Today, the number of CPU cores is used to promote a mobile device, so much so that a conversation in a gadget store could go something like this: "Oh, look! quad-core 'to, panis 'yang dual-core mo!"
It's the megapixel wars all over again, where having a larger number is viewed as being better. But what are these "cores" everybody's been blabbing about? And is having more of it really as good as it's hyped up to be? Heck, do we really need a bunch of them?
In this edition of TechKnow, we talk mobile CPU cores, from what it really is and what it does to the whole "more = better" issue. Read on, you might find something to help you in your next gadget purchase.
A MULTI-CORE PROCESSOR: WHAT IS IT EXACTLY?
A processor, also often called the CPU (central processing unit) is your device's brain. It handles the "processing" (hence, the name) of software commands, including opening or copying a file to running apps. The better a device's processor, the better its performance.
With that said, many of today's processors come with more than one core. A core is basically the part of the CPU that reads and executes instructions, translating them to observable commands on the screen (i.e. tapping and opening an app). It's the brain within the brain, and if you have more than one on a single CPU component then, voila, you've got a multi-core processor!
SO, WHAT DOES HAVING MORE CORES MEAN FOR A MOBILE DEVICE?
Having more cores mean a processor can do more tasks simultaneously compared to one with lesser cores. This is because, essentially, a core can only do a set of things at any one time, and if the load goes up, it might not be able to keep up.
According to Elijah Mendoza, a former tech journalist and now part of Starmobile, we can view a processor as a room full of people and the doors as its cores. If you only have one door, congestion is bound to happen. However, if you have two or more, people can go in and out of the room faster.
This is why having more cores is often equated to having better performance because you can do more stuff at any one time. Thus, the hype about multi-core processor.