Dual Core vs Quad Core
Dual core and quad core are two processor types that fall in to the category of multi core processors. In a multi core processor, there is more than one core (processor) in the single integrated circuit die. A dual core processor has two cores in the same die and a quad core processor has four cores in the same die. Multi core processors are widely used in general purpose computers, embedded devices, network devices, etc. To get the best use of multi core processors, the software programs running on the system should be implemented in such a way that they are able to get the full use of the multi core setup.
What is a Dual Core?
Dual core processors have two processor cores in the same die. And each of the cores has its own cache. In a traditional single core processor, when executing instructions, if the required data is not in the cache, that data should be fetched from the RAM (Random Access Memory) or from a storage device, which would slow down the execution since the processor has to wait until it receives data. But with two cores, each core executes instructions separately and therefore when one core is accessing the memory the other core might still be executing instructions. This would improve the performance of the system. Especially with multi-tasking, if there is only a single processor, the performance will suffer since the processor would have to switch between two processes. Therefore multi-tasking can achieve its best performance if there is more than one core. AMD Phenom II X2 and Intel Core Duo are two examples of dual core processors.
What is a Quad Core?
Quad core processor is a processor with four cores in the same die. But, the first quad core processors had each core separately in four dies and they were combined in to a single package to form a quad core processor. Later came the processors with all four cores in the same die and they were called Monolithic quad-core processors. Also, some quad core processors are manufactured by combining two dual core processors in to a single package. Quad core processors have the ability to execute four different instructions at the same time. Thus, these are suitable for running several applications simultaneously. But most of the applications are not developed to take the full advantage of the quad core capabilities. They are designed for single core processors. Applications that are developed to run several tasks simultaneously will be able to take the full advantage of a quad core processor.
What is the difference between a Dual Core and a Quad Core?
Dual core processors have two processor cores in the same die whereas quad core processor is a processor with four cores in the same die. Therefore, a computer with a quad core processor should perform better than a computer with a dual core processor. But this might not be always true since most of the applications are developed targeting single or dual core environments. Therefore, they will not be able to take the advantage of performance improvement provided by quad core processors.