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Part 2: How Many CPU Cores Do You Need?


Now that we've seen the evidence, our overall conclusion remains consistent with the previous one: we still don't think you need to be a power user to enjoy the benefits of a multi-core CPU. Call us spoiled, but we wouldn't seriously consider living with a single-core CPU on a day-to-day basis given the amount of multitasking going on regularly. The benchmark results clearly show that increasing numbers of CPU cores perform better when multiple applications are run at the same time.

We must point out that CPUs with fewer physical cores are often clocked somewhat higher to help make up for the performance deficit, so the situation certainly isn't dire for those of you who chose dual-core CPUs.

In the final analysis, we'd recommend at least a dual-core CPU to most folks out there. As for the power-user, three or four CPU cores will likely be appreciated and can't be considered overkill if concurrent applications are running.