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CPU Cores & Threads for Video Editing, Graphic Design, Photography

CPU Cores & Threads for Video Editing, Graphic Design, Photography

CPU Cores and threads- I'm gonna be explaining what they are and how they work inside of your computer. This article is specifically for video editors, designers, and photographers. What you need for your computer whether you're a video editor, graphic designer, photographer whatever it might be in the creative space.


What are cores?

Well, cores are basically CPUs on a CPU. So up until 2005 cores did not exist it was one processor with technically one core on it because it was computing the information. But they did not have multiple cores as we know it today. During that time manufacturers are trying to figure out how to get more performance out of their computers. So they thought first well Let's just add more CPUs to a motherboard but that was expensive and took up a lot of room. So they thought okay well Let's go into the CPU and add more cores. This will allow us to get more performance out of the computer which is when we first saw a dual-core processor. Now we also know that processors have a certain clock speed. This clock speed is what allows them to execute their tasks.

So they fetch information decode it and then execute a deliver information to different components inside of the computer to then tell them what to do. So the clock speed is the speed in which a processor can do that. Now if you have a singular core at 1.4 gigahertz then you have a 1.4 single-core gigahertz processor. As you add core to the processor you are going to have each core in that processor capable of reaching those speeds. So it's not that the entire processor overall has a course speed of 2.0 gigahertz is that each core in that processor can reach 2.0 gigahertz. 

Now as you are working Let's say in Photoshop. So you open up Photoshop and you begin to work. You are going to call upon one of your cores. If you have a 4 core 8 thread processor and we'll talk more about threads. In a minute you're going to call upon one of your cores to open up and start a process. And then Photoshop is going to run on that core every time you work on your project and you're doing different tasks and working on things and doing your brush and whatever it might be masking your processor is going to be utilizing that core.

Now Let's say you open Spotify. So you have 4 processors right now one's taken. So Spotify is going to take that other processor and then you want to open a web browser. So there's another processor taken and then you want to do a quick edit and Premiere Pro there's another processor taken. So if you have 4 cores then you can delineate the power across those 4 cores and you're not going to be bottlenecking your CPU.

So having multiple cores is very important. Don't just look at the amount of gigahertz or the clock speed of your computer because a 2 core processor at say 2.0 gigahertz is going to be slower than a 4 core processor at 4.0 gigahertz. Now there are exceptions in certain ways and we're going to talk about that a little bit later. But that's the understanding of the core.


What are threads?

Threads are based basically on virtual cores. So threads are a series of program instructions that allow a CPU core to appear to be split into 2 cores. So for each core, you have 2 threads. So 2 core 4 threads, 4 cores 8 threads, 6 cores 12 threads. And now we have all the way up to 32 cores and 64 threads. So threads were a technology that allowed the physical core the processor that's in the computer to appear as 2 cores to the computer system. So now we have even more capability of delineating the power across the different cores when we start a process.

So when we open up Google Chrome, when we open up Photoshop, we open up Premiere Pro. When we open up Spotify each of those different processes will now be able to be run on a core or a thread or having a core split into threads. So you're going to get more performance your computer's going to not get as bogged down. That's why having more cores and threads can be very very lucrative or very efficient when doing multitasking. Now if you're only gaming or you're only running Premiere Pro then in a sense those other 7 cores if you have an 8 core processor are really not doing much.

They're kind of sitting idle waiting for something to do. So if you're like only running Photoshop well then you want to have maybe a 4 to 6 core processor with a ton of power rather than say maybe like an 8 or 12 core processor with a lower clock speed. Now as you get up into more cores and threads the clock speeds are going to boost just because that's where more technology is invested in. More money is invested in making those processors faster. But I digress. Let's keep moving forward. If you're not I hope you're understanding this so far. Definitely comment below. If there needs to be any clarification I definitely want you guys to have all the information that you need on this core and threads explained.


What is clock speed?

We mentioned clock speed really quickly but Let's just go over it once more before we move forward. Programs require the CPU to continually complete calculations in order to run. If you have a higher clock speed you can compute these calculations quicker and applications will run faster and smoother as a result. But that's basically clock speed in a nutshell. As far as clock speed threads cores and all that are concerned you basically just multiply the clock speed by the cores and the threads. And then you have your overall CPU performance. It's that easy. Well, it's not because that's not how the system manages the cores and the thread.

So Let's take the i7 10750H with 6 cores 12 threads at a base clock. So that means like a consistent clock that it can hit without overheating and really running smoothly at 2.6 gigahertz. That can boost up to 4.2 gigahertz. In turbo mode, it goes up to turbo mode. It can only hang there for so long before it really starts to heat up. And then the processor has to either throttle back or the fans really have to kick on to cool that processor. So really it's not really a marketing term. I mean it kind of is but computers can't fit that high.

