What does dual/quad processor's even mean?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by poozer115, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. poozer115 macrumors regular

    poozer115

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    Oct 11, 2008
    #1
    I know this will sound incredibly stupid, but I don't really understand the concept of multiple cores. I have a 2.16 core 2 duo macbook, and am thinking of upgrading to something like a dual or quad 2.4 mac pro. Does this mean that I get .34 more speed, or 7.44 more (2.16 versus 4 x 2.4)? Could somebody just clarify how this system works, and how to analyze true processor speeds? Thanks!
     
  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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  3. poozer115 thread starter macrumors regular

    poozer115

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    Oct 11, 2008
    #3
    huh?
     
  4. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

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    #4
    a core is another name for a processor board. your core 2 duo macbook has two cores, meaning two processors. They work together. the new mac pros come with a few different configurations. the current models come with either one or two processing units, and each unit has 4 cores; 4 processors boards. The 8 core models have two four-core processors. theoretically, a 4 core machine will have twice as much processing power as your 2 core machine, and an 8 core machine will have 4 times as much. but, software hasn't been optimized yet to wring every last bit of power out of multi core processors, so in the real world, an 8 core machine will not perform 4 times better than your 2 core macbook.... but it's getting better. software writers are beginning to get better at utilizing multiple cores, and Mac OS 10.6 is supposed to have a big improvement upon the way your computer utilizes multiple processors.
     
  5. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

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    #6
    This might take awhile to explain, so before you read further, grab a cup of coffee.

    "Dual Processors" means that one a single processor chip (known as a "die"), there are 2 cores. Like on cars, there are V4, V6, and V8. V4 means 4 pistons, V6 means 6, and so forth. Dual processors means you have two processor cores working for you, but on one SINGLE chip. So before there used to be single core Pentiums. A orthodox use "dual" would mean two Pentium processor chips on the same motherboard. But Intel combined two Pentiums into one SINGLE chip instead of two separate chips, for faster communication between each core.

    Quad means the same thing. Instead of having 4 individual processor chips soldered in 4 different places on the motherboard, there is one SINGLE chip with all 4 cores smashed in there.

    You can't calculate computing power in linear terms. It's more ... logarithmic. And each generation (Pentium 1, 2, 3, 4 and finally the Core series) has a different architecture. Like houses from the early 1900s, and early 2000s. Suppose both houses have the same sq. footage, but different arrangement of rooms, size of rooms, ceiling height, etc. Pentiums had different arrangements of its components than a Core Duo chip. Newer architecture usually can outperform an older, higher clock speed (GHz or MHz) at a lower clock speed.

    An Intel Core Duo running at 1.8GHz can benchmark better than a 3GHz Pentium 4 due to faster, better, and newer architecture.

    Now dukebound85 mentioned "multithreaded apps". Each application had a single "thread" since processors at that time was only single core. Multithreaded allowed applications to have multiple threads. Think of this like instant messaging windows. Suppose you are iming 5 people. A single core processor would have to handle those one by one, shutting down each window as it cycles through the 5 windows. But, with multi threading, it was able to handle multiple windows at once.
     
  6. cherry su macrumors 65816

    cherry su

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    Feb 28, 2008
    #7
    dual/quad core processors mean faster computers :D;)
     
  7. Exman macrumors member

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    Oct 6, 2008
    #8
    A Quadcore is just two Core 2 Duo's whacked together on a single die. Similarly, a dual core is two single-core CPU's whacked together on a single die.

    Unlike AMD's Quadcores, prior to Core i7, all Intel Dual and Quadcore CPUs are not native (but as above, multiple CPUs on a single die).

    Having a multi-core system sounds good and all, but it is pointless if the application barely makes use of them; for example the Photoshop benchmark sticky on top of this forum clearly demonstrates that 8-core is a waste of money for photoshop use, unless you do motion blur all day long.

    The biggest advantage of 8-core is in CPU rendering.
     
  8. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #9
    .

    not entirely true

    some quad core chips are indeed 2 dual cores on 1 die, some however are true quad core
    indeed, movie editiiong falls into this category or apps like handbrake
     

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