Technical FAQ’s about Android Mini-PC Sticks
Technical FAQ: Processors
Dual Core vs. Single Core Processors
Computers have had multi-core CPU‘s since 2001, but they didn’t hit smartphones until many years later. In general, the main idea is that a dual-core processor will have two core (or brains) while a single core will have only one. While this is a noticeable improvement in performance, it doesn’t simply double the speed. Nor is it noticeable in all applications.
Here is a very simple example of how multi-core CPU’s work:
Imagine if you and a friend are working on a task together. You may be able to split the task into sections and get it done faster, but depending on the task, you might not. It’s the same with computers. If the program (the task) is written so that it can split itself into multiple threads (sections of the task), then the cores (you and your friend) can work independently. If it can’t split the task, then the other core (your friend) simply waits until the task is completed.
Most modern programs are designed to take advantage of multi-core CPU’s, however you may still find some smaller, privately developed programs which do not.
The main CPUs being used on Android devices at present are the ARM-designed Cortex A8 single-core processor and the A9 dual-core processor. Aside from the difference between a dual-core and single core, the A9 processor delivers up to 50% higher performance per core. Also, the newer A9 processor is designed to use less power and emit less heat than the A8 chip.
The A7 processor can also be used, but this is a newer chip and as limited in the number of manufacturers that use it. This is a higher performance &lower power consumption chip designed to give smartphones in the sub-$100 range better performance. While this can appear as a dual-core chip, it can also have single-core versions, so be cautious. It will be significantly faster and use less power than an A8 chip.
Technical FAQ: Connectivity
Bluetooth headsets have had mainstream use for years. But Bluetooth isn’t only for headsets. You can find keyboards, mice, speakers, network adapters and many other accessories that use Bluetooth. It was created as an alternative communication platform to Wi-Fi, but it has a much shorter range (10-100 ft).
Wireless networking or Wi-Fi is the most common form of networking in use today. It is found in virtually every computer on the market today, both desktops and laptops. Smartphone users will wisely turn on their Wi-Fi in order to save data charges.
Wireless networks are classified according to their 802.11 protocol. Simply put, there are different variations of wireless networking, each having different speeds and ranges. They are, in increasing order of speed: b, a (but has shorter range than 802.11b), g, n, ac, ad. For example, an 802.11ac router will allow for faster speeds and greater ranges, on average, than an 802.11n router.
The important thing to remember is that, just like your cell reception, your router’s speeds will depend a lot on what else is around it. The more interference in a particular area, the slower your network speeds.
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