What is a Core in a CPU
To start this file devoted to Intel Core processors, I offer you a short explanatory guide on processors and their cores. For beginners, this is the ideal starting point to understand what is the role of a processor and what is the use of cores; for the more experienced, why not refresh your memory, it doesn’t hurt anyone! Even at the Crab 😀
What could be better than a small Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to answer your questions about processors and their cores? 🙂
What is a processor?
The processor or CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the component of your computer that executes the instructions given to it by your operating system (Windows). When you run the software, unzip a ZIP archive, or watch a high-definition video, you are putting your CPU to work first! To meet your most demanding demands, the processor can be equipped with multiple cores.
What is a Core in a CPU | The Heart?
A standard processor has a core (it is said to be single-core ). A processor with a single core can only process one instruction at a time, an instruction being a task that the processor is asked to perform: convert video, compress large files, run software, etc.
Several instructions can be processed by the core of a processor but it will always be in series, that is to say, one instruction at a time. Before the appearance of multi-core processors, it seemed that single-core processors were multi-tasking so much they went from one instruction to another quickly but it was not 😉
What is a multi-core processor?
A multi-core processor is made up of two or more independent cores, each capable of processing instructions individually. A dual-core processor contains two cores, a quad-core four-core processor, a six-core Hexa-core processor … Anyway, I think you understood 😀
On the graphic representation opposite, we can clearly see the four cores of the Intel Core i7-2600K processor:
What can I use several hearts for?
A multi-core processor allows the user to perform multiple tasks at the same time without experiencing slowdowns! In other words, cores are useful if you are using more than one software at the same time. When a program (photo editing software, for example) is running and processed by one core, you can request another core to use your web browser or write a document, without experiencing slowdowns.
Having multiple cores is also useful when using software that can use more than one core. Indeed, the majority of the programs are conceived to use only one and only one core. Software that is compatible with multi-core works much faster since it can execute several instructions at the same time. This is particularly the case with photo editing software but also certain video games.
If you only use your computer to check your emails or watch videos, you don’t really need a processor with a lot of cores, a dual-core will be more than enough 🙂
Do cores tell you how powerful a processor is?
Yes, but this is not the only indicator! The number of cores is certainly the first indicator of the power of a processor, but we should not focus solely on this data. We will see in the rest of this report that we must look at other characteristics, especially in Intel Core processors: frequency, cache memory, technologies used, etc.
The first part of the file on the Intel Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 ended 😀 a reminder on the operation of processors and cores that – you will admit – do not hurt 😉