Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Quad-cores on a cold Monday morning

Let’s start the week with a reader question.
Q: I’m buying a new desktop. Do I need a “quad-core”?
A: Like so many things in life, the short answer is, “that depends.” But before I explain further, let me say that a “quad-core” CPU is pretty much just what it sounds like– four processors ‘stacked’ onto one chip. This is the next evolution of Moore’s Law (short version=the power of computers doubles every 2 yrs.). Quad-core equipped desktop computer have been available to the general public for a while now, and can be found for around $250 more than a dual-core version. It won’t be long before quad-core reaches the notebook market; and it won’t be too long before every desktop sold will have quad-cores.

To get back to the reader’s question — do they need a quad-core — the answer depends on what they are going to be using the computer for. [note:A quad-core CPU handles tasks faster than a dual-core can, but software has to be written to take full advantage of the “multi-threaded” capabilities of these processors.. something that is only beginning to happen.]
If you will be using your PC as a “media center” component in your entertainment center, editing HD home movies, are a video gamer, or are otherwise “pushing” the abilities of your PC, then yes; you should go for the quad-core, IMHO.
On the other hand, if you are the type of user who only uses your computer to browse the Internet (and use e-mail), and the most resource-demanding game you play is Solitaire, then you probably don’t need to spend the extra dollars for the latest technology.

I wrote a four-part series on When it’s time to buy a new computer to help folks decide on the various advantages and questions one faces. To read these articles, click here.

Time is short today, so…
Today’s free link: Speaking of video games, I stumbled across a funny/accurate critique of the state of video games and game consoles called the Gamer’s Manifesto, or “20 things gamers want from the seventh generation of game consoles. This particular entry is definitely for the gamer (someone who knows what Doom III looks like), but the site, Pointless Waste of Time, is a fun, “hip” site for mature audiences (..tho, of a younger set).

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

Share this post :

January 14, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, dual-core processors, hardware, PC, shopping for, tech, Vista, Windows | , , | Leave a comment