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Dual Core vs. Quad Core for Your Desktop

There have been many technology battles over the years. VHS vs. Beta, Blu-Ray vs. HD, Tyson vs. Holyfield…

Okay so that last one wasn’t technology. One of the newest battles over tech is brewing in your computers’ processor. Dual Core vs. Quad Core. To understand which way one might want to go in this issue, you need to know what Dual Core, and Quad Core are.

Dual Core processors are put quite simply, two processor cores in one package, and Quad Core processors are four processor cores in one package. It’s not rocket science here! You could attempt to overclock a single core processor and get similar results, but the power usage would be increased over using a Dual Core processor.

Dual Core processors are found in many of today’s desktop computers, and are great for running multiple applications at once. With a Dual Core processor, you can open your internet browser, a spread sheet, and your calendar quite easily. The Dual Core processors multitask with the best of them, and are vital to run the Microsoft Vista operating system. You can run Vista without a Dual Core, but the number of apps you can run at one time would be more limited. This is especially true if you are running all of Vista’s enhancements like the Aero Desktop.

Suppose you want to play the latest and greatest video games, like Ultima Online, Stygian Abyss, or the latest first person shoot em’ up. Then your best bet is likely to be a Quad Core processor. Why? Quad cores handle the calculations to make the graphics on games like this run and look seamless. Many of these games use 3D effects. Quad Core processors will render these video applications much better and utilize less power doing so.

Game playing is not the only application that benefits from the use of Quad Core processors. Many people are using their desktop computers to encode video files. Perhaps you want to make a backup of your favorite Blu-ray movie onto your hard drive. The decreasing cost of higher volume hard drives such as the 1 and 2 terrabyte drives make this feasible. Quad Core processors can save processing time and power, over a Dual Core. Don’t even think about it with a single core processor.

Another consideration in this Dual Core vs. Quad Core debate, is simply the length of service you want from your system. The best philosophy with computers is simple. Get the fastest processor, largest hard drive, best video card you can with the money you can afford. If you can afford to get the best there is, go for it. In the long run your desktop will last you longer before becoming totally obsolete.

With the economic downturn of late, it makes more sense to spend a bit more money now, then to have to turn around in a year or two and replace your entire system. So if you can afford it, get the Quad core processor.

The debate over Dual Core vs. Quad Core really boils down to need. What do you really need to get? If all you are going to do is run spreadsheets, and send a few emails without attachments, then you can probably use a Dual Core for quite some time.

On the other hand, if you are into serious gaming, or backing up your video catalog, Quad Core may be your better bet. For now you have a choice. Choose wisely, and save in the long run.

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