The processor industry is now, without doubt, being taken over by dual core processors. Intel, IBM and AMD appear to be the market leaders in this type of technology. A dual core processor is literally like having a dual processing system all inside one processor. Two processor cores are fitted onto one die. This will simply mean that you have a faster connection and that you’re able to transfer more data between two chips however this does not make the chip itself faster. This merely allows one chip to “talk” to yet another chip or some form of device at a far faster speed. This is known as Hyper-Transport Technology.
A processor is basically a device that will execute a series of instructions, and everything that interacts with it will know exactly what to do. Obviously, the faster this can be done, the better. You will find in a traditional processor or single core, the CPU will receive a set of instructions that it will then execute, and selectively store in its cache. If for any reason the CPU requires information that is not contained within its cache it must retrieve this memory from certain storage devices such as random access memory (RAM). Unfortunately once you need to access the storage devices you will find that the performance slows right down.
Dual core processor technology will allow each core to simultaneously handle incoming data. This is very much like the old adage of two heads being better than one and will dramatically improve efficiency. One core can be executing while the other is accessing its own codes. To ensure that you can correctly utilize a dual core processor, the software used must have simultaneous multi-threading technology (SMT) written into its code. Without SMT any software used will only ever recognize one core.
You may have also heard of multi-processing systems however a dual core processor is very different. A multi-processing system is faster than a system that uses a dual core processor and this is mainly because there are two separate CPUs with their very own resources. Dual core processors do not require motherboard and as long as the existing board has the correct socket, it can be used. You will notice that servers that run multiple dual core processors also allow for a vast increase in performance.
There are numerous advantages to using a dual core processor over a single processor. The most obvious, as mentioned, is the gain in performance. How much improvement you see will depend very much on both the hardware and software that is involved and the specific task that you are carrying out. Although you are doubling the amount of processors, you should not expect double the performance. It is nearer to a 50% improvement in actual fact.
A dual core processor provides many more advantages over other methods of increasing performance. You do not need to worry about the side-effects of scaling the clock rate, which will always generate far more waste heat, which in turn will make the design and building process far more expensive. Additionally you will find that there is no other alternative to increase performance if the unit has been set at the maximum level. Therefore there is pretty much nothing else you can do to improve performance other than installing a dual core processor.
A dual core processor will also reduce battery consumption which I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a fantastic advantage. You should also experience improvements when gaming and again when multi-tasking. This new technology has led to desktops and laptops becoming far smaller and quieter than they ever were before.
Although there are many advantages, it is also important to know the disadvantages. Many forms of software will need to be redesigned to work specifically with a dual core processor. Possibly the most advantageous and reliable design would be to have an individual processor on a chip however due to a dual core processor will be working far harder and faster this can put an incredible amount of strain into the system as well as the memory bandwidth of your computer.
Dual core processors have fast become a dominant part of the computer industry. There are now far more dual core desktops and even multi-core processors being sold to businesses and consumers alike. Although the cost of dual core technology is a little more expensive, most people believe that the additional processing power and many other benefits are well worth the additional cost.