What's the best number of CPU cores for gaming today, how many processor cores do we need?

Written by Chad Norton on Sat, May 23, 2020 3:00 PM

Since the dawn of computerkind, when our ancestors first discovered the processing power of multiple CPU cores, data has been processed in the name of everything: from AI, to image processing, and up to the wonderful thing we know as video gaming. And while we are all fed the "larger numbers are better", by CPU PR departments, we wanted to explore the idea around the question, does processor core count really matter in todays games and if we are looking to buy a new CPU, should we be very careful to get the right number of processor cores to help with gaming in the future?

So how many cores are required for gaming these days? And what’s the optimal amount of cores we might need? Lets take a look at some CPUs, their performance, and most importantly, their core counts in relation to modern pc gaming, in order to get a better understanding of our processors.

First of all, it’s important to have a basic understanding of what a CPU actually is and what we are referring to by way of cores. I will keep it very simple but feel free to jump into the comments section below and flex your techie knowledge by sharing more deep level CPU core knowledge and how they make our games flow more smoothly.

Here’s a simple explanation. We often hear that the CPU is like the brain of a computer, but the GPU is also a significant part of your rig. The CPU handles the complex math going on behind the scenes. For instance, physics or AI in a game will be handled by the CPU, or perhaps the end of a game turn is processed by the CPU and the more powerful it is the quicker it gets the job done. What does the GPU do then? The GPU is like a self contained computer that focuses on and sorts out all the onscreen visual processing, so the CPU doesnt have that to do as well. Both the processor and graphics card work in tandem to produce the image you see on your screen. If you are not gaming then the desktop visuals can be handled mostly by the CPU. 

Obviously there’s a lot more to it than that, but making sure you have the right CPU for your GPU and vice versa is essential for any gaming rig. When you get this significantly wrong one of these two items (or ram) is normally the bottleneck. It’s all well and good to get a fancy and expensive graphics card, but if your processor isn’t able to keep up then the game cant run as smoothly and that is because of the bottleneck.

What are processor cores?

A core on a CPU, put in the most simplest of terms, handles a tasks assigned to it. The more cores, the more tasks it can carry out at the same time. In an ideal world, a 4-core CPU will run 4 tasks at a time whilst an 8-core CPU will be able to run 8 tasks at the same time. This is the basic concept. There are loads and loads of things that influence this a great deal. Again, please share your techie knowledge (no matter how nerdy you want to go) with everyone in the comments below.

So more cores mean more tasks can be completed at the same time. If you set a computer a job to do, which has lots of different tasks, then a processor with more cores should be able to take on more tasks simultaneously and therefore complete the job faster. As I mentioned there are other things to then think about like, speed of a CPU or more modern architecture of the processor which can all influence job time completion.

How many CPU cores do most gamers have in their PCs today?

As you can see in the graph above, according to Steam the most popular processors by core count are 4 cores at 48.24%, with 6 and 2 cores coming close in 2nd and 3rd place at 21.86% and 21.22% respectively, and 8 cores trailing behind in 4th place at 6.65%. You can see that most CPUs above 8 cores are pretty much non-existent in comparison.

Most CPUs these days are actually kind of overkill, unless you’re aiming for those seriously high frame rates at 1080p, there’s not much reason to go with an extremely powerful processor that costs a lot of money. Because no one wants to buy an expensive processor that they can’t take advantage of.

What’s the minimum required CPU core count for gaming?

If we’re talking about the bottom of the barrel here, a single core CPU can run games, but with modern game design you will quickly start to experience low frame rates on more recent games with more detailed graphics like modern shooters for instance. So to that end you will ideally want a minimum of a 2-core CPU for gaming, so that the processor can manage more than one thing at a time, otherwise everything else has to wait every time a processor is asked to do something. Once you have 2 cores at least it can attempt to swap its tasks backwards and forwards between the cores, to minimise the bottleneck.

What is today's most effective CPU core count for gaming, with the biggest benefits?

However the jump from 2 cores to 4 cores on most modern games can yield even more benefits, as a lot of games can make use of 4 cores and allocate tasks to them to help minimise any potential CPU lockup.

