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I realize for single applications - the application itself has to be designed to take advantage of multiple cores. But what about executing many different applications simultaneously?

On my development machine at an average instance, I run multiple servers (a database server, a web server), multiple instance of IDEs (either Visual Studio or NetBeans), Web-browser with multiple tabs (in Chrome, each tab is a process on its own), FTP client, SSH client etc. Does having a multi-core system improve the ability to run multiple applications simultaneously?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Of course. And there won't be so much contention between different processes, either, since they run in their own address spaces, and they won't have all that synchronization overhead ...

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Short answer: Yes.

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Only if multiple things are happening at the same time. For example, browsing http://localhost and hitting the local DB will be improved with multi-cores. But, IMO the best way to improve preformance on a developer workstation is lots of fast RAM. And a fast hard drive.

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