Dual Core vs. Single Core on PHONES for the billionth time. Let's get it right.


For people with 1st hand experience or knowledge on ICS

  1. Dual core will be significantly faster for OP's uses

    3 vote(s)
    42.9%
  2. Dual core is noticeable, but not significantly faster for OP's uses

    3 vote(s)
    42.9%
  3. Barely noticeable...

    1 vote(s)
    14.3%
  4. Not noticeable...

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. damian5000

    damian5000 Well-Known Member

    It's time for an upgrade. I've googled it to death, but there is conflicting info and most of it is OLD (eg, before ICS came out) ...

    1) I don't care much about single app performance other than rendering of web pages... so first point, if given 2 equally modern CPU's with similar architecture, how much quicker and smoother will web pages be rendered and scroll and magnify with the dual core as opposed to single...assuming not much else is going on in the background.

    2) I will occasionally multitask... How much will I gain by having dual core...I'm talking about surfing the net and instant messaging with IMO.IM while listening to internet based radio (eg 8track) and SWITCHING back and forth between them. How much smoother will the performance be?

    really, i'm quite surprised there's no modern info on this other than opinions... i'm not looking for comparisons of single core cpus from 2 years ago to the dual cores of today...

    Anyone? With links to hard data or comparisons if possible? I can't find crap other than stuff from 2011 saying it will be great when ICS comes out...or people saying they're waiting for dual core optimized apps...which i really don't care about....just web rendering and multi-tasking as mentioned above...

    thanks! :)

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  2. Rush

    Rush {<>}~{<>} Guide

    Most likely the rendering of a webpage won't see much of a obvious difference. The speed and transition mostly rely on the kernel. For instance: 1ghz vs 1.2 or 1.5ghz and so forth. Having a dual core processor does help in doing certain things.

    It might not be as smooth and fast as using a dual core processor, but nonetheless will it be an obvious lag. I've used both single and dual core processors, and frankly...sometimes depending on the device or the application being used - you hardly could tell a difference. I remember not so long ago, devices only have single core processor, and people never had much problems using it... in fact, the 1ghz kernel was all the speed we need back then.

    I'm sure many more experience users will chime in to give their opinions on the topic.
  3. Crashdamage

    Crashdamage Well-Known Member

    Impossible to quantify differences in the terms you want to - way too many variables.

    Simply put, given a choice between single and dual core phones you want to go dual core almost every time. The only exception might be if a dual core unit had minimal RAM (a good single core with lotsa RAM *could* outperform a dual core with less RAM) or insufficient storage space for your needs.
  4. sleedeane

    sleedeane Well-Known Member

    All I know is this phone (S2) is way faster and smoother at pretty much everything compared to anything I've used before (8 other Androids).
    I don't know if its because this one is dual core or if it's because it's at least .5ghz (1.5) faster than the others.
  5. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor Guide

    Ok from a standpoint of someone who uses a dual core (Galaxy Tab 7 Plus - same chipset as Galaxy SII) and a single core (Galaxy SL) at the same time:

    The way my devices are setup, both devices appear to be equally smooth and can do a lot of the same tasks no problem each. There is a noticeable speed difference in loading apps but apart from that speed difference, they both perform well. The Tab does have more compatible games than the SL, and that some of the more processor intensive games like Running Fred lag like hell on the phone but run smoothly on the Tab. Basically, the difference comes in processor an GPU intensive apps in terms of user experience.

    In the more "hidden" type of difference, the Tab appears to have better battery life. Consider that the tab has a screen more than twice that of the phone (both are using LCD), a more powerful processor, and a little over than twice the battery size (phone has 1650mah, tab has 4000mah), one would expect that they would have similar battery life (2x screen size, 2x cores, more powerful GPU, battery difference). But they don't. In theory a dual core processor can save more battery than a single core processor since it finishes tasks faster. Both are setup to have the same push notifications and whatnot. Basically the Tab is like a clone of my phone (both are 3G devices with unlimited data). Leaving both at night and with no calls, the phone still drains way faster in terms of percentage.

    As for the OP's actual needs:

    Depends on the website whether it will load faster or not. A mobile site will load at the same time, since a dual core will only use the second core if needed. If its not needed it will run single core. A website with lots of Java or Flash will load faster probably on the dual core, but I'd think the speed difference will rely more on the network speed than the phone itself.

