Why are quad-core processors not always faster than dual-core? As explained by PocketNow, one of the main reason is the fact that every processor is not identical, regardless of cores. The things that can go into making 2 dual-core processors or 2 quad-core processors completely different include the manufacturer differences, depth of pipeline, their makeup, fabrication methods, cache, clock-speed and instruction optimisations which allow customisation.
US Samsung Galaxy S3 & HTC One X dual-core phones not necessarily a downgrade over international quad-core versions
All these features being put together by different manufacturers in different combos can create entirely differing chips, and these chips will all have different levels of performance and therefore different power usages. Joe Levi at PocketNow likens out-of-order instruction processing to “the express-lane in at the grocery store” as it encourages the lesser instructions to be undertaken much more quickly than the larger ones which are required less immediately. Some Qualcomm processors do have this which shows that running smarter can really work, despite just having 2 cores.
Levi does acknowledge that marketing can play a large role in encouraging us to require more cores and higher clock-speeds rather than the actual numbers and features. This is often also because it is much simpler for the layperson to look at the very basic marketed numbers than read into the technicalities of the differences between the Tegra 3, Krait and Exynos, and so we do not bother delving this far. Even PocketNow’s article goes no way to explain the full extent to the reason why dual and quad cores can be equally fast, but does point out that RAM plays a bigger part than you would think.
Keeping that in mind, the recently released quad-core Samsung Galaxy S3 has received rave reviews and while US fans can’t wait to get their hands on one, they have no idea if the dual-core versions available to them would be as powerful as the international models. Given that the dual-core Samsung Galaxy S3 US models are expected to come with 2GB RAM instead of 1GB like the international versions, we wouldn’t be too worried.