core duo processors - who's telling the truth?

  mco 17:38 18 Aug 06
Locked

Simple advice please for non-techie: been looking for new laptop for partner (around 500-600 mark) Been to usual high street stores: -one shop advises one with the new core duo processor because ,quote 'they're like having two brains and will go much faster' and another advises against because 'there's no software for them yet; vista doesn't come out till next year and you won't need it then, so you'd be paying for a duo processor but only actually using one half of it ' Who is telling the truth? Thanks!

  ade.h 17:46 18 Aug 06

Hi mco.

The benchmark figures that have been produced with existing software (stands to reason!) would give the lie to the second viewpoint, I would think.
Have you read the test in last month's PC Pro? It makes very interesting reading.

  sirreaoscar 17:47 18 Aug 06

A Dual Core processor is like having two CPU's
It does depend on how much RAM Memory you have, but it means you could run 2 different programes at the same time.

An Example:
If you were a cruncher or folder with click here you could work on 2 work units at a time, instead of one & use the CPU to do other work. It does depend on what you need it for. I would prefer a faster CPU say at 2GHz than a dual core running at 1.6GHz

The reason Dual Core has arrived is the CPU makers at the moment can not increase the speeds higher, so why not stick 2 together instead!

Some see Dual Core the way forward & already they chip makers are looking at Quad Core for next year!

I would not go for dual core on a laptop as some already have trouble with getting rid of the heat build up, may be go for Centrio or 2GHz Celeron.

  ade.h 17:58 18 Aug 06

"....you could run 2 different programes at the same time"

What? So while I type this with NOF, WMP and PhotoImpact running as well, how am I able to do that on a single-core CPU?

Your comments on speed and heat production are well wide of the mark. click here and read this about Core 1. Then wait until next month (if you didn't buy a copy) and the Sossaman article will be available for your study.

  ade.h 18:01 18 Aug 06

click here There's an abridged version of it.

  DieSse 18:07 18 Aug 06

It's a fine point, but only two processors can run two programs at the same time.

What single processors do is share their time between several programs, but there can never be two running actually simultaneously.

You certainly don't have to wait for Vista to get some of the benefits of dual-core processors. In fact leter model Pentium4s have had Hyperthreading for some time - which is a "sort-of" facility to run as if it were two cores, and there is some software which takes advantage of this.

In any case, multi-core processors are now clearly the future, and not to buy one for the reasons given to you is simply perverse. A dual-core processor at 1.6GHZ is superior to a single core at 2GHZ.

  Forum Editor 18:20 18 Aug 06

of the explanations you were given.

There's no doubt that parallel computing is the future, as DieSse says, but there's a fairly long road to travel before we arrive at the ideal situation - the vast majority of today's software has not been designed to harness the power of dual or multi-core processing. Many people are investing considerable sums of money in dual core or twin processor computers which are simply not able to perform as they might - because the software isn't up to it.

Having said that, if corporate clients ask for advice on whether to upgrade to new single core processors or dual core for their desktops I will recommend dual core every time.

  mco 19:07 18 Aug 06

Thanks everyone. Hi again adeh - been sunning myself in south of France for 3 and a half weeks (teachers, eh?!) I was afraid you might say that, FE. I think I'll make a decision based on what the rest of the laptop has to offer too, ultimately. The poor guy (partner I mean! only wants it for wordprocessing and photography anyway!)

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