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Since the app I'm running runs only as a single process, it only uses one core.

I have a Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz now. I'm wondering if I purchased a Core i7 2.4 GHz, would it usually complete general CPU operations much faster than the Core 2 Duo's single core?

Also, would a single core of the i7 at 2.2 GHz be faster usually than a single core of a Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz?

I'm only asking about general CPU operations, not multimedia operations. Just to make it clear, I'm not asking about general performance of the whole CPU – I mean only a single core of one CPU vs. a single core of the other.

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closed as not constructive by surfasb, slhck, Sathya Feb 5 '12 at 14:31

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This is a pretty vague question. If this question didn't have the phrases much faster than, or general cpu operations, it wouldn't be so bad. You should thinking about "If the current owned computer isn't meeting this specific need(s), will a core i7 meet this specific need(s)?" "Or is the bottleneck somewhere else?" –  surfasb Feb 5 '12 at 9:58
    
current computer is meeting specific needs... like usual with computers.. it works... but there is some delay... on a faster processor, this delay would be reduced.. therefore if reduction in delay is substantial... in my mind, it's worth upgrading! –  Mikey Feb 5 '12 at 10:18
    
"general cpu operations" is specific! it is meant to eliminate things like multimedia operations from the answer - I know cpus have built in enhancements for multimedia operations but I'm interested in cpu performance on speed emulator will run on it, and such things that rely on the general operations of a cpu... same too with "much faster".. that is more specific than just "faster". I wrote it on purpose that way... –  Mikey Feb 5 '12 at 10:20
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answers are really great and really high quality here... thanks –  Mikey Feb 5 '12 at 10:21
    
It's good that you find the answers of high quality, but I'd suggest you to check out the FAQ about what kind of questions this site encourages. They should be based on a practical problem and specific enough to be answerable, which – given the current answer – seems not possible. "substantial" and "much faster" is still very subjective, also calculating in price issues, compatibility, etc. –  slhck Feb 5 '12 at 11:05
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4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

There's no way to answer your question as asked because there are many CPUs that could be described as "a Core 2 duo at 2.4GHz" or "a Core i7 at 2.2GHz". However, you can compare CPU single core speeds, at least approximately, by taking the PassMark CPU rating of each CPU and dividing by the number of cores.

The PassMark CPU rating is a pure CPU performance rating and scales almost perfectly with more cores, so dividing the rating by the number of cores gives you a good measure of the per-core performance. Note that this won't work for hyper-threaded CPUs.

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ok ,will try... this really works? just divide by # of cores? –  Mikey Feb 5 '12 at 9:57
    
And based on your answer, say a Core i7 920 (2.6ghz) is roughly 86% faster than a Core 2 Duo Q6600 running at 2.2ghz. Not a perfect comparison, but it gives an idea.And the i7 920 is the previous generation, the difference with the new sandy bridge would likely be greater. –  mtone Feb 5 '12 at 10:00
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There is more to speed than meets the eye.

It has more cache, different architecture, etc etc etc. On top of that, the latency to the memory controller is lower, which is HUGE and will play one of the biggest roles in the speed of applications for the next 10 years. Memory capacities have grown very fast, and have become a bigger and bigger factor.

The chipset is also another factor. But all that is just fluff. The benchmarks are the only thing that matters and the benchmarks are clear in this case. It tells you exactly how much faster.

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sounds like it definitely will be faster then and worth upgrading... –  Mikey Feb 5 '12 at 9:59
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Another comparison site is this: Hardware Canucks.

I checked the WinRar compression test and a Core 2 Duo E6600 running at 2.4 does it in 5:47, and a i7 920 running at 2.6 does it in 3:04.

Your milage may vary, but yeah overall you can expect faster speeds.

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As mentioned in the other answers this is difficult to quantify as there have been multiple versions of each architecture.

Nahalem, the first iteration of i7, when compared to a Penryn version of the Core 2 claimed to have:

10-25% more single-threaded performance / 20-100% more multithreaded performance at the same power level

According to that Wikipedia page at least.

Sandy Bridge is again faster than Nahalem generation processors, clock-for-clock (again Wikipedia):

The average performance increase, according to IXBT Labs and Semi Accurate as well as many other benchmarking sites, at clock to clock is 11.3% Average compared to the Nehalem Generation,

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