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What is the point of cores?

What do cores do? What is the point of multiple amounts of them?
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  1. Best answer
    A core is like the engine of a car. It's responsible for the execution of instructions.

    The thing is that both Intel and AMD had reached a point where it was not possible to get more performance out of a single core, without putting in considerable effort. Clock speeds beyond 4GHz are not quite efficient in terms of power draw too. As a result, both companies decided to add more cores to improve performance, rather than ramping up clock speeds :)
    However to take advantage of multiple cores in a processor, software has to be multi-threaded and multi-core optimized.
  2. Best answer selected by Mundaneum.
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