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Quad-core vs dual-core mobile processors

Tossed around as hot cupcakes, these buzzwords certainly make anyone scratch their heads. However, there lie several important differences between these two processor types.

The line between high end and premium smartphones appears superficial at times, especially when one gets down to comparing the two types based solely on benchmark numbers. As the buzzword game states, there lies a clear difference between quad-core and dual-core smartphones. However, recently the smartphone market has seen the bombardment of budget level smartphones with quad-core mobile processors. The more the merrier does stand true; mostly, but not always.

Multiple processing cores have been residing in the heart of computers for more than a decade. In the last couple of years, the same fundamental has been implemented on mobile devices. But what exactly are multi-core processors? Let's take a quick look at the basics of multi-core processors.

Difference: Mobile processors vs PC processors

The basic difference between processors for computers and those for mobile phones is the types of instruction sets supported based on the architecture of the chipset. Processors for computers can provide higher performance by supporting complex instruction sets to carry out a variety of processing tasks simultaneously. However, the mobile processors meant for mobile devices provide performance based on reduced (or simplified) instruction sets by faster execution of each instruction. In a nutshell, the processors meant for computers lay emphasis on the hardware and use complex instruction sets to carry out the processing tasks. Processors for mobile phones, on the other hand, emphasize the software and RAM where the assembly line code is being stored. One of the obvious differences is that mobile processors in smartphones or tablets are not physically upgradable.

Silicon chip designers managed to include two individual processing cores on a single die and thus dual-core processors were brought. Here, cramming two individual processor cores is very different from combining two single-core processors. Dual-core mobile processors share the work of carrying out instruction sets by improving the performance per cycle. Quad-core mobile processors are basically the four individual processing cores integrated on a single die in such a way that all four cores can be used to deliver higher level performance.

So quad-core mobile processors are made in the same way as dual-core mobile processors with a lot of difference and emphasis on the architecture as well as other features. Dual-core processors can be perceived as two brains of similar potential at work to run apps, tasks and boost performance by double the capacity of a single core processor. Similarly, quad-core processors can be imagined to carry out the same level of tasks, apps and other processes with twice the power of dual-core processors. Over the course of this feature, you will slowly discover the merits and demerits of each type.

First Published : Monday, April 29, 2013 - 00:00

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