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What Exactly Is A Processor Core?

posted Jul 31, 2017, 11:56 AM by Rohit Bhaskar   [ updated Jul 10, 2018, 11:23 AM by Chirag Trasikar ]

Almost everyone has a mobile phone now-a-days. When you saw the specifications of your mobile before you bought it (which you hopefully did), you must have seen something like dual core, quad core or octa core under the processor section (I’m assuming yours isn’t a single core processor… again, hopefully). So have you ever wondered what it actually means? What exactly is a core?

To put it simply a core is the processing unit of a CPU which receives instructions and performs calculations, or actions, based on those instructions.

To put things into perspective, imagine the processor to be a river. A broad river. Now imagine that there are fishes swimming down stream. These fishes are ‘tasks’. Now imagine that if there is only 1 stream the fishes can be caught only 1 at a time, but what if we split the stream?? Then the work of catching them can be done in 2 places simultaneously. Thus doubling up the rate of catching fishes i.e  completing tasks. These streams are nothing but cores. The greater the  streams the river splits into the faster tasks can get done simultaneously. 

Hopefully this was easier to understand 😉
So, the more cores there are, the more tasks (known as threads, which will be explained in a later post) can be worked on at the same time. Thus the more the cores the faster the processor.… right..? Well…. That’s not completely true. The speed of a CPU depends on a lot of other things as well like the clock speed and cache, but all this for some other day!!

Hope you understood today’s post. If you want to know a bit more about it, read it here. Comment below if you need a particular topic covered!