Processors

‡ In computing, a processor is the unit that reads and executes program instructions, which are fixed-length (typically 32 or 64 bit) or variablelength chunks of data. ‡ The data in the instruction tells the processor what to do. ‡ The instructions are very basic things like reading data from memory or sending data to the user display, but they are processed so rapidly that we experience the results as the smooth operation of a program.

‡ Processors were originally developed with only one core. ‡ The core is the part of the processor that actually performs the reading and executing of instructions.

Single Core vs Dual Core

‡ A multi-core processor is a single component with two or more independent actual processors (called "cores"). ‡ Manufacturers typically integrate the cores onto a single integrated circuit die (known as a chip multiprocessor or CMP), or onto multiple dies in a single chip package. ‡ A die in the context of integrated circuits is a small block of semiconducting material, on which a given functional circuit is fabricated. ‡ A chip carrier, also known as a chip container or chip package, is a container for a transistor or an integrated circuit.

A VLSI integrated-circuit die

A Cell processor die

‡ A dual-core processor has two cores (e.g. AMD Phenom II X2, Intel Core Duo), ‡ a quad-core processor contains four cores (e.g. AMD Phenom II X4, the Intel 2010 core line that includes 3 levels of quad core processors), and ‡ a hexa-core processor contains six cores (e.g. AMD Phenom II X6, Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition 980X).

Diagram of a generic dual-core processor, with CPUlocal level 1 caches, and a shared, on-die level 2 cache.

‡ Dual-core refers to a CPU that includes two complete execution cores per physical processor. ‡ It has combined two processors and their caches and cache controllers onto a single integrated circuit (silicon chip). ‡ Dual-core processors are well-suited for multitasking environments because there are two complete execution cores instead of one, each with an independent interface to the frontside bus. ‡ Since each core has its own cache, the operating system has sufficient resources to handle most compute intensive tasks in parallel.

‡ Multi-core is similar to dual-core in that it is an expansion to the dual-core technology which allows for more than two separate processors.

‡ Frontside bus: Another name for the system bus. ‡ The bus that connects the CPU to main memory on the motherboard. ‡ A microprocessor bus that connects the CPU to a Level 2 cache. Typically, a backside bus runs at a faster clock speed than the frontside bus that connects the CPU to main memory. ‡ For example, the Pentium Pro microprocessor actually consists of two chips -- one contains the CPU and the primary cache, and the second contains the secondary cache. ‡ A backside bus connects the two chips at the same clock rate as the CPU itself (at least 200 MHz). ‡ In contrast, the frontside bus runs at only a fraction of the CPU clock speed.

‡ Short for Level 1 cache, a memory cache built into the microprocessor. ‡ Level 1 or primary cache is the fastest memory on the PC. It is in fact, built directly into the processor itself. This cache is very small, generally from 8 KB to 64 KB, but it is extremely fast; it runs at the same speed as the processor. If the processor requests information and can find it in the level 1 cache, that is the best case, because the information is there immediately and the system does not have to wait.

‡ Short for Level 2 cache, cache memory that is external to the microprocessor. In general, L2 cache memory, also called the secondary cache, resides on a separate chip from the microprocessor chip. Although, more and more microprocessors are including L2 caches into their architectures.

L3 Cache
‡ Each core has its own L1 and L2 caches, but the cores share a common L3 cache. ‡ L3 keeps copies of requested items in case a different core makes a subsequent request.

Turbo Boost Technology
‡ When workload on the processor calls for faster performance, and the processor is below its limits, the processor's clock will increase the operating frequency in regular increments as required to meet demand. ‡ Frequency increases occur in increments of 133 MHz for Nehalem microarchitecture processors and 100 MHz for Sandy Bridge microarchitecture processors. ‡ When any of the electrical or thermal limits are reached, the operating frequency automatically decreases in decrements of 133 MHz/100 MHz until the processor is again operating within its design limits.

Hyper-Threading Technology
‡ Hyper-threading (officially Hyper-Threading Technology, and abbreviated HT Technology, HTT or HT) is Intel's term for its simultaneous multithreading implementation in its Atom, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, Itanium, Pentium 4 and Xeon CPUs. ‡ Hyper-threading is an Intel-proprietary technology used to improve parallelization of computations (doing multiple tasks at once) performed on PC microprocessors. ‡ Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology (Intel® HT Technology)¹ uses processor resources more efficiently, enabling multiple threads to run on each core.

‡ For each processor core that is physically present, the operating system addresses two virtual processors, and shares the workload between them when possible. ‡ Hyper-threading requires not only that the operating system support multiple processors, but also that it be specifically optimized for HTT.

‡ Hyper-Threading was first introduced in the Foster MP-based Xeon in 2002. ‡ It appeared on the 3.06 GHz Northwoodbased Pentium 4 in the same year, and then appeared in every Pentium 4 HT, Pentium 4 Extreme Edition and Pentium Extreme Edition processor.

The advantages of hyper-threading are listed as:
‡ allowing multiple threads to run simultaneously ‡ Enabling better graphics: With Intel HT Technology multimedia enthusiasts can create, edit, and encode graphically intensive files while running background applications such as virus protection software without compromising system performance. ‡ Improving business efficiency (productivity): by doing more simultaneously without slowing down ‡ Provide faster response times for Internet and ecommerce applications

‡ Processors with both Intel HT Technology and Intel® Turbo Boost Technology or Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 (available in 2nd generation Intel Core processor family) deliver better performance and can complete tasks quicker.

