What is a quad processor?

Hi Everyone;

          I saw a nice Intel computer with a quad processor which brings me to the purpose of this question.  Exactly, what is a quad processor?

          Any shared thoughts to this question will be appreciated.  I look forward to reading all responses to this one.

          Thank you

          George
GMartinAsked:
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Mal OsborneAlpha GeekCommented:
Quad in this context means 4 seperate CPUs in a single package. Sometimes 4 CPUs on one bit of silicon, sometimes 4 seperate bits of silicon, somtimes a pair of chips, each with 2 CPUs.   Assuming your Operating system can handle it, each one can be running a differant task.
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cmcawoodCommented:
Malmensa is correct, but to continue answering your question, the need for Quad will depend on what you are doing with your PC.  For example, most games don't take advantage of Quad cores as of yet.  Some advanced CAD and other programs are coded for this and existing apps like Microsoft SQL (Databases) can take advantage of it.
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GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hi Everyone;

       Thanks so much for the followups.  After reviewing the information presented, I do have two followup questions to this thread.  First, what is the typical or normal speed for a quad chip?  And, secondly, is it accurate to say that most programs can not harness the true speed of quad chips?

         George
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nobusCommented:
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Mal OsborneAlpha GeekCommented:
Depends.

Typically servers can make good use of quad cores, because they have a lot of seperate tasks running. A Web server may for instance be processing requests from several dozen users at once.  A Terminal server may have 15 users all wanting some CPU time.

Most games & desktop applications can only make use of a single CPU.  A duel CPU in a desktop is useful, as it means you almost always have a CPU ready to respond to user requests.  If you are running a game, and recieve email for instance, a single CPU machine will drop the fram rate foor a while, but a duel will usually just keep going lke nothing is happening.

Typically Quad core CPUs at the same price run a bit slower, as well as using more power & running hotter.

IMHO duel is often best for desktops, quad for servers.  

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GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hi Everyone;

          Thanks so much for the replies to this interesting thread.  Using everyone's feedback to this question, I certainly have a better understanding of the function and application of quad processors.

          George
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