How-To Geek

Multi-core Processors

Multi-core processors are a recent innovation in computing. Historically, computers had a single core, or processing unit. All computations performed by the computer were directed through the single core in a linear fashion. The only way to increase the speed of the computer was to increase the power of the single processor–and this was precisely how desktop and server computing grew throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

In 2005 the first dual-core processor was introduced which featured two processors in one physical unit. By the next year a quad-core processor was released which featured four discrete processors on a physical chip. These multi-core processors offer a wide array of benefits over single core systems including parallel processing (for applications coded to take advantage of multi-core processors) and distribution of processing loads for both optimized and regular applications.

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