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Can one somehow guess how for example Intel Core i5-3320M @ 2.60GHz (dual core) and Intel Core i7-3612QM @ 2.10GHz (quad core) would compare on basic single-threaded tasks? I know this is problematic, depends on the task, compiler, instructions used, task can be parallelized, hyperthreaded etc., but one needs to have at least some approximate idea how both would compare on "general" sigle-threaded tasks using "general" SW just by looking at the CPU specs.

My guess is that the CPU frequency is the key - i.e. the ratio of the CPU frequencies. I have tried a computation in R (a lot of GLM models, all using only 1 CPU) on Intel Core2 Duo T7250 @ 2.00GHz (28 seconds) and Intel Pentium CPU B970 @2.30 GHz (24 seconds). The results fit to my hypothesis: ratio of the time elapsed 28s/24s = 1.166, is approximately the same as reciprocal ratio of the frequencies 2.3/2 = 1.15.

Do you basicly agree or are there other things to consider? So, if my goal is fast solving single threaded tasks, I would prefer the 2.60GHz dual core over the 2.1 quad core, right?

PS: I have found benchmarks for the dual i5 (4078 pts) and the quad i7 (6901 pts), but this doesn't give me an idea how much pts were given for the additional # of cores and how much for the single-thread performance.

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They are the same generation so they would more or less have the same power. The i5 would actually be faster if the application was limited to just a single thread. Of course why are you doing single threaded operations in 2013? –  Ramhound Jul 18 '13 at 18:00
    
Thanks @Ramhound! "Why are you doing ST operations in 2013" R does, not me :) haha you are idealist :) the reality is somewhere else. Most things still go ST unless you want to spend 50% of your time just to make your scripts parallel :-) –  Tomas Jul 18 '13 at 18:22
    
@Tomas FWIW here is a graph of Cinebench single-thread results. It's synthetic, sure, but I know of no other single thread only benchmarks. anandtech.com/bench/CPU/38 –  Chris Stauffer Jul 18 '13 at 19:14
    
Thanks @Chris. So only the listed CPUs were tested? Unfortunatelly there are no results for any of the CPUs I mentioned... But thanks anyway! –  Tomas Jul 18 '13 at 19:18
    
possible duplicate of Processors cores over processor speed –  Mokubai Jul 19 '13 at 16:52
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http://www.cpubenchmark.net/singleThread.html

1.3 GHz Core i5 is much faster than 3.8 GHz Pentium 4.

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