[R] Dual Core vs Quad Core

Andrew Perrin clists at perrin.socsci.unc.edu
Tue Dec 18 02:13:16 CET 2007

On Mon, 17 Dec 2007, Kitty Lee wrote:

> Dear R-users,
> I use R to run spatial stuff and it takes up a lot of ram. Runs can take hours or days. I am thinking of getting a new desktop. Can R take advantage of the dual-core system?
> I have a dual-core computer at work. But it seems that right now R is using only one processor.
> The new computers feature quad core with 3GB of RAM. Can R take advantage of the 4 chips? Or am I better off getting a dual core with faster processing speed per chip?
> Thanks! Any advice would be really appreciated!
> K.

If I have my information right, R will use dual- or quad-cores if it's 
doing two (or four) things at once. The second core will help a little bit 
insofar as whatever else your machine is doing won't interfere with the 
one core on which it's running, but generally things that take a single 
thread will remain on a single core.

As for RAM, if you're doing memory-bound work you should certainly be 
using a 64-bit machine and OS so you can utilize the larger memory space.

Andrew J Perrin - andrew_perrin (at) unc.edu - http://perrin.socsci.unc.edu
Associate Professor of Sociology; Book Review Editor, _Social Forces_
University of North Carolina - CB#3210, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3210 USA

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