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Laptop Dual Core vs. Single Core: Which one is best?

written by: Bruce Tyson•edited by: M.S. Smith•updated: 4/16/2010

Laptop dual core vs. single core questions often arise when shopping for a new computer. Here are some considerations when comparing laptops equipped with either a Mobile Core 2 Duo or a Mobile Core 2 Solo CPU.

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    When considering laptop dual core vs single core, you should consider the kind of software you need to use, specifically whether or not it supports multithreading. Laptops built with Intel's Mobile Core 2 Duo CPUs have the power of two processors on one chip, allowing users to experience significant performance benefits when using multithreaded software applications. Laptop computers made with Mobile Core 2 Solo CPUs, on the other hand, have only one core available to run applications so the benefits of multithreading are not available. Laptops equipped with single core processors will run multithreaded software, but at speeds that may be noticeably slower than their counterparts equipped with dual core CPUs.

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    Power Consumption

    When considering a laptop dual core vs single core, the unit’s power consumption may come into play. Those who spend a good part of the day mobile need to make the most out of battery life. This is where a laptop equipped with a Mobile Core 2 Solo processor could give the user and advantage. In fact, Intel’s Mobile Core 2 Solo is a low power, low heat processor designed specifically for that purpose. Depending on which version of each CPU is being used, a Mobile Core 2 Solo CPU can reduce power requirements by 50% or more over a Mobile Core Duo. The Mobile Core 2 Duo processor is also optimized for power, but that extra core takes extra power, meaning that the laptop won't last as long when unplugged.

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    Price is another factor to consider when evaluating a laptop dual core vs single core for purchase. Laptops equipped with Mobile Core 2 Solo CPUs will generally be less expensive than those equipped with Mobile Core 2 Duo CPUs. Since the only difference between these two categories of laptops is the number of cores available to the system, both will feature the latest technologies and features. Users who are focused on word processing, email, and Internet probably don’t need the multithreading capabilities of the Mobile Core 2 Duo processors anyway, so taking advantage of cost savings with a Mobile Core 2 Solo processor makes sense.

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    Processor Speed

    The laptop dual core vs single core issue can have additional considerations when looking at models with different speeds. For example, a laptop that has a faster Mobile Core 2 Solo processor may be able to outperform a slower Mobile Core 2 Duo CPU at some tasks. Similarly, a slower Mobile Core 2 Duo based laptop may run CAD, video editing, 3D modeling and gaming applications faster than a laptop equipped with a faster Mobile Core 2 Solo processor. If you need to make this kind of comparison, check to see if performance benchmarks are available for each laptop model that can help you decide which one will be best for you.

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