The jump from 4 cores to 6 cores has a lesser impact to gaming benefit than that jump from 2 to 4 cores. That isnt to say that the 6 cores wouldn't be useful in gaming, just that the bottleneck is eased up a lot more when you move from 2 cores to 4. 

So because of all that, today it feels like the quad-core CPU, with its 4 cores is our suggested minimum required core count for gaming these days, you’ll get the most significant improvements in performance compared to the jump to and from either end of the core count like 2 cores or 6 cores. It will also be the optimal amount of cores for the price as well.

Some examples of popular 4 core CPUs are the Intel Core i5-3470 and AMD Ryzen 3 3200G, both of which have pretty high clock speeds as well and are regarded as some of the most popular 4 core CPUs on the market right now, and you can regularly find AMD’s processor at half the price of Intel’s, if you’re on a budget.

What’s the optimal amount of cores in a CPU for gaming?

At this point in time, it looks like modern games will benefit the most from 4 cores. Game engines are built to make the most out of the quad core processors, minimising bottlenecks encountered by load spreading across the 4 cores.

Whats the best number of CPU cores to future proof my gaming PC's processor?

Most games these days will require at least a quad-core CPU in their recommended system requirements. But as developers and game engines push their imaginations further, they will start to lean on more cores as we go into the future. Allocating multiple simultaneous tasks out the gamers processors. We are seeing games like Microsofts newest Flight Simulator looking to have a recommended 6 core processor listed as its required CPU. 

So today for a good future proof processor we would look to the 8 core processor in your new PC game machine. Or a 6 core CPU would certainly see you fine for the next couple of years.

Here is a couple of the more popular 8 core CPUs in the market right now are the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X and Intel Core i9-9900K.

Popular CPUs List with 4, 6, and 8 core counts

Modern popular 4 core CPUs:

Modern popular 6 core CPUs:

Modern popular 8 core processors on the market

You can see here that there is very much indeed almost an equal split between Intel and AMD CPUs in terms of popularity, which just goes to show how good AMD’s processors are for the price compared to Intel’s lineup.

Of the top 500 most demanding games right now, most of the 4 core CPUs on the market will be able to meet 95% of the minimum requirements. However, most of them will only be able to meet around 33% of the recommended requirements. So if you're looking to play games at the minimum required settings, a 4 core CPU will be perfect for you. But if you want to play games at the maximum settings you might want to consider the more optimal amount of cores and more powerful CPUs...

Pretty much any 8 core CPU will be able to absolutely blitz it's way through the top 500 most demanding games as of today, meeting 100% of all minimum requirements and, at worst, 99% of all recommended requirements. So it's safe to say getting one of these processors will future proof your rig for years to come.

What kind of games require certain amount of cores?

This is a bit trickier, as games don't always advertise how many cores they prefer to use. Some games are optimized for 4 cores, some can use 6, and some can even use up to 12 cores. So what games are optimized best for which cores? And didn't we already establish that 8 cores are the optimal amount?

Well, yes, 8 cores will surely future proof your PC for most of the next decade, but most games will not actually utilize all the extra cores you have. This is where it comes down to your personal preference and your budget. If you just want to play the latest games without any issues, then there's not much point forking out the extra money for 8 cores. With that said, here are some of the most popular games right now and their optimal CPU core usage:

Game Optimal CPU core count
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive 2
Rainbow Six: Siege 4
Assassins Creed: Odyssey 4
Battlefield 5 4
Call of Duty Warzone 4
The Witcher 3 4
DOOM Eternal 4
Microsoft Flight Simulator 6

So as you can see, most games these days only require 4 cores, whilst most of them can use up to 12 cores, you won't see a huge difference in performance past 8 cores. Most competitive multiplayer games like CS:GO will require less demanding specs in order to make it more accessible for a larger audience. Only the top of the most demanding games will even require players to have more than 4 cores, like MS Flight Sim 2020 that requires at least 6.

What about ray tracing?

It’s also worth noting that the latest trend in video games is without a doubt ray tracing, and whilst you may think that the extremely demanding and complex process of simulating light rays may be based on the CPU because of all the heavy math, ray tracing is actually more bound to the GPU. Looking at some of the RTX-enabled games that utilize the technology will show you just how much it’s dependent on the graphics card rather than the processor.

