Is 4 better then 2? (Dual Core vs Quad Core CPU)

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Coding Horror did an extensive comparison between Dual Core CPUs versus Quad Core CPUs and came up with some surprising results:

It’s mostly what I would expect– only rendering and encoding tasks exploit parallelism enough to overcome the 25% speed deficit between the dual and quad core CPUs. Outside of that specific niche, performance will actually suffer for most general purpose software if you choose a slower quad-core over a faster dual-core.

Beyond encoding and rendering tasks which are naturally amenable to parallelization, the task manager CPU graphs tell the sad tale of software that simply isn’t written to exploit more than two CPUs.

Link to blog post

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