Definition

multi-core processor

A multi-core processor is an integrated circuit (IC) to which two or more processors have been attached for enhanced performance, reduced power consumption, and more efficient simultaneous processing of multiple tasks (see parallel processing). A dual core set-up is somewhat comparable to having multiple, separate processors installed in the same computer, but because the two processors are actually plugged into the same socket, the connection between them is faster. 

Ideally, a dual core processor is nearly twice as powerful as a single core processor. In practice, performance gains are said to be about fifty percent: a dual core processor is likely to be about one-and-a-half times as powerful as a single core processor.

Multi-core processing is a growing industry trend as single-core processors rapidly reach the physical limits of possible complexity and speed. Most current systems are multi-core. Systems with a large number of processor core -- tens or hundreds -- are sometimes referred to as many-core or massively multi-core systems.

Related glossary terms: TCO (total cost of ownership)
This was last updated in August 2013
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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