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  • Dual Core VS. Quad Core: What’s the Difference?
Technology Articles > Hardware > Processors > Dual Core VS. Quad Core: What’s the Difference?

One of the first things an electronics store sales person will try to sell you on is the type of core that a system has. If you’re none the wiser, you might wind up buying a system with more cores than you actually need. Since multi-core processors are a relatively new thing (multi-core options began appearing back in 2005), figuring out what kind of core you need and how many cores are optimal can be tough. Instead of taking the advice of that sales person who works on commission, take a few moments to read through this core buying guide – when you’re done, you should know what kind of system you need to buy.

In This Case, Bigger Is Better

Sometimes, buying something that’s bigger doesn’t necessarily mean that item is better, but this isn’t the case when it comes to processors. Before multi-core processors were created, systems were relatively slow and only able to handle one task at a time. Multi-core processors provide a computer with the ability to take on more than one task at simultaneously, and this, in turn, means that the multi-core system you purchase will be faster.

There are, essentially, two companies that manufacture multi-core processors. These companies include Intel (the one company that most people associate with processors) and AMD (a later contender, but still a tough company to beat). Both Intel and AMD offer multi-core processors. Is one company better than the other? You’ll notice, when shopping, that some systems come with an AMD processor and some boast the Intel brand.

Whether one processor company is better than the other is really a matter of preference, since both companies offer processors that are equally as good – so, if a sales person tries to sell you on one company creating processors that are better than the other company, don’t fall for this trap. In the end, it comes down to how many processors are inside of that system, and what you need your system to do.

Dual or Quad?

If you plan on using your new computer for daily tasks that don’t require a lot of multi-tasking, you will do just fine with a dual-core processor. In fact, a dual-core processor may even feel faster if you’re just attempting to complete one task at a time. On the flip side, you will need a quad-core processor if you intend to demand a lot from your system. A quad-core can break down various tasks easily, so that your system can handle a good workout without slowing down. You don’t need a quad-core, however, if you just want to surf the net or type on a Word document.

In case you come across a system with six or more processors, be aware that few individuals will need to purchase a system with so much power. Typically, six or eight processors are reserved for industrial systems that users will demand a lot from. So, do you choose a quad or dual-core processor? It comes down to what you intend to do with your new computer. Most people will find that a dual-core processor works just fine for day-to-day tasks. Keep in mind, as well, that you can always add more processing power to your system, in case you ever need to upgrade.