Intel® Smart Cache
‡ Intel® Smart Cache is shared cache dynamically allocated to each processor core, based on workload. ‡ This efficient, dual-core-optimized implementation increases the probability that each core can access data from the fast cache, significantly reducing latency to frequently used data and improving performance.

vs

Core 2 Dua vs Core i3
‡ Core 2 Duo and Core i3 are dual core processors and can run two processes at the same time. ‡ The main difference between these two is the number of threads. ‡ Two cores on Core 2 Duo are single threaded while Core i3 has a dual thread running capability on each core. ‡ Hence total number of threads that can run on Core 2 Duo is 2 and 4 threads in total can run on Core i3.

Core i3

Core i3
‡ Released in January 2010. ‡ All the core i3 processors have twin core with clocking frequency ranging from 2.933 GHz to 3.2 GHz. ‡ Intel Core i3 is a dual core processor. ‡ Core i3 can run total of 4 threads and 2 processes at a time. ‡ Intel Core i3 is necessary a next version of Core 2 Duo.

Core i3
‡ A 4MB L3 smart cache, 2 x 256 KB L2 cache and Direct Media Interface bus, fitted with the brand new LGA 1156 socket, makes them the best entry level processors. ‡ All these chips are built on a 32 nm architecture which ensures that more transistors can be etched on the silicon chips. ‡ An integrated GPU (Graphic Processing Unit) makes graphic processing even more faster. ‡ With Intel's hyper-threading and virtualization technology enabled, along with HD graphics, these chips are priced at $133 only. ‡ They also have an Integrated graphics processor. ‡ They also have Hyperthreading support.

LGA 1156 socket
‡ LGA 1156, also known as Socket H or H1, is an Intel desktop CPU socket. LGA stands for land grid array. ‡ LGA 1156, along with LGA 1366, was designed to replace LGA 775. LGA 1156 is very different from LGA 775. LGA 775 processors were connected to a northbridge using the Front Side Bus. With LGA 1156, the features that were traditionally on a northbridge are integrated onto the processor.

LGA 1156 socket

Core i5

Core i5
while Core i5 is a quad core processor. Core i5 can run 4 threads and 4 processes at a time. while Core i5 is the next version of Core 2 Quad. Intel Core i5 is a quad core processor that can run four processes at a time, while each process can run only one thread. ‡ So you can say that Core i5 has uni-threaded four cores ‡ Core i5 processors are quad-core processors, they all have Turbo Boost. ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡

Core i5
‡ The dualcore Intel Core i5 processors are similar to the Core i3s while the quadcore Core i5s are much closer to the Core i7 in terms of features. ‡ core i5 line consists of three separate series of processors with twin and quad cores. ‡ The twin, as well as quad cores come with 4 threads each.

Core i5
‡ With 4 MB to 8 MB L3 cache, direct media interface, integrated GPU, LGA 1156 socket, Intel HD graphics, Intel smart cache technology and Hyper-threading enabled, the cost of these processors ranges from $176 to $256. ‡ i5 chips are faster than the i3 chips. ‡ They form the mid level segment.

DualCore Core i5 Processors
‡ They have clock speeds ranging from 3.2 to 3.6 GHz. ‡ They have 2×256 KB L2 cache and 4 MB L3 cache. ‡ They support Turbo Boost (dynamic overclocking). ‡ They also have an Integrated graphics processor and also include Turbo Boost (dynamic overclocking). ‡ They also have Hyperthreading support.

QuadCore Core i5 Processors
‡ There are 2 processors with clock speeds of 2.4 and 2.66 GHz. ‡ They have 4×256 KB L2 cache and 8 MB L3 cache. ‡ They do support Turbo Boost (dynamic overclocking). ‡ However they don t support Hyperthreading and don t have a Integrated Graphics Processor.

Core i7

Core i7
‡ With the core i7 line, Intel has fulfilled its dream of creating the 'best processors on the planet'. ‡ core i7 is miles ahead of the rest of the pack ‡ While Intel Core i7 can run four processes and eight threads at the same time on its four cores. ‡ while Core i7 is a quad core processor with each core running hyper threading technology.

Core i7
‡ This line consists of quad core processors with clocking frequencies reaching 3.33 GHz powered by Intel Turboboost. ‡ As a quad core vs dual core comparison would prove, greater number of cores can immensely boost computing speeds. ‡ With L3 smart cache ranging from 8MB to as much as 12 MB, Intel QuickPath Interconnect technology (that can enhance data transfer speed to 25.6 GB/Sec), integrated GPU, Hyper-threading and Intel HD graphics, the core i7 series processors are indeed, unarguably, the best processors ever manufactured. ‡ They are meant for high end computing applications, web servers and high end business users. ‡ The price of these processors ranges from $200 to as much as $1000. ‡ However they don t have an Integrated Graphics Processor.

Intel Core i3 i5 i7 Performance

Intel Core i3 i5 i7 Performance
‡ Besides being multicore, what makes the i3, i5, i7 processors to be computing power houses, is the hyper-threading technology, combined with the Turboboost feature. ‡ An integrated GPU and an enhanced L3 cache makes graphic processing super fast. ‡ the core i5 line, that can handle multitasking even better than the i3 line. ‡ With hyper-threading enabled and Intel's range of innovative technologies fully operational, the core i5 line is ideal for the business user or home users, who are into intensive gaming.

Intel Core i3 i5 i7 Performance
‡ If you want to settle for nothing less than the very best in computing today, go for the high end core i7 line. ‡ As you must have realized while going through the core i3 i5 i7 comparison, the i7 line puts phenomenal computing power at your fingertips that was available once only to users of supercomputers! Budget wise, they may be the costliest out of the whole lot, but they offer true value for your money.

‡ADDITIONAL READING IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED

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