Here the test is emulating the user’s work when he is receiving an e-mail in Outlook 2002 with a number of documents in a zip-file attached to it. While the files are being scanned for viruses with the VirusScan 7.0, the user is looking through the e-mails and makes noted in the Outlook calendar. After that the user checks a corporate web-site and some documents through Internet Explorer 6.0.
This model of user work implies multi-threaded algorithms that is why Athlon 64 X2 4800+ appears faster than single-core AMD and Intel solutions. Note that Pentium 4 processors supporting “virtual” multi-threading technology aka Hyper-Threading cannot boast the same efficiency here as Athlon 64 X2 with two physical independent cores.
In this test the hypothetical user is editing some test in Word 2002 and uses Dragon NaturallySpeaking 6 to convert an audio file into a text document. The document is then converted into pdf-format in Acrobat 5.0.5. After that the prepared document is used to create a PowerPoint 2002 presentation. Athlon 64 X2 wins again.
In the next test we see the following situation: the user opens a database in Access 2002 and creates a number of requests. The documents are archived with WinZip 8.1. The request results are exported into Excel 2002 and a diagram is created. Although dual-core architecture again shows its clear benefits here, Pentium 4 processors manage to win the round.
All in all, I could say the following about the use of dual-core processors in office work. The applications of this kind are very rarely optimized for multi-threaded workload. That is why a dual-core processor will hardly guarantee you any performance gain in a given individual application. However, if your work implies that there would be resource-hungry applications running in the background, it could definitely make a lot of sense to have a dual-core processor.