involves using multiple programs simultaneously (like editing video), then investing in Quad-core will be ideal.
Having more cores will help you reduce lagging while using multiple apps at the same time. A good example of this is when you play a computer game while playing music in the background or while streaming a movie simultaneously.
What’s more important? lots of cores or a faster CPU clock speed?
Most people would think that because the applications they usually use take advantage of the multiple cores then the more cores they have, the faster and more efficient their apps will run.
However, that is an incorrect belief, as most of the apps we use nowadays are only optimized to use the four cores. So, adding more cores will be useless.
Which softwares or apps get the advantage of the extra cores?
Only a few apps out there can take advantage of having extra cores, and even when they do, it is only done in some cases and not at all times.
This is because making software that uses the four cores is very difficult and hardly doable. So, which applications use multiple cores, and which apps only need the two? Let’s take a look.
When it comes to everyday tasks such as browsing the web, watching YouTube or a movie, video calling, chatting, and word editing, having dual cores will be enough to run those apps with no problem.
However, if you are planning to do all of the above at the same time, your PC might start lagging, and that’s when a quad-core can come in handy as it will divide the tasks on the four cores, making your apps run faster and more efficiently.
3D Modeling and Animation
If your job is modeling and applying effects, then you will not be taking much advantage of the multiple cores. However, if you are going to render your project with the following apps, they will all benefit from the multiple cores:
- 3DS Max
- Autocad 3D
- Civil 3D
When it comes to video editing, you might not notice a huge boost in your workflow if you use dual, quad, or even higher cores as it is the clock speed that makes all the difference as it helps apply effects and edit videos faster.
As a video editor, you would be familiar with software like iMovie, Lightworks, final cut pro, and AVS video editor. These apps do not require higher cores to perform better.
But when it comes to encoding and rendering, they actually generate from a four-core processor (quad) or even a six-core processor. However, if you have more than six cores, then you might not notice any further improvement in the performance.
When it comes to gaming, you do not need to worry about the core as much as the clock speed CPU, the higher clock CPU performs better regardless of the number of cores it has. This is because game engines require synchronization.
Programming does not require or benefit from multiple cores. What matters is the base frequency as it reduces compilation times and launches your apps more quickly.
However, when it comes to virtualization, it would be beneficial to have multiple cores especially if you use multiple apps on every VM you create. So to sum it up, you only need a quad or dual-core for virtual machine testing, but not for development and programming.
For music producers who create and mix their songs, they can benefit from having multiple cores as the more VSTs and tracks you’ve got on your dedicated software, the more you can benefit from having multiple cores.
However, for music producers, base frequency is much more essential than the number of cores they have. On the other hand, if you plan to get multiple cores with a similar base frequency, then it is recommended to go for it as it noticeably increases the performance.
Choosing the core of your laptop is quite easy depending on the apps you usually use and your needs. Try to only get the number of cores you need according to the apps you use as having extra cores might not be beneficial for most users.