Quad-core mobile CPUs: What's the point?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Michael CM1, Jul 15, 2008.

  1. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

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    #1
    I read today that quad-core mobile processors are in the making by Intel. I just don't get why. Do they offer a good processing advantage over faster dual-core chips? Do they save power? I have read that programmers haven't fully taken advantage of dual-core CPUs, so I just don't get the deal with quad-core. I'm all ears (well, eyes) for someone who knows more about the innards than I do to explain this. To me, it just seems like the old megahertz/gigahertz wars that really didn't amount to as much as AMD and Intel would've had you think.
     
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #2
    You have two more cores then a dual core. :rolleyes: This does wonders for rendering and encoding.

    It's that simple! Run multiple instances of an application.
     
  3. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

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    #3
    More applications running in parallel, and since more and more people are using laptops as their main computers, it makes sense to bring that "desktop" power to mobile platforms.
     
  4. Michael CM1 thread starter macrumors 603

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    #4
    I do exactly that -- I have my MBP closed and hooked up to a monitor. But from what I have read before, just adding more cores doesn't necessarily add power because of how the software/OS is written. I was just wondering if two more cores would actually help running Safari or if it's just a, um, measuring contest.

    I'm all for the most power that uses the least power, but I'm just wary of the CPU makers throwing semi-useless tech at us. I still haven't gotten the taste of Microsoft Me! out of my mouth.
     
  5. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

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    #5
    Adding cores sure does help. A single threaded application wouldn't run twice as fast, but a multi-threaded app or different applications can each be assigned to a different core and can have performance gains.

    have 4 vs. 2 cores doesn't give you exactly 2x the speed, because there is overheard in the OS to send the threads to the cores, but it is not that significant of a hit to negate the effect of doubling the core.

    I'd take as many cores as they can put in there if the price/power consumption/temp ratios are reasonable.
     
  6. noodle654 macrumors 68020

    noodle654

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    #6
    I would love to see a quad core...maybe next summer or 2010. But, what worries me is the heat. Nobody wants a 3 inch thick computer with 80mm fans at 250*F!.
     
  7. CWallace macrumors 601

    CWallace

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    #7
    The TDP of the quad-core is 45W which is in line with other CPUs Apple has put in Mac Book Pros.
     
  8. andiwm2003 macrumors 601

    andiwm2003

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    #8
    well, if you can get a 2.4GHz quad core chip for $250 or a dual core chip for $200 then the choice is clear.

    however if i had the choice between a 2.2GHz quad core or a 3GHz dual core with on chip memory controller and on chip GPU in a smaller notebook at the same power usage as the quad core then the choice would be different for me.
     
  9. CWallace macrumors 601

    CWallace

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    #9
    Alas, the first mobile quad-core will be ~$1000 in quantities of 1000. If Apple offers it (most likely as BTO for the 17"), it will likely be $500 more then the current top-end CPU option.
     
  10. andiwm2003 macrumors 601

    andiwm2003

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    #10
    the first quadcores will be expensive. but a year later the difference after soldering it into a notebook will be negligible. but the point is more that integrating the entire computer (or at least more of it) onto the chip is the way to go. at least when i look at my use of my macs (powerbook and emac).:D
     
  11. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #11
    Two words: Snow Leopard. Apple's changing that game forever.
     
  12. Michael CM1 thread starter macrumors 603

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    #12
    That and iShater's post explain a lot to me. Snow Leopard will no doubt improve the use of multi-cores, and the explanation about multiple apps going to each core makes a lot of sense. My 2.16GHz C2D still runs extremely well, but I'm assuming that someone will find a way to render it useless in a few years. Shoot, my dad's iMac G5 runs like a dinosaur even on iPhoto for some reason.

    The only stuff I use that taxes a CPU is HandBrake (I can never have enough CPU power for that) and iMovie (a C2D renders WAY faster than a G5). I just got my mom a new Dell with a C2D, and it completely blows away whatever old CPU she had (I think it was an AthlonXP 2000+).
     
