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Who Says You Need Four Cores? : Confessions Of A Guilty Editor

Chris Angelini Writes:

"I have a confession to make. Although I work in a lab filled with the latest hardware, my workstation still consists of a 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 processor. Sure, it features Hyper-Threading, but the chip is six years old. Why am I still using it? Because it runs on a platform that has given me nary a problem. It's stable, fast enough in Vista to drive four monitors with 15 different windows open at any given time, and remarkably quiet in its little Shuttle box.

But everyone has their limits, and after six years, it's definitely time to move on. As I considered the pieces for my next PC, I first contemplated an affordable quad-core box based on Intel's Q9300 or AMD's Phenom X4 9850 BE. No-I'd rather see how low I could go on the system's thermal footprint while still achieving reasonable performance.

And then it hit me. Do I really need a quad-core processor? Is the software I run really benefiting from the extra complexity? Could I not get more horsepower from dual-core chip? After all, it'd still be a tremendous upgrade from that 2.8 GHz Pentium 4."

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