Recently, i’ve bought a Macbook Pro 13′ with Retina Display. But before I bought it there was a question in my head, the question was, is quad-core the limit for laptops. i know its kind of loosely related to my recent purchase what with my macbook only having a 2.8ghz dual-core i7 but it got me thinking about the whole CPU debate, with it being ‘Core numbers or clock speed?’. In the current market, its worth just going dual-core with a higher clock speed as quad-core usually has lower clock speeds, plus, its said that software cannot properly make use of more than two cores of a processor where even if it does the performance increase is minimal.
Don’t even get me started on battery life, four idle cores is always going to gobble up the watts much more than two, and isn’t everyone raving about battery life at the moment, with portability becoming a more and more sought after advantage for today’s ‘take your work where ever you so please’ generation it comes across to me as if the emphasis is shifting from power to stamina as if we’ve achieved all we set out to do with portable pc cpu power. With the average consumer only really requiring the power of a single core if that to power their everyday tasks could this spell the end of the core revolution?
Now, there’s always the minorities, i myself am in the minority of power to portable laptops, I also own an 4.5kg 17′ Alienware monster (now you can probably guess why I got a mac, taking that thing to and from Uni may as well be me carrying an infant on my back) but the ONLY thing that really gets the fans going is Photoshop as it can use more cores as well as RAM and the late night gaming LAN parties with friends, and Photoshop runs on the mac just fine with 2 cpu cores so whats all this fuss about 4?!
in the future I have no doubt that desktop pc’s will still continue to grind out ridiculous cpu core counts, we’re already at 12 bearing in mind the only things needing that sort of power are servers and professionals using specialist heavy duty software, but for me, laptops have probably reached somewhat of a turning point, the answer to power is now a desktop pc, not that you’ll even need half of it unless you absolutely know you will, where software is still playing catch up, the emphasis is more on refinement now, intel’s Haswell CPU is all about efficiency and graphics, with extra power only thrown in thanks to some re-jigging of calculations and layout of transistors.
I can’t say for certain that I’ve properly answered the question, but its more of an ongoing discussion I have with various other techies that have a similar interest.