Why a Dual Core Streamer Still Beats a Quad or Octa Core
When it comes to streamers, Quad and Octa Core models seem to get the most media attention
Dual Core Streamers are still relevant and may actually perform better than their faster cousins in some cases...
No Replacement for Displacement!
Advertisers like to program us from birth to believe bigger and faster is always better. Nothing was more evident than when computers first came out. Marketers would use processor speed and storage size as big selling points to get consumers to drop thousands of dollars every other year on a new desktop PC.
They even went as far as drip feeding us speed increases incrementally by releasing new technology in baby steps. Now that many desktop computers have been replaced by small Android streaming boxes which in some cases are faster than computers from just a few years ago, we still see the same marketing ploy being used although on a more limited scale.
Roku and Apple Still Use Dual Core CPUsMany have knocked Apple and also Roku for not adopting all their models to the latest and fastest processors. While Roku has a Quad core CPU in their Roku 4, their other models like the the 2 and 3 come with dual core processors. Their Streaming Stick and Roku 1 only come with a single core CPU. Apple also only uses a dual core processor in their newest Apple TV 4 as well.
Why a Dual Core CPU May Still Makes SenseHeat - is the eternal arch enemy of electronics. Most media streamers come in tiny boxes and the more heat a circuit board needs to endure, the faster electronics start breaking down. Excess heat can also cause lockups to the CPU or GPU chips which often requires reseting or power cycling your media streamer. Dual core processors run much cooler than Quad or Octa cores models using less electricity as well.
Cooling - Most every Roku ever made until the Roku 4 used passive heat sink cooling. Heat sinks are quiet, require no additional electricity and works very well up to a certain point. The Roku 4 with it's Quad core CPU required the use of a fan which introduced added noise. This is another component that can wear out or break.
Performance - This is where the faster Quad core and Octa core processors truly shine. While this performance is nice for watching 4K movies, or playing games, if you don't use either, a dual core may still be a better choice.
Price - Quad and Octa core models raise the cost of a media streamer. When you consider past Roku flagship models could be found for less than $100 and the new Roku 4 models now cost $129, they end up costing about 30% more.
Why You May Want to Consider a Faster Media StreamerGaming - If you are an avid gamer, a faster Quad or Octa core media streamer may still make sense. Although, they still really won't compete in speed with faster gaming consoles or desktop purpose built gaming computers.
Currently the Media Streamer that comes the closest is a NVIDIA Shield. It has a performance level that pretty much blows any other media streamer available today away. Being able to use it as a gaming console and also a streaming media plyer is an added bonus.
4K Streaming - When it comes to watching streaming media content in 4K, you will want to spend extra money for a fully UHD capable streamer. This is where Roku, and Amazon Fire TV have Apple beat as the new Apple TV is not 4K ready.
So when buying a new media streamer , figure out your needs and budget and don't get confused or misled by the sales hype when it comes to processor performance. The trusty dual core is still fully capable of doing a good job in many cases.
Although, if you do decide to get a new Octa core or faster media streamer, no one will blame you. Because... Speed is Sexy!!!