How do Apps use dual or quad cores - and which are faster

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by ajaan, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. ajaan macrumors member

    Dec 15, 2013
    Could someone please explain the difference between dual and quad cores for everyday use on a Mac Mini? I'm guessing most people who have a Mac Mini are not doing *really* processor intensive work on it, otherwise they might have gone for the Pro.

    For example,

    If someone were using a simple word processing program, say Nisus or Pages, would it ever use four cores? Perhaps if a Pages document was very long with lots of images?

    Therefore, for many usages would the dual core i5 (2.5) be faster than then quad i7 (2.3) as the the dual has a higher single core clock speed? Or would the higher cache of the the i7 come into play? Or does a i7 simply do things faster just because the architecture of the chip is different?

    Also, could someone give some common examples of apps that would utilise all four cores? And is this utilisation dependent upon how the software dev has set his/her software up, rather then the hardware determining to use four cores?

  2. mdgm macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2010
    A lot of apps would just use one core or no more than two.

    Apps such as Handbrake use all cores. If you use apps that work with large media files a lot, use Virtual Machines or do other things that benefit from lots of CPU then you'll benefit from quad-core.

    Even if each of your apps individually run on one core if you have multiple apps running you'll still benefit from multiple cores as in that case different apps would run on different cores.

    For most home users the dual-core would be more than sufficient. Even though the quad-core would be much faster for Handbrake if you don't use it often does it really matter if an encode takes say 4 hours rather than 2?

    Personally I would go with quad-core because I like the extra resources it provides.

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