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If you have to choose (everything else being equal) between one processor with four cores, and two processors with dual core, what are the points in favour of each solution?

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Please note. This question could be considered subjective. Please keep it civil. Also since it is asking for opinions, and there is no single correct answer I have switched this to wiki. –  Diago Nov 12 '09 at 5:49
    
well, I do think there is a correct answer: the one that tells me the advantages and disadvantages of each solution clearly and extensively to make a proper choice. Anyway, no problem. –  Stefano Borini Nov 12 '09 at 6:06
    
Anyway a Quad-Core CPU is actually a Dual Dual-Core in 1 single package. –  Snark Nov 12 '09 at 6:48
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Why not Dual Quadcore ;) –  Nick Josevski Nov 12 '09 at 6:53
    
@Nick: if you hand in the money, why not ? –  Stefano Borini Nov 15 '09 at 7:19
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3 Answers 3

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Physically speaking, the latency between two separate processors separated by centimeters is a knock on multi-CPU configurations in itself. However, these configurations typically have independent cache, which is different than single-die / dual-die multicore system. These shared-cache architectures gain considerable performance increases when the right application is running (e.g. one with few-to-no cache misses, using all the cores), but the cores are still vying for a shared resource which can cause the opposite to happen - terrible cache misses that kill performance.

Unfortunately every board and architecture is different. Your question can be answered or at least guessed at for a given application. As it stands, though, the jury is out when it comes to raw performance.

Cost, however, is another matter. I think it's obvious given the proliferation of multi-core systems that cost is in the quad-core's favour.

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One major benefit to a single quad core would be power and heat/cooling savings overall.

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I personally would like 1 quadcore, and my reasoning is so that 1 processor can manage the data and work directly with the ram instead of having 2 processors compete for data management. I am sure there are other explanations.

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Fair comment, however keep in mind that dual processor motherboards are rigged differently from single core processors, therefore there isn't much competition between processors. The same rule applies scaling up. –  Diago Nov 12 '09 at 5:50
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