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I wanted to ask the knowledgeable folks here their opinion. How many cores and how much memory does the average user need? Marketing hype makes you think you can't function ...
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  1. #1
    Linux Engineer MASONTX's Avatar
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    No problem, just a bull session about computers


    I wanted to ask the knowledgeable folks here their opinion. How many cores and how much memory does the average user need? Marketing hype makes you think you can't function if you don't have a multitude of cores and as much ram as the mother board will handle. For the average user who does light gaming, net surfing, crops and touches up pictures of the kids, chats, writes documents, etc. what is really needed?
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  2. #2
    Linux Engineer MASONTX's Avatar
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    To start the bull session, let me express my opinion. I have systems that have 1, 2, 4, and 6 cores, with the processors obviously operating at different speeds. While 6 cores works faster and better than 1 core, I cant say I notice a lot of difference between the 4 and 6 core machine. I tend to have 3 or 4 desktops going at any one time, one with the forum and email on it with 8 windows open, one desktop with the games I frequently play, one desktop with any documents or other work I may be doing, and one with either reference material or google on it. For my usage, the amount of ram and my ISP affect my work flow more than how many cores, once you get past 1.
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  3. #3
    oz
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    If you implement a light duty job on a single-core box and on a six-core box, I don't think you'll notice the difference in performance quite like you would if you were to put each of those machines under a really heavy load. That said, I think the number of cores one really needs would depend on his/her computer usage and habits. The same applies to RAM needs.

    I feel pretty sure that many computer users these days have far more powerful computers than what they need for the jobs they use them for. On the other hand, there are probably others that can't afford a system powerful enough for their special needs.
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    Linux Enthusiast gruven's Avatar
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    I do a lot of things at once on my 8 core desktop, and that includes virtual machines. Do I need that many cores? No. I use them since I have them though. It saves me from running multiple PC's in my house.

  6. #5
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
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    I wouldn't consider a single core if I was buying some kit now. I do have one and frankly for all but the lightest tasks it is painful.

    My main desktop is a quad core with 16GB RAM and my laptop a dual core with 6GB RAM. Would I like 6 or 8 cores? Yep. Do I need them? Nope. I happily run a couple of virtual machines on the desktop while running a compile and using the Internet at the same time.
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  7. #6
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    Well, My itty bitty netbooks pretty much cover every thing in your OP. I guess it depends on how large your wallet is and how important computing is to you. Me. Bikes are more important. I have a dual core amd older Acer Aspire One I hardly boot up (I save the Windows 7 for tuning Bikes with it) with a 15" screen because my netbooks are light and have me covered.

    Other wise. I just prefer Desktops. My dual core Desktops and Single Core Desktops handle everything in Linux just fine.

    But I am a cheap skate and my last couple of Desktops came out of the dumpster or was given back to me from a elderly person I gave it to who got out of using computers. Those are single core 32 bit Desktops. One is even a media center in the shop. The other is just a test box for distro hopping.

  8. #7
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    My desktop is running CentOS 6 x86_64 with KVM VMs. Has 16G RAM, and 6 core AMD Phenom II 1090T.
    6 cores aren't usually being used unless I'm running the VMs, in which case they come in very handy. You can even pin VMs to a certain core or cores if you choose.

    I build that computer almost 2 years ago, and I don't think I'll need to build another for at least 4 more if ever (breakage not withstanding).

    For consumer level gear, a 4 core with 8G RAM is enough. The thing is (at least for laptops) if you catch them onsale, Intel i5's with 6-8G RAM are only running $450-$550 with integrated gfx, which is about $100 more than a dual core pentium with 2G RAM, so I couldn't recommend something cheaper just based on the Power/$. I also think systems should last 3-4 years when purchased, at a minimum.

    My next desktop/laptop purchase will be an AMD APU fusion processor. I just wish more OEMs carried them, because they are sweet.

  9. #8
    Administrator MikeTbob's Avatar
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    For me, it's more about RAM and video RAM. I can coax a lot of work from an ancient machine with only one core, if I have enough RAM and a half decent video card with 512MB RAM.
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  10. #9
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    the thing i miss the most on all of my home computers is CPU virtualization extensions (svm/vmx). The processors (single and dual core) are all fast enough for routine stuff, but running VMs on any of them is a nightmare. I definitely like having >= 1GB ram (and >= 2GB for the heavy use machines), too, but that doesn't always happen. Old hdds (4200RPM, etc.) on the older laptops are painful, too.

    i've never bought a "new" desktop PC, i've always built them from bottom dollar buys at the local tech shop or cast away body parts from the PC graveyard, and as a result, I'm never really had a rig worth pimping. maybe one day...

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