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Definition: dual core

A CPU chip that contains two distinct processing units that work in parallel. IBM introduced dual core Power 4 CPUs in 2000, followed by Sun and HP in 2004 and x86-based Pentiums in 2005. A year later, Intel added dual cores to its Itanium line. In the late 2000s, CPUs with two or more cores gained momentum not only in servers, but in desktop and laptop computers as well. Today, CPUs commonly have multiple cores. See Itanium.

Increased Performance - Similar Power Consumption
Because the continual increase in single core clock speeds used more power and generated excessive heat, dual cores were developed to expand performance without more heat. Dual core systems may use the same or a bit more energy but achieve approximately an 80% increase in processing power over single core CPUs.

For Everybody
Everyday tasks can take advantage of two simultaneous processing streams. For example, routine email downloads, software updates, virus scans and backups may have less impact on the primary task. See multicore, triple core, quad core, dual processor, Pentium D, Pentium Processor Extreme Edition, Core 2 and core.

Dual Core vs. Single Core
No matter the mode of operation, dual-core chips double the processing power of any computer. See Hyper-Threading.