    As for multitasking, you will be able to multitask more smoothly on a dual core. You are limited by two things in multi-tasking: cores and RAM. More RAM allows you more apps in cache, more cores and processing speed allows you to throw more resources at an app to keep it running smoothly. For example, on two theoretical devices with the same amount of RAM and clock speed (with the difference one is dual core). Lets say both devices can hold 4 apps simultaneously on its RAM. The single core device would have to divide its CPU cycles in a single core to the 5 apps, basically each app will be running with 24%CPU power behind it. On a dual core device, each app can have as much as 50% CPU power behind it, or half of each core for the four apps.

    Basically, RAM will dictate how many apps you can have running in the background, but the cores and clockspeed will determine how smooth they'd be running.


    DISCLAIMER: All examples given are overly simplified. There are more factors than just cores. Take for instance how the dual core Snapdragon S4 has the same performance as the quad core Exynos 4412 despite having only half the cores.
  6. itsallgood

    itsallgood Well-Known Member

    Dual core is the way to go for your needs. Most have 1GB of Ram and running 1 Ghz or fast processors, which is much better for multitasking. ( You can easily have 20+ apps running in the background at one time.) I stream music, surf the net, check emails, use my exercise app, etc. all at one time and things are pretty fast. Some apps will slow down or hang for a few seconds. (Not sure if its the phone or a weak data connection.) I have seen some single core phones only being a second or two slower to a dual core phone when opening up the same app at the same time. You can't go wrong with today's dual core phones. I would never go back to a single core processor or less then 1 GB of RAM.
  7. Mayhem

    Mayhem Well-Known Member Contributor

    If rendering speed is what you're after, I read that the new version of Dolphin (still in Beta but available from Play) is supposed to be 5-10x faster than the default browser and 100% faster than Chrome.

    This is all HTML5 tho.
    itsallgood likes this.
  8. damian5000

    damian5000 Well-Known Member

    okay..i appreciate all the replies.. really wish i had two 1ghz phones with the same CPU, except one is dual and the other not, so i could feel the actual difference...

    the reasoning for my thread is the phones i'm looking at are the Zopo zp100 or Lenovo a789. The Zopo is 1ghz single, but has Sharp ASV 960x540 4.3" and a Sony camera...the lenovo is standard 4" TFT-LCD 800x480 and standard smartphone camera, but has dual core... so I'm torn between the sharper slicker LCD and nice camera vs having the dual core.. or waiting several months for the next generation of Zopo's.
  9. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor Guide

    I'd personally take the Lenovo because I know the brand better and there is better aftermarket support AFAIK.
  10. IslandGuy

    IslandGuy New Member

    I realize this is an older post, but if anyone is wondering about the answer to these questions as it would apply to HTC THunderbolt with ICS (yes, ICS finally came to us Bolt Heads), I can tell you my opinion.

    I installed ICS on my Bolt (2/2013) and think ICS is wonderful upgrade from our original software. HOWEVER, the lag time between apps and when loading anything or switching form one app to another or from email to messages or to open and surf web... OMG, the lag time is awfully slooooooowwwwwwwwwww, as in sometimes four to seven seconds just to get a new app opened or to switch from one to the other.

    For comparison purposes, I went to a Verizon store and played with the Razr Maxx HD *(dual core, with more 250 more RAM and .5 more processor, but again dual core processor). Side by side, doing exactly the same actions (with same apps, etc)... the Razr Maxx had essentially zero (as in maybe microsecond delay) switching between apps and operations. It was embarrassingly obvious that the long awaited ICS for Thunderbolt was simply not a good idea. I walked out of the store knowing that my phone is the equivalent of an old 486 PC. It is just not the right phone set up (single core without enough RAM and not enough processing speed) to handle today's operating systems.

    The Bolt was an awesome phone and if I could go back to the old software, I would. However, that is like saying i would rather use my 10 year old laptop for gaming than the brand spanking new one with all the "stuff" optimized for today's software and games.

    Simply stated, there is no comparison of single core vs. dual core, particularly in light of the fact that *most* dual core phones are new enough that they also have critical other upgrades (processor and RAM).

    So, for anyone wondering if it is worth upgrading your Bolt (or other single core) type phone to a dual core phone, to enjoy/take advantage of ICS or JB... the answer is yes, yes, yes. This is ESPECIALLY so when looking at the fact that as of March 12 you can get the Razr HD for a PENNY or the Razr MAXX HD for a hundred bucks through Amazon!

    Just a reminder: Droids Rule, iPhones Drool.

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