A CPU core is an individual processing unit within a device processor for the computer that supports multi-core. The CPUs have more than one core which is capable of executing instructions independently of the others. Current types of computer system that are multitasking and multi-user use of many cores improves overall system performance and execution speed.
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Types and number of CPU cores available.
The number of cores can be implemented as either physical or virtual cores. In the physical, it means the CPU has those physical cores within its microprocessor chip. For virtual the manufacturer uses a technology called hyperthreading to create virtual cores. The computer can have 2 physical cores but the operating system sees them as 4 cores by implementing hyperthreading. Below are some of the most common types of CPU cores.
Single-Core: A CPU with a single processing core. It can only handle one task at a time. These are old CPUs that were used for simple devices that don’t require a lot of computation power.
Dual-Core: A CPU with two processing cores that can handle two tasks simultaneously. The work to be processed is divided among the two cores. Any CPU with more than one processor core is called a multi-core CPU.
Quad-Core: These CPUs have four processing cores. The workload can now be divided into four and shared by the cores. This improves the level of multiprogramming capabilities within the system.
Hexa-Core: It has six processing cores. This means it can handle six tasks simultaneously. The systems that use Hexa-core are those that require more computation power like gaming, rendering, and video editing.
Octa-Core: These are the latest for personal computers and they have eight processing cores. These computers have very high processing speed and the level of multitasking is also high. They are used in extreme systems that require more processing power and at a very high speed.
CPU core and system speed.
It should be noted that a computer’s speed is not only affected by the number of cores but we have other factors that are considered. These other factors that affect the CPU speed include.
Clock speed: this is the number of cycles that the core can do within a given time. The higher number of clock speeds the better. A 3.0GHz core is faster than 2GHz.
Cache size: cache memory is used to store data that is used by the processor. A bigger cache storage means the computer can hold more data as it is being processed. If the computer has more cores but less cache memory it will be limited by the size of storage.
CPU architecture: this is how the overall CPU is structured. Different structure decides how data is moved, stored, and processed within the many cores. Factors such as the cores sharing cache memory, and the size of CPU buses among others are what determine the speed.
Extra technology used: to further increase the performance of the system CPU manufacturers implement other technologies such as hyperthreading and turbo boost. While hyperthreading creates extra virtual cores turbo boost increases the clock speed of the cores on need bases.
Advantages of Multi-Core CPU
- Increase system performance: with multi-cores, the CPU can be able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously hence improving performance and execution speed.
- Maximum processor utilization: when the load is shared among many cores it means we can achieve a high CPU utilization compared to when using a single core.
- Support parallel processing: this is where the process is divided into small chunks which are assigned to different cores and executed simultaneously. This reduces the time taken to complete a process execution.
- Reduced process waiting time: the time that the process waits before it is assigned to the processor is reduced since now we have many cores executing many processes.
- High system response time: from the user’s point the system response is better which gives a better user experience.
Disadvantages of Multi-Core systems
- Software incompatibility: not all software is designed to take advantage of multicores. For the system to use multi-core the software should have been designed with that capability which most current software doesn’t have.
- High power consumption: More cores mean the system will need more power to run. Multi-core systems consume more power compared to single-core systems.
- Complex designing: to design both the hardware and software to support multi-core systems in complex. This means it takes more time to design and develop the system.
- High cost of development: manufacturing and developing these systems is expensive. This means by the time a computer with a multi-core reaches the market it is more expensive than a single-core. The more cores the system has the high the price.