Dual-Core vs Quad-Core CPU: What is the Difference?

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So you are planning to buy a new CPU. But you cannot decide between dual-core and quad-core. Well, you are not the only one experiencing this dilemma.

To get the best processor for your computer you need to first know the difference between the two. Both quad-core and dual core processors are very popular in the market. But you need to choose a processor based on your requirement.

In this guide, we will explain the difference between dual core and quad core processors in detail. This should help you make the right choice for yourself.

What is a dual core processor?

To put it in simple words, a dual core processor has only 2 cores. It is a multi-core processor with both the cores interlinked to each other.

The specialty of dual core processors is that they have two cores placed separately on a silicon chip. This enables the processor to handle two software simultaneously.

It is any day better to have a dual core CPU than a single core unit. That’s because it has two separate units that are designed to function simultaneously. This enables a dual core processor to handle multiple tasks at the same time.

Another great thing about dual core processors is that they have limited heat output. This allows for better cooling. Buying a dual core processor would be the best choice for buyers on a limited budget.


  • Perfect for basic tasks
  • Budget-friendly
  • Limited heat output
  • Better floating-point output
  • Consumes less power


  • Not a workstation CPU
  • Not suitable for audio engineers
  • Cannot run all games
  • Not good for incessant multitasking

What is a quad core processor?

A quad core processor has 4 cores and all of them are interlinked to one another via FSB. Instead of two cores, a quad core processor has four cores placed upon a single silicon chip, separately.

Quad core CPUs were launched in the market after the great success of the dual core processors. The advantage of this type of processors is that they can handle 4 software simultaneously. This makes them ideal for multi-tasking.

However, quad core processors are expensive. If you can expand your budget, then opting for a four core processor would be the best choice for you.

Quad core processors are fast and more powerful than their predecessors. It is designed for improved multitasking performance that was lacking in dual core processors. 

You can use a quad core CPU for intensive tasks on your PC. But it should be reminded that these CPUs have a much higher heat output compared to dual-core processors. This is why you need to have a proper cooling system for your PC, otherwise it may lead to overheating issues.


  • Great for multitasking
  • Powerful performance
  • Delivers high productivity
  • Can handle almost every game and demanding software
  • Provides decent backup


  • AMD processors may have heating issues
  • High power consumption 
  • Very pricey

Difference between Dual-Core & Quad-Core Processors

Now that you know what a dual core processor and quad processor are let’s look into the difference between the two. We will be differentiating between the two processors based on certain important factors.

  • Cores

The first difference you will find in a dual core and a quad core processor is the number of cores. As mentioned above, a dual core CPU comes with two cores, while a quad core CPU has four cores.

Since quad core processors have two extra cores it makes them more powerful than dual core processors. 

If you need a processor for basic computing tasks, then a dual core CPU will do fine for you. But if you want a high-end and high-performing processor for multitasking, then you should go for a quad core processor. These processors are designed to handle almost any software or game that you want to run.

  • Processing speed

The next important factor is the processing speed of the CPU. This is a very crucial thing that you must consider when buying a processor for your computer.

Just so you know the average clock speed of a dual core and a quad core processor is almost the same. But having more cores has advantages of its own. A quad core processor can divide the workload among the 4 cores which makes it faster than its counterpart. In other words, the performing speed of a quad core CPU is faster than a dual core CPU.

  • Heat output

When you run a processor, it generates heat. But the amount of heat output varies based on the number of cores and the clock speed of the processors. 

Even though the clock of both the processors is almost the same, a quad core processor generates more heat. This is because it has two extra cores. So running a quad core CPU for long hours will generate a lot of heat. But as far as dual core processors are concerned, they have very minimal heat output.

If you are using a quad core processor you must have a proper cooling system for your computer. Or else, it can lead to overheating issues, especially when you run your PC for longer hours.

  • Multitasking ability

When it comes to multitasking, quad core processors are much better than dual core units. This is all because of the two extra cores that a quad core unit has.

Having more cores enables the CPU to deliver high performance. Not just that, but it also helps the processor to control more numbers of software simultaneously. 

A quad core processor can easily control up to 4 software. But a dual core processor can only handle 2 software with ease. If you need high computing power or want to run high-end games and applications, then you must opt for a quad core processor.

  • Power consumption

This is yet another factor that will help you decide which processor is good for you. Since a dual core processor has just two cores, it consumes very little power. This makes them highly energy-efficient. 

On the other hand, quad core processors need more energy to operate the four cores. The more cores a processor has, the more power it will consume.

  • Price

There is a huge difference between the price of a dual core and a quad core processor. 

A dual core CPU is much more affordable than a quad core unit. If you are on a budget, then a dual core unit would be the best choice for you.


Why is a quad core processor more powerful?

A quad core processor is more powerful because it has four cores. It enables the processor to give high performance and handle multitasking with ease.

What is a dual core processor good for?

A dual core processor is good enough for basic computing tasks. Only when you are rendering 3D stuff, editing videos, designing engineering stuff you may need a quad core processor.

Final Words

Both dual core and quad core processors are good enough to get your job done. To get the most out of your processor you should choose the one that best suits your requirement. If you want a processor for performing basic tasks, then a dual core processor is great. But for handling high-end applications and multitasking you need a quad core unit.