Both Intel and AMD are putting on a big advertising push for their dual core processors. The commercials and print ads sound as if a new world is being opened in personal computing. But what does dual core technology mean for the average user?
The term "dual core" is self-explanatory. You have two computing cores in one processor. Having two cores means your computer can perform two different tasks at the same time efficiently.
For example, let’s say you’re into video editing in a big way. You’ve just finished a movie sequence, and you want to compile all the clips, render special effects, and do all the things required to upload it to the web. In the meantime, you want to work on a 3-D animation you’ve been trying to get right.
With single core, your CPU would be bogged down. It simply couldn’t handle it. But a dual core can do it as efficiently as two separate computers. Each core has its own cache, allowing the toughest chores to be done simultaneously.
All this computing power can give everyone in your home a chance to be on the computer at the same time, if you set up a multiple workstation system. You could be playing your favorite game, while your child does their homework, and your spouse surfs the web.
Perhaps the best part of all is that prices for dual core chips and systems have started coming down. Now, the astute bargain hunter is likely to find a system well within their budget.
Michael Quarles is the author of the book "Building a PC for Beginners". His website is Building A PC: For Beginners. How to build your own computer.