Cores and Processors Question

serkan

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 14, 2012
427
69
Menlo Park,California
Hi people,

A quick noob question here; I was working on an Excel file with a lot of Vlookups on my Early 2011 MBP with i5 2.3 GHZ and I have noticed that when it's making calculations it says on the bottom right-hand side that 1 Processor(s) working ...%

At my office, I have a PC with i7 Vpro and when I do the same it says 8 Processor(s) ...% working.

What does this mean ?

And also, what is the situation on this matter with the new MBP's ? I know cores and processors are different things but shouldn't it suppose to say cores rather than processors ?

Thanks in advance.
 

0002378

Suspended
May 28, 2017
675
668
It just means that Excel is utilizing n number of cores to do its number crunching, simultaneously. It's like Excel is distributing the work among the multiple cores, to be done concurrently / in parallel, so as to be faster. To give you an analogy, when you go to a restaurant with your family, and you make a large order, the kitchen might spread your work among multiple cooks, instead of a single cook cooking one dish, then the next, then the next, sequentially. They don't want you to wait an hour, so they will distribute the cooking tasks among multiple cooks :) Same principle here.

It must be using the word "processor" to mean "processing core" or "core", since you don't have more than 1 processor, you have more than one core.

Are you using the same version of Excel at home and work ? I ask because, older versions may not be as adept at utilizing multiple cores. This goes for older software in general. Any piece of software has to be "aware" of multiple cores to be able to take advantage of and harness that extra processing power. That may explain why your home Excel only uses 1 core, while the one at work uses 8 simultaneously. Now, processors with multiple cores have been around for quite a while, so I'd be shocked if Excel doesn't know how to take advantage of them. And clearly, the Excel you have installed at work does.

Or, it could just be that the computations you happened to be doing at home were not as CPU-intensive (that is to say, requiring a lot of CPU work) as the computations you were doing at work. So, at home, Excel needed only 1 core, while at work, you were really stressing Excel to the limit and it had to use 8 cores to crunch numbers.

Another possibility is that, at home, you had a different workload (different set of apps running simultaneously), so the number of cores actually "available" to Excel may differ from the number of cores your work machine was able to provide. It depends on the total system workload at the time when you're using Excel. So, at home, maybe you were running a lot of apps, and the system was not able to "give" Excel multiple cores at that time. This goes into the complex subject of how an operating system performs thread scheduling (a thread is an indivisible/atomic unit of process execution).

To summarize, the number of cores a program will actually use at any given time depends on:
1 - Whether the program is actually "smart" enough to know how to use multiple cores.
2 - What kind and amount of work/computations the program performs (number crunching vs file duplication, etc)
3 - The operating system's thread scheduling algorithm(s)
4 - The workload (running processes) on the system at that time
 
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serkan

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 14, 2012
427
69
Menlo Park,California
It just means that Excel is utilizing n number of cores to do its number crunching, simultaneously. It's like Excel is distributing the work among the multiple cores, to be done concurrently / in parallel, so as to be faster. To give you an analogy, when you go to a restaurant with your family, and you make a large order, the kitchen might spread your work among multiple cooks, instead of a single cook cooking one dish, then the next, then the next, sequentially. They don't want you to wait an hour, so they will distribute the cooking tasks among multiple cooks :) Same principle here.

It must be using the word "processor" to mean "processing core" or "core", since you don't have more than 1 processor, you have more than one core.

Are you using the same version of Excel at home and work ? I ask because, older versions may not be as adept at utilizing multiple cores. This goes for older software in general. Any piece of software has to be "aware" of multiple cores to be able to take advantage of and harness that extra processing power. That may explain why your home Excel only uses 1 core, while the one at work uses 8 simultaneously. Now, processors with multiple cores have been around for quite a while, so I'd be shocked if Excel doesn't know how to take advantage of them. And clearly, the Excel you have installed at work does.

Or, it could just be that the computations you happened to be doing at home were not as CPU-intensive (that is to say, requiring a lot of CPU work) as the computations you were doing at work. So, at home, Excel needed only 1 core, while at work, you were really stressing Excel to the limit and it had to use 8 cores to crunch numbers.

Another possibility is that, at home, you had a different workload (different set of apps running simultaneously), so the number of cores actually "available" to Excel may differ from the number of cores your work machine was able to provide. It depends on the total system workload at the time when you're using Excel. So, at home, maybe you were running a lot of apps, and the system was not able to "give" Excel multiple cores at that time. This goes into the complex subject of how an operating system performs thread scheduling (a thread is an indivisible/atomic unit of process execution).

To summarize, the number of cores a program will actually use at any given time depends on:
1 - Whether the program is actually "smart" enough to know how to use multiple cores.
2 - What kind and amount of work/computations the program performs (number crunching vs file duplication, etc)
3 - The operating system's thread scheduling algorithm(s)
4 - The workload (running processes) on the system at that time


Thank you for taking the time and writing this thoroughly. I really appreciate it.
[doublepost=1496438041][/doublepost]
It is a PC vs. Mac issues. Read this thread. It talks about the issues with multi-threading in Excel on the Mac.

https://www.reddit.com/r/excel/comments/3qzfh1/excel_2016_for_macusing_only_1_processor/

And to be specific it should say "threads".

Awesome! Thank you for the reply as well.
 

SteveJUAE

macrumors 68040
Aug 14, 2015
3,479
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Land of Smiles
It's a know short coming of using Excel in MacOs that along with almost no support for VBA macros in Mac Excel 2016

Until MS write Mac version of Excel to utilise all available core (or the number you specify) there's no work around outside of bootcamp and VBA is also just work in progress

There are also some other minor missing functions on advance pivot tables and C&P across MS Office apps
 
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