  13. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

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    #13
    My work here is done. I disappear into the night! :cool: :D
     
  14. Draeconis macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    I perform music live off of my laptop and the way I do it involves quite a lot of CPU and RAM usage, so more CPU power is always welcome; I aim to utilize it as much as I can :)
     
  15. magallanes macrumors regular

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    #15
    The amount of core is because a technical limitating where cpu will not rise freely adding more ghz every year (is still possible but at expensive of generate heat).
    In fact is cheaper to designer a quad 2500ghz cpu rather a solo-core 1000ghz (1thz?) cpu.
     
  16. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

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    #16
    Extra zero in the 2500? :confused:
     
  17. Michael CM1 thread starter macrumors 603

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    #17
    1) What do you mean perform music live? Like have stuff in GarageBand ready to accompany you?
    2) What kind of stuff do you see that uses a lot of RAM? I really haven't seen much because I can almost open my entire dock and not have my memory fully taxed. This includes Photoshop, Illustrator, Quark Xpress, etc. I wasn't doing anything in them, but they were open. I guess this is again something like iMovie or Final Cut that would tap into that, but HandBrake uses squat when it comes to RAM.
     
  18. InLikeALion macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Just open photoshop and make a billboard sized document at 200 dpi, and start adding pictures and layers till the file size is 2GB. Then open Firefox and go to a site that has several flash ads. That will do a lot more to tax your RAM than just opening a program and leaving it idle.

    The few times I've had to work on large-scale print pieces with many layers, it's brought even recent Intel macs to a crawl. Just like 4gb of ram would have seemed a ludicrous wish to us professionals 3 years ago (for a portable) but are a vary handy reality now, I believe multiple cores will be the same in the future. Probably overkill for the average consumer for a while, but definitely useful to the power users.
     
  19. landis macrumors regular

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    #20
    As was previously mentioned, snow leopard will pave the way for many multiple cores with grand central. the basic premise is that it makes a multi core computer seem like a single core to applications and it divides the processing among the cores. this is going to be extremely effective because many programmers are unable to create applications that can use all 8 or 16 cores in a mac pro. snow leopard itself should be a much smaller install, allowing for greater performance out of your computer.
     
  20. Draeconis macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    I use Ableton Live and I have pre-composed MIDI and Audio tracks, live MIDI and Audio Channels I route real instruments into, warp, timestretch and distort audio in realtime, trigger Virtual instruments live via a MIDI keyboard, that kind of thing.

    I use Ableton to put all of the audio files directly into RAM so the hard drive has less demands placed on it when running the set. Loading .wav files directly into memory takes up a lot of space :)
     
  21. andiwm2003 macrumors 601

    andiwm2003

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    #22
    i guess nobody doubts the use of quadcore for pro's on pro machines. but macbooks and mba's? even macbook pros i can imagine get rather smaller and light than more powerful via quadcore chips.

    maybe i'm missing something. but unless you plan to do 1080p stuff or real pro work two cores are good enough. like always this might change when new uses come up for consumers (e.g. virtual worlds). but for the next four years i don't see it.

    maybe the future are two lines: a light dual core line for the average user and a desktop replacement line of quad core notebooks for those doing billboards on photoshop.
     
  22. 11800506 macrumors 65816

    11800506

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    #23
    I would have to say that it is more likely they would offer it as BTO for the top-end iMac than the 17" MBP at least when they first come out because of heat issues associated with it.
     
  23. m1stake macrumors 68000

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    #24
    If you have to ask, you probably don't need it. It'll be a great thing to have for Snow Leopard though. Snow Leopard, from what I understand (Not much), will basically dictate tasks to cores as they come, so it will use as many cores as you have. This way developers will not have to do this themselves, making programming much easier.

    Big deal now for a few things now, HUGE deal later for EVERYTHING.
     
  24. magallanes macrumors regular

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    #25
    Oops!, yes double zeros.

    Sound fine but implausible, not at least with the current software.
     

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