Game Recommended CPU
Minecraft RTX Intel Core i5-4670K
Quake II RTX Intel i3-3220
Control Intel Core i5-7600K

I picked these games because they’re a nice control group for what we’re talking about here, as the original games themselves don’t require very demanding specs, but as soon as ray tracing is added they jump up a lot. Obviously they require the use of an RTX enabled graphics card like the RTX 2060, but looking at the core counts of each recommended processor you can see that Minecraft with RTX requires 4 cores and Quake 2 RTX requires only 2 cores. Even the pretty demanding and mind-bending game, Control, only requires a 4 core CPU. So yeah, it’s not about the cores when it comes to ray tracing.

Does Core count really matter?

So in the end, it’s all about a balance and overall performance. Check the reported benchmarks before buying a CPU, don’t look at 1 number only, and make sure that you actually need a new CPU before buying one, because more often than not you won’t see a noticeable difference if your graphics card is the one that’s actually holding you back.

If you want to have a look at what kind of processors Intel and AMD have in store for us in the coming years, and what possible processors you could wait and upgrade to, you can check out our CPU roadmap article we did just a few days ago.

What do you think? Do you agree? Does core count matter that much? What’s the minimum required cores for gaming these days? And what’s the optimal amount? And which is more important? Core count? Or CPU speed? Let us know!

Does core count really matter?

What's the minimum core count needed for gaming?

What's the optimal core count for gaming?

Which is more important? CPU clock speed or core count?

Login or Register to join the debate

Rep
-1
Offline
10:07 Jun-08-2020

Actually the IPC(instructions per clock cycle) is more important than frequency itself - see the gigahertz myth. So core count and IPC is more relevant.

0
Rep
8
Offline
14:43 May-25-2020

game debate: whats the optimal count core for gaming
pc builders: 4 is genuinly sufficient
laptop weabs: 8
me : sad value noises

1
Rep
386
Offline
admin approved badge
16:10 May-25-2020

4 core/8 thread CPUs are sufficient ineed. 6 core/12 thread is optimal and 8 core/16 thread is ideal.

2
Rep
8
Offline
18:43 May-29-2020

in donald trump voice: ''nah wrong''
6c-6t is basically 2020
but 4c-8t still didnt finish its plate
6c-12t is an overkill unless its a strategy game
REMEMBER KIDS? THIS IS >Game Debate&#60 not

1
Rep
386
Offline
admin approved badge
20:25 May-29-2020

Do you think of your PC as a console? O_o
I have tons of background tasks when playing and I can tell you 6 core/12 thread is optimal, but I'd much prefer to have a 8 core/16 thread right now, not that I'm losing performance, but I'd like to run even more things in the background.

1
Rep
8
Offline
23:08 May-29-2020

this is why i said GAME debate not WORKS my g
the moment you do more things at the same time youre no longer playing games. even if youre playing a game
youre streaming, playing music inthe background & downloading 5 movies while playing

1
Rep
8
Offline
23:09 May-29-2020

gta V moded : p

1
Rep
116
Offline
23:21 May-29-2020

How does that make sense? If I'm listening to music and playing a game at the same time I'm working? Have a game downloading in the background while playing something is working? That's kinda the point of PCs. You can multitask. There's really no benefit over consoles if you can only do one thing at a time. At that point you can just buy a console.

0
Rep
16
Offline
18:09 May-24-2020

i have a 4790k with a single 1080 ti 16 Gb ram as a backup, and a 9900kf, sli 1080 ti, 16 gb ram as main, without the second gpu the framerate even in the city is the same on 1080p and 4 frame more on 1440 with the witcher 3, while on metro exodus the framerate is better on the 4790k by 3 fps for 1080p and 9 fps better on 9900kf at 1440

1
Rep
17
Offline
13:27 May-24-2020

The CPU clock and core count is not most accurate way of measuring the performance since they are getting made more efficient over time.
Lets compare old vs new quad core CPUs:
Q6600 was about 3.7 times slower than Ryzen 5 3400G

2
Rep
17
Offline
13:37 May-24-2020

If you could measure CPU performance by only clock and core count, I would have stayed with my old Q6600


Nowadays for games I think the new dual cores is enough as minimum and quad cores is the most optional choice.
And of course having higher clocks over more cores is becoming less and less relevant since optimizing games for multi core CPU's is a standard nowadays.

