I’m in the IT field but not up to date on hardware. I haven’t bought a PC for a few years, when you just had to look at processor cycle speed (more or less; I know that one CPU’s GHz is not another CPU’s GHz). Now the big thing are the dual- and quad-core machines.
As an example, I am browsing Dell and here are the options they offer for processors on their XPS 420. The most expensive option by far is a 3.0 GHz option, and I can’t tell if it’s multi-core or single-core. They offer a 3.16 GHz option for $1,050 less, which I’m assuming is a dual core.
Do the speed ratings represent each core in a multi-core processor? That is, is a duo at a higher cycle rate less powerful than a quad at a lower cycle rate?
How well will my older applications take advantage of a multi-core configuration? Does Vista take care of this for me or do the applications have to be written for it to optimize performance?
And what the hell kind of configuration is that last one and why is it so expensive?