I'm considering options for a new portable PC. I'd like to keep power utilization at a minimum, while being able to run batch jobs as quickly as possible. Batch jobs I can generally parallelize using
xargs in cases where the processing program itself does not know how to take advantage of multi-core.
So a low-voltage, multi-core chip seems pretty appealing. However, if a dual-core chip is going to have twice the (minimum) power consumption of a single-core chip, I might instead opt for a single core with a higher maximum clock speed. Are multi-core CPUs capable of temporarily shutting down one or more cores in order to lower power consumption?
What's the typical power consumption penalty for the addition of a core (or 3 cores for quad-core chips)? And by contrast, what is the typical minimum power consumption penalty for increased per-core processing speed? By "minumum" I mean to indicate that I'd like the machine to use as little power as possible when the cpu(s) is/are scaled down to the minimum frequency.