SHINY VIDEO: Quad vs Dual – how many cores do you really need?

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Just before Christmas, Dan and I took delivery of a dual core and a quad core machine, and we thought we’d see if it’s actually worth putting four cores into your computer, rather than two. We ran four processor-intensive concurrent tasks – a virusscan, a DVD encode, a 3D game, and then we measured how long it took to unzip a zip file.

The results? Well, you’ll have to watch the video to find out. I’ll just say that I was surprised by the outcome. Let us know your experiences of Quad core vs Dual core chips in the comments below.

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Duncan Geere

3 comments

  • “here’s every possibility that glitches can show up in the encoded file if you’re trying to do loads of things at once”

    The glitches will be down to poor quality ripping / encoding software and/or the DVD drive itself, and nothing to do with how busy the processor is.

    By architecture, a processor doesn’t skip doing something or do something differently just because its busy – that would cause CHAOS if you were using mission critical business software.

  • Your test is slightly floored in that both virus scanning and unzipping a large file are actually highly IO intensive tasks, not CPU – this is why you don’t see much of a difference. You really need to pick 4 CPU intensive tasks OR 1 multi-threaded CPU intensive task.

    Also, “lost packets” haha, you do know how a computer works don’t you?? Just because a DVD encoder is running a little jumpy doesn’t mean the output quality is going to be worse, it just means its going to take longer to complete.

    • Yeah, “lost packets” was a misspeak. However, there’s every possibility that glitches can show up in the encoded file if you’re trying to do loads of things at once. I’ve had it happen to me before.

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