You're not going to get that amount of performance for that long. It's going to eventually throttle back. Anyway. I digress modest assessment of what we can get out of this processor if we do. The multiplication table is 42 gigahertz out of this processor which is false. That's not what is going to happen.


How this works?

Let's talk about how cores and threads work together.
Here's an example of how I've been able to explain it and it's been working really well. Take 2 robots. That is a 2 core processor without threads. These 2 robots are in charge of analyzing this car body as it's going through the factory. So they can accomplish this task in a set amount of time according to the amount of clock speed that they are given. So if they are given I'll say 2.0 gigahertz clock speed then they'll be able to move at a certain speed which means these 2 cores are going to be able to complete this car body analysis in X amount of time.


6 Core processor

This 6 core processor Let's say the 6 robots will now be able to complete an analysis in a much quicker timeframe because there are now 6 robots attributed to the specific project or to the specific computational task these calculations. So obviously 6 robots are going to be faster than 2 robots. but let me tell you if these 2 robots have a clock speed of say 4 gigahertz and these 6 robots have a clock speed of 1.2 gigahertz then the 2 robots technically would be a faster processor. Now there's definitely some things that may happen that might get bottlenecks because you have multiple programs open.

But if you're talking about specifically maybe you're just working in Premiere Pro and Photoshop then this processor will be faster because you're only utilizing those 2 cores whereas if you're working in many more programs then this processor indeed might be faster because you're going to end up bottlenecking because it's trying to share the cores and it could put a hard toll on the system. You may not be able to complete those tasks as fast as you hoped.


Let's go for the King of all

And that would be multiple cores, multiple threaded processors. So if you have Let's say an 8 core 16 thread processor. You have multiple robots with multiple robots assisting those robots. So basically the core is the main operator. The core is the one working on the body and the thread is the assistant who's handing him parts or handing him calculations or handing him information that he needs to do his job faster. So you have the core which is the main arm and then you have the helper robots which are the threads which are assisting that robot with what he needs.

So the cores and the threads work together as one to do a task more efficiently. If you only have 4 cores and 4 threads well then it's just a singular core processor doing a task. But if you have it split into 2 and you have 2 people able to assist and work together 2 robots able to work together and complete that task faster. And so as you see here this would be a very efficient process, especially for multitasking.

Okay, now there's a little bit more weeds we have to pull through but Most games are created to work on a singular processor at least pre the past decade. Now more and more game development is working on doing multi-core processor games so they can use multi-core and hyperthreading. So things like Premiere Pro for instance as well they don't rely as heavily on multicores. They are basically going to be using a singular core with more performance. But what this helps with if you have an 8 core 16 thread processor is if you want to be multitasking so you want to be working in Premiere Pro.

Like I said listening to music you want to be browsing the Internet editing a thumbnail and Photoshop. Having a multi-core processor is going to give you more performance and it's not going to slow down that one processor. If you are somebody working on a 2 or 4 core processor and you have more than those processes open what happens is Premiere Pro will slow down because your entire computer is being bogged down because it doesn't have enough processors to attribute individually.

So it's going to start to share those. It's going to start to split into those threads and you're going to pull down the performance when you're editing in Premiere Pro say for instance. So multitasking is really important for multiple cores and threads. Like I said if you're just using Premiere Pro you're going to be fine with say 4 to 6 cores that have a good core clock speed. That's important.


How many cores and threads for creators?

So 2 cores and 4 threads I would honestly avoid. I would not go for this. Maybe if you are doing some light Photoshop work or you're just a book publisher and you want to self publish your books and you want to have in designs you can design your own layout. Maybe you could get away with 2 cores and 4 threads but this is a processor I've seen in like MacBook Airs. I've seen it in the old 13-inch MacBook Pros and I've just heard over and over again bad performance just disappointing performance. So that's where I definitely start.

Designers at 4 cores and 8 threads I highly recommended 2015 MacBook Pro would have this 4 core 8 thread processor. It's fantastic for graphic designers working in Photoshop and design illustrator and even doing some 1080P video editing. Although it is going to be slower on the export time and slightly a little bit laggy on the playback it's still going to be a great computer especially you're going to improve that playback if you have the dedicated GPU in that model.

6 cores 12 threads video editing, 4K no problem. I've even heard some people getting up into  6K video editing and really having great performance especially if they complement that good quality CPU with a great GPU say something like the 1660 Ti or the or 2070, 2060, or 2080 Nvidia RTX GPU.

And then 8 core 16 threads. It's going to be great for 4K video editing all the way up to 8K video editing and then 32 core 64 threads basically you can do whatever you want. That is cores and threads explained. If you have any questions please comment below. I'd love to continue to further help you improve your knowledge as a creative professional.

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