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Microphone Month 5

Dual Core Processor

The installation of two computer CPU execution cores on a single physical processor. A dual-core CPU combines two independent processors along with their respective caches and cache controllers onto a single chip. The advantages of this approach are many: reduced power consumption (than equivalent multi-processor systems), less space consumed on the PCB, reduced heat, and most importantly, the threaded parallelism – the capability of the CPU to carry out two independent instructions per cycle rather than one. In fact, when technology such as Intel’s Hyperthreading is applied, a dual-core CPU can actually load four instructions into its registers. A side benefit for manufacturers is the death of the “gigahertz mania” that CPU chips have followed for several years. The emphasis is on multithreading capacity rather than clock speed.

Dual-core CPUs require support from both the operating system and the individual application to provide any visible benefits. At this writing, both AMD and Intel have commercially available dual-core processors.

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