In past articles, I may have understated the benefits of multi-core CPU’s. Video editing and audio work utilize them. Even Photoshop, which used to be old fashioned, now utilizes them. For gaming, a dual or quad core CPU is fine at the moment, but in a few years from now, I can definitely see games using 6-8 cores. Many games only use 1-4 cores now, but will use more in the future (especially since PS4/Xbox One use 8 cores).
Why did the industry switch to using more cores? In the 90’s the vision was that one day PC’s could have one amazingly fast core. However, as clock speeds increased, power consumption became exponentially higher. To reduce power consumption, computers used additional cores instead of having maxxed out core. With mobile devices dominating the industry, power consumption became more of a concern. Now many phones/laptops/tablets are using 4-8 weaker cores instead of 2 strong ones. This is the direction we will continue in in the future. I think we will 12-16 core CPU’s hit the mass market before we see an 8-10 GHz core.
So, if you are buying or building a desktop computer, assuming we are comparing similar CPU’s, the six core version of a CPU will offer much better longevity for the machine than a dual or quad core.