The process of buying a new laptop can be quite complex and even confusing. Especially if you don’t know some of the terms used in describing the components of a computer.
When purchasing a new laptop, it is best to always look at the specifications. This will help you know what kind of hardware the laptop uses. This also is where you’ll come across references to dual-core or quad-core processors.
What Does the Term Quad Core and Dual Core Mean?
Dual-core processors were introduced in 2005. Their arrival made a huge impact on computers and laptops. Computers with multi-core processors are able to multitask much better. It allows you to run numerous applications and carry out intensive tasks all at the same time.
It’s like having two (or four) processors all at once, however without the extra power requirements. This is the reason multi-core processors are such a great fit for laptops. This is because they allow modern laptops to be even more powerful while they stay thin, light, and with good battery life.
What this implies is that the more cores the processor has, the better it is at multitasking. Also, the more powerful and faster the laptop will be.
The clock speed of the processor is another specification you’ll come across when buying a new laptop or computer. It is measured in gigahertz (or megahertz for lower-powered or older hardware). So, a processor with a higher clock speed will typically perform better.
But you have to understand that the faster the clock speed, the more power the processor needs, as such the more heat it generates. This implies that laptops that use processors with faster clock speeds may have shorter battery lives. This may be true except they have bigger batteries which increases the size of the device. It also means the device will need better cooling solutions to keep the processor from overheating. This may mean a larger laptop with more fans that produce more noise.
You may notice that processors that have more cores have lower clock speeds. So you may be asking which is better? Is it a high core count or a faster clock speed?
It still boils down to personal preference and what you want to use the laptop for. If the laptop you are buying is for light use, like surfing the internet or working on a document, a laptop with a dual-core processor and a higher clock speed can serve you better.
If on the other hand, you will be using your laptop for more intensive tasks and multitasking a number of different applications at once, then you’ll be needing a laptop with a quad-core (or higher) processor with a slower clock speed.
Price Vs Performance
Understand that laptops that come with quad-core processors are usually more expensive than laptops with dual-core processors. You have to be very sure about this so as not to spend money on a level of power that you won’t use. On the other hand, you have been sure in order not to settle for a laptop that won’t be powerful enough for your needs.
This is why you need to strike the right balance between price and performance. If you want a budget laptop for light day-to-day tasks, then getting a dual-core laptop will be just fine. But if you want to play, record and stream games, or work in multiple applications at once, then you need a quad-core, or higher, laptop.
Should you go Higher than Quad-core?
Granted that laptops with dual or quad-core processors are very popular. But then, there’s an increasing number of high-end laptops with hexa (six) and octal (eight) core processors.
These laptops offer even better multitasking performance as compared to dual-core and quad-core laptops. However, they also come with a higher price tag. It is rare to find a hexa-core or octa-core processor in a budget laptop. Rather they are reserved for more expensive premium laptops.
On the whole, it still depends on what you want. You have to decide whether or not you need that level of power. For people who only run regular tasks on their laptops, this level of power will be overkill. But if you really want to future-proof your laptop and you have the budget for it, you can go for it. You can go for a laptop with a very high core count processor if you have the need for it.