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Single core vs dual core

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
What is the difference between a single core and dual core processor? Specifically, I am trying to choose a tablet. 1 has a single core 1GHz processor and the other has a dual core 1GHz processor. If they are both 1GHz, what is the advantage of dual core?

I don't know if this is the right place for this thread but I didn't see a computer or tablet section and I would imagine this is a pretty basic question for most AVS members.
Thank you in advance.
post #2 of 6
Yeah, this is the wrong forum. wink.gif

But, looking at your avatar I'll use aviation terms: it's like a single-engine or dual-engine aircraft. The CPU (processor) is the "engine" of any computer/tablet/phone and "core" refers to the number of CPU cores. For example, often two lower speed CPUs are better at multitasking (running more than one thing at once) than one faster CPU.

In your example above, if both are identical CPUs running at 1GHz, then the dual core unit is theoretically twice as powerful.
Edited by bluechunks - 1/21/13 at 7:09am
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thank you. Can you give me a practical example of when someone might have 2 things running at once on a tablet? Maybe if you had 2 browser windows open at the same time?

In general would a dual core be better at playing video since its faster?
post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bond 007 View Post

Thank you. Can you give me a practical example of when someone might have 2 things running at once on a tablet? Maybe if you had 2 browser windows open at the same time?
That would be an example. So would having two different apps running at once. Example: downloading a large PDF (using the browser) while also checking mail using the Mail app. But even the operating system is also usually doing something in the background so having multiple cores, if properly implemented, lets things run more "smoothly" from the user's perspective. Apps and windows open and close quickly, browsers scroll smoothly, etc...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bond 007 View Post

In general would a dual core be better at playing video since its faster?
Yes, no, and maybe. It all depends on the performance of the CPUs and the complexity of the video stream being decoded. Also, most current tables offload much of the video decoding to the GPU (graphics processing unit; on a PC you'd call it the "graphics card") so it would also depend upon the capabilities of the GPU and the video formats that are supported on a hardware level.

But very generally speaking, faster multiple core processors (i.e. more expensive) are also paired with better GPU's. This can often be measured by supported video formats and/or resolutions. For example, a HD 1080p video stream (1920x1080), when displayed, has about SIX times as many pixels as a standard definition (720x480) video stream. A performance limited tablet may play SD just fine but then struggle with HD.
Edited by bluechunks - 1/21/13 at 11:03am
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Excellent explanation! Thank you for taking the time. smile.gif
post #6 of 6
You are welcome. smile.gif
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