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Number Of Cores Vs Speed Of Cores


MaddawgTL
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I'm doing some researching towards a new laptop and came across a minor question concerning the number of cores and what there frequencies are. The cpus I'm looking at are the AMD A4-3300m dual core at 1.9ghz and the AMD A6-3400m quad core at 1.4ghz. So my question is which is better? I'm assuming that a quad core will be better overall but with it being 1.4ghz makes me want to ask the experts. (Yeah I know,I'm asking for a heap of trouble from this forum. ;P )

What I'm going to use this for is college as well as gaming,so having a good overall performance is what I'm concerned about. Thank you for any help that can be given.

Edited by MaddawgTL
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All other things being equal, I would go for clock speed over cores for general gaming and productivity use. My current laptop is an HT 4 core 1.6 ghz and I feel it is a little slow for me most of the time. Of course it is faster running a heavily multi-threaded application, but my time comparison for my work is probably at least 4:1 in favor of a faster clock than more cores. YMMV.

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Clock speed does not always mean faster CPU or machine. Its a combination of things, like how much memory on the cache, 32 vs 64 bit architecture in use, and other hardware tied to it, if it has discreet memory for GPU on die as well, what setup for the north and south-bridge, as some combinations work better than others. Overall, I would say you should be fine with the quad core though, even at a slower speed, you will be more than compensated with the extra cores for tasks that use more mutli threading. In most scenarios, the CPU never gets above 50%, whether dual core or quad core, so speed won't be a huge factor here unless you are doing video rendering, compression, etc, by which the quad core should out perform the dual core in most areas depending on how the software written is used(as in if it can use 4 cores or no more than one).

The other thought is, check the video chip shipped with each, as that will come into play for overall user experience. Laptops aren't meant to be gaming power houses, but if the quad core machine has a worst GPU than the dual core machine, that might be a factor to get the dual core one. Also, how much memory does the laptop have and what can it be maxed out to (assuming its a 64bit OS, why you would use 32 at this time is beyond me).

Also, do some research on owners of the two machines, see what the reviews say. Might help in making the final decision. See if they are listed on BestBuy, NewEgg and Amazon and read some customer reviews. A 3rd option for something else entirely might be a better choice.

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Clock speed does not always mean faster CPU or machine. Its a combination of things, like how much memory on the cache, 32 vs 64 bit architecture in use, and other hardware tied to it, if it has discreet memory for GPU on die as well, what setup for the north and south-bridge, as some combinations work better than others. Overall, I would say you should be fine with the quad core though, even at a slower speed, you will be more than compensated with the extra cores for tasks that use more mutli threading. In most scenarios, the CPU never gets above 50%, whether dual core or quad core, so speed won't be a huge factor here unless you are doing video rendering, compression, etc, by which the quad core should out perform the dual core in most areas depending on how the software written is used(as in if it can use 4 cores or no more than one).

The other thought is, check the video chip shipped with each, as that will come into play for overall user experience. Laptops aren't meant to be gaming power houses, but if the quad core machine has a worst GPU than the dual core machine, that might be a factor to get the dual core one. Also, how much memory does the laptop have and what can it be maxed out to (assuming its a 64bit OS, why you would use 32 at this time is beyond me).

Also, do some research on owners of the two machines, see what the reviews say. Might help in making the final decision. See if they are listed on BestBuy, NewEgg and Amazon and read some customer reviews. A 3rd option for something else entirely might be a better choice.

Excellent post.

I would only add check the software you are going to use most is it multi-threaded, in other words is it written to take advantage of multiple cores. If it isn't then the extra cores won't be as much of an advantage. If you really are into gaming check out laptops designed for gaming they tend to be higher priced, but generally are high-performance systems with the video for gaming.

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I understand all this,what I wanted to know was has anyone had any experience with either of these two cpus. My thoughts of them is that they will perform nearly identically (quad core with lower speed compared to dual core with higher speed) and what will set them apart would be multi-tasking of programs or programs that can take adavantage of the more cores there are.

I'm looking at 4 laptops right now with a 5th one when it becomes avaiable,the HP Pavilion g4-1215dx and the Pavilion g6-1c45dx and well as Toshiba Satellite L775D-S7305 and Satellite L755D-S5218 all of them from BestBuy.

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Personally out of the two I would go with the AMD A6-3400m, reasons being (based on a quick read of the specs of each):

  • More cores beats clock speed these days
  • If you do have a single threaded processor intensive task then the processor will boost the clock speed of the used cores (upto ~2.3GHz if just a single core is being used and the chip is cooled well enough). Note: the AMD A4-3300M can overclock one of its cores to 2.5GHz at the expense of the other, but you are far more likely to be using both of its cores which makes the option a bit pointless
  • While the on chip AMD Radeon HD 6520G runs at 44mhz slower than the AMD Radeon HD 6480G on the other processor it has 80 more pipelines.

Note: If you are planning on getting a laptop with a separate graphics card then really look at a different set of processors.

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