Digital Communication


Digital Communication

CPU: what is a microprocessor?


Is the number of cores more important than the clock frequency for the performance of a processor? Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to this question. It depends on the use case, as well as the processor itself.

Modern processors are often more efficient in processing instructions. Even a processor with a low clock frequency can provide the same performance as an older processor with a higher clock frequency. In addition, modern processors often offer the possibility of multithreading or hyperthreading, which makes it possible to execute several operations in parallel on a single core.

If you want to use programs on your computer that use multiple cores and parallelization, then it makes sense to use a processor with a high number of cores in order to distribute the CPU load as well as possible. For instance, virtual machines and rendering (photorealistic rendering from 3D images) require a very powerful processor, which will distribute the consequent workload required.

For more standard use with programs that don’t handle the workload as well, e.g. video gamesprefer a higher clock frequency.

Today, modern processors often already have a intelligent workload distribution on processor cores: Tasks are efficiently distributed across multiple cores and all available cores are used. The different cores then operate at a lower clock frequency. If the use of several cores is not necessary, then the clock frequency of the cores used will be increased.

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