Mobile Gaming: Dual- Vs. Quad-Core Processors

When it comes to mobile processors, you have options – many options, in fact. If you're unfamiliar with your choices, or simply don't know what you need, it can be a bit overwhelming.

Further complicating the decision-making process is the fact that you can opt for both dual core and quad core processors. The assumption is that the quad core processor will always be the better bet, but that isn't necessarily the case. And this is because a dual core processor can be had with a faster “clocking” speed than a quad-core counterpart; additionally, many programs and applications aren't designed to make use of multiple cores, so that extra processing power isn't being put to use.

If you're in the market for a new smartphone or tablet and are seeking something that can support mobile gaming, this information should help you nail down a device that will meet your needs.

It's All in the Details – Choose a Processor Based on Your Needs

The old argument of dual core vs quad core is an old one (well, old-ish anyway). Which is better? Which is faster? Which is right for you? The fact of the matter is this: there really is no single application that is objectively “best,” as chipsets are all designed with different capabilities and purposes in mind. If you doubt that's true, look at Qualcomm's Snapdragon mobile processor series. The company offers dual core, quad core, and even octa core applications, and it doesn't promote one over the other. This is because for many individuals, a dual core processor is not only sufficiently powerful, it's ample.

Snapdragon processor

To determine what processor best suits your needs, you should look at basic criteria. These include processing speed, graphics processing capability, ability to multi-task, memory, and price. As alluded to earlier, in many cases, dual core processors can be had with faster “clock” speeds than quad core alternatives. Thus, though the quad core may be better at multi-tasking, the dual core is actually faster in everyday use. This isn't always the case, of course, but is generally true.

What are you looking to do with your device? If you are interested in a smartphone or tablet for mobile gaming, it might be best to go with a quad core processor. Many game applications are designed to make use of multiple cores, and a quad core can better help “future proof” your device as well. Android devices featuring the Snapdragon mobile processor are particularly well-suited to mobile gaming, as their GPUs are incredibly powerful. With a quad core processor, you can be assured that your game will look good and run smoothly.

modern warefare

If, on the other hand, you primarily use your mobile device for Internet browsing, texting and phone calls, photography, and occasional mobile app use, a dual core processor will likely provide for all of your needs. Remember to look at the processor's speed when making a decision, as in most cases, this is a better indicator of its performance potential than how many cores it has. Put simply, a 2.3GHz dual core will be faster than a 1.2GHz quad core for most tasks.

Yes, There Are Differences – But They're Not Black and White

As with most consumer products, the differences between any two smartphones or tablets is likely to be less dramatic than the makers of those respective products would like you to believe. Just as Car A may get slightly better gas mileage than Car B but have weaker performance, computers, smartphones, and tablets are no different. A tablet may excel in one area while underperforming in another. That being said, if you're a mobile gamer, the odds are good that you'll be better served by a quad core processor. As mobile games become increasingly complex, the multi-tasking and computing capabilities afforded by quad cores will become the industry standard. Don't run the risk of being left behind.