Chris Pirillo: Is Processor Speed More Important than CPU Cores?

Learn More About Speed vs CPU Cores

About Chris:

Chris Pirillo is the founder of the tech blogging network, Lockergnome and previously served as host of TechTV’s Call for Help show. Chris’s insightful and entertaining how to videos will now be featured in the PC Pitstop newsletters and highlighted at and

You can follow Chris on Twitter and subscribe to his Youtube video channel here

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11 thoughts on “Chris Pirillo: Is Processor Speed More Important than CPU Cores?

  1. Good point Keven, but the fact is that the only options available for 1156 socket are quad core (or dual core with hyperthreading which is basically a quad core anyway). You really don’t have an option for a single core or true dual core with socket 1156 and socket 1366.

    2 months ago, I’d have advised people to go with socket 775 unless they were doing things that would utilize a quad core, because the prices for the newer sockets (motherboards, CPUs, and DDR3 RAM) were ridiculous. Now that the prices are more in line with socket 775, it just makes sense to use the newer (and in this case) faster/better technology. However the speed increases alone still aren’t enough to justify an upgrade from a C2D (socket 775).

    With AMD, since true dual cores are still compatible AM3 motherboards, price and usage are still valid considerations. In this case I’d still recommend going with a dual core unless the user is using software the majority of the time that utilizes all cores. That’s a fairly small percentage of users at this point.

    I wouldn’t be telling anyone that they should use quad cores simply because its only a matter of time before more software utlizes all the cores. Reason being “matter of time” is correct, but is also well after the life span of any system they buy/build today. πŸ™‚

  2. my opinion is that they are just as important as each other. it all depends on what you use your computer for. personally i would not recommend a single core CPU to anyone. they are just so slow compared to even a lower end dual core CPU. my advice is to spend as much as you can afford on a good motherboard taking into consideration the CPU it takes and if you will be able to buy a new CPU in a years time. as an example lets take the intel platform. i would avoid the socket 775 boards and look at the socket 1156 as new CPU’S will be introduced on a more regular basis. there is very little difference in price between a lower spec I5 CPU and say for example an E8500. the I5 has lots of upgrades left but the E8500 has very little scope for a worthwile upgrade

  3. Have to say that I still don’t agree with Chris’s opinion. We’ve been hearing for years that software will be going “that way” (to utilize more cores) and its still the same story. Very few programs support more than a single core, and hardly any (other than encoding/decoding and a couple games) support quad core. Also if you multi-task a lot there is an advantage to quad cores (or more since 6 cores are already on the market). Otherwise, a good old Core 2 Duo CPU will still beat any quad core for most applications hands down. The average net surfer/email checker will not see any benefit, and can see slower speeds with a quad core (depending upon the GHz if you’re comparing AMD to AMD or Intel to Intel). That’s the only myth about clock speed, comparing apples to apples. πŸ™‚

  4. Excellent, a good Pirillo vid for once. Short and concise without all the waffle and a genuinely interesting query

  5. CPUZ is great, small and free and you can validate your CPU at their site. Everest or SIW are also great to use if you want extensive info on your PC.
    On the topic of more speed or more cores, I just found out myself that Acer PC’s and notebooks are almost imposible to upgrade, CPU wise. I tried to upgrade my Intel Dual Core E2140 CPU (1,6GHz), to an Intel Dual Core E6500 CPU (2,93GHz), both using the same socket (775). It dindn’t work, because my Acer Aspire M3610 Desktop PC was preconfigured for Vista HP and the motherboard (Acer) was preconfigured for existing hardware. I think this issue is the same for most preconfigured PC’s. So it seems wise to be well informed before buying any kind of hardware upgrade for a preconfigured PC.

  6. DL Smith, Google CPUZ, download it, install it. Its a very light program that’ll identify your motherboard, CPU, GPU, and RAM.

    Finding out what is compatible with what is a bit more involved. If you google specific motherboards, each manufacturer will state the chipset (compatible with various CPUs, and all hardware types that they support. However if you’re unable to find that out for yourself, there are plenty of forums with friendly and savvy users who will gladly let you know what you need. I don’t post my email in public places, otherwise I’d gladly go over your parts and what you’d need for upgrade compatibility. πŸ™‚

  7. There is a new and excellent product that will provide much information on what is inside a PC. Try Speccy from Piriform. The current version is Beta but thus far has worked as advertised. Get it at:

  8. Use CPU-Z.

    It’s a small utility (~3.5 Mb) that will tell you the make, model, speed, family, stepping, cache amt of your cpu, and also the ID of your motherboard and other good stuff.

    Available from Softpedia but other places as well. Google it.

  9. ok so this answered part of my question about speed. The other is what if I want to update my present computer, how on earth do you find out firstly what is in my computer i.e. type of mother board etc. And where can you find out if the parts you want to use are compatable with your present parts???

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