2
Rep
386
Offline
admin approved badge
13:40 May-24-2020

IPC increases as well, along with adding new instructions which reduce the CPI, so yeah. But Clock Speeds are equally as important as IPC and CPI, core count is important too, but it's efficiency depends on how parallel the workload is.

2
Rep
57
Offline
11:55 May-24-2020

One thing was unclear to me reading this thread, does OP have in mind hyper threading/SMT in mind or no? Because it can make big difference if we are talking about minimal and recommended core count. For instance while 2cores/2threads are not enough for todays gaming 2cores/4threads can actually deliver playable experience in quite few AAA tittles. Also for optimal core count these days imo is 6cores/12threads or modern 8cores/8threads. "future proofing" 8-12cores with HT/SMT

0
Rep
57
Offline
12:02 May-24-2020

Also OP is wrong saying csgo optimal core count is 2, watch this video , it is actually 4 and after that you start to hit diminishing returns increasing core count and having hyper threading enabled.

0
Rep
105
Offline
07:51 May-24-2020

i dont really agree assassins creed oddysey using only 4 cores, just like cal of duty, battlefield 5 and doom uses all my 8 cores almost equally

0
Rep
17
Offline
13:50 May-24-2020

That's because the work needed for these games is split equally on all cores to get better efficiency since it is better than having idle cores

2
Rep
3
Offline
05:23 May-24-2020

Im wondering abount combination of 4790K and the RTX 2070 super, right now i'm expriencing not so high fps in some area and some times of the day in Metro exodus. next upgrade must be my CPU i think.
any thoughts?

0
Rep
105
Offline
07:53 May-24-2020

Yes, change cpu that thing will bottleneck rtx 2070 super, tho the difference with the gtx 1070 isnt that great to justify even getting the rtx 2070 super in the first place

0
Rep
-12
Offline
11:43 May-24-2020

ive got the 4770k and 1070. sometimes i feel like im getting fps drop in things i feel i shouldnt, like monster hunter world but only when large bodies of water is visable, same for destiny 2. as much as this cpu has served well its getting pretty old and dog now

0
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
22:50 May-23-2020

4 cores became obsolete the second games started using more than those 8 threads, which is...years ago now... But even more so - now that the PS5 and XBOX SX got announced.
As far as I'm concerned - 8 Cores minimum as the next upgrade is what everyone should consider. 6 cores or 4 cores - that's going to be below console level and drag your experience down.


This does NOT mean that cheap xeon systems or dual-CPU mobos are ok to have either - they will be extremely slow in comparison to modern CPUs in single-threaded math.

1
Rep
28
Offline
00:08 May-24-2020

The majority will determine the hardware optimizations for the pc market. Also the ps5/xbox sex box developers need time to start to develop games from the ground up for the next gen (game developmen for next gent takes 2+ years). The magic of the pc is its scalability/flexibility. Do keep in mind the new consoles also have nvme ssd´s that doesnt mean once the consoles launch your sata ssd are obsolete for games.

3
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
02:59 May-24-2020

I know all that, but HDD users will be dragging down progress for even longer than necessary, for example. I'll just whack more M.2's in my rig if I need to, but I seriously hope more people start ditching HDDs for gaming. Bad enough now we have to wait for them in multiplayer lobbies xD
As for the "majority will determine"... Yeah, there will be the usual window of releasing games for older AND newer systems, but it will pass and then PS5 spec will become the norm. At that point the majority of PC users will probably be a bit screwed...

0
Rep
57
Offline
12:10 May-24-2020

SSD's are fine and dandy until you want 2tb+ storage space, even sata ssds are much more expensive if you want mass storage for your pc, in EU 2tb sata ssd start from 210€ for cheapest model and for 175€ you can get premium 4tb western digital hdd. Imo hdd's are not going out in near future though it might find its place in more specific use cases...

2
Rep
57
Offline
12:12 May-24-2020

And 2tb storage space is not that much these days considering many modern AAA games takes around -100gb and phones capturing 4k video, really high res photos so that 2tb especially 1tb hard disk can fill up pretