What is a core?
If you’re reading this then you don’t know too much about processors and want to learn. Or you’re reading this to find an excuse to say terrible things about us. Whichever the reason, NCIX welcomes you and hopes you can learn something today.
A sole core can (in the most basic sense) run a single program, maintain program integrity and task execution order, and many other complicated computer things. The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is made up of one or more of these cores and uses them to run tasks which the OS schedules. More than one core can be assigned on the same task, allowing them to share the processing power and ultimately shorten the time needed to complete the task. The more cores a CPU has, the more processes can be run in parallel and the less time a task will need to be worked on for.
That’s a very general run-down of what a core is. This has been brought to you by NCIX Canada.
How many cores do i need?
The more complex your task, the more cores you will need. For users mainly focusing on browsing the web and using basic application, two cores will be more than plenty — chances are, the processes you run won’t be able to reach the bottleneck that two cores provide anyways. But for more intensive tasks such as gaming or photo editing, and depending on the gravity of the tasks, you will need a quad core or greater processor to keep up and maintain smooth performance. As of mid 2017, the greatest number of cores on a consumer processor is 16, on AMD’s Threadripper. A processing unit with that many cores will only be fully utilized in extremely intensive tasks such as rending 3D, video, and audio. Even then it simply means less waiting time.
If your main usage of your computer is browsing the internet, watching videos, using Microsoft Office or something similar, or playing the occasional back-breaking game of Solitaire, then chances are a CPU with two cores will be more than enough for you. None of the tasks mentioned above uses a large amount of processing power, and a dual core CPU is more powerful that you’d think. These CPUs can run all the modern MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games without a problem, but may struggle with AAA games on high settings. If, however, you are building a gaming PC, you wouldn’t be choosing a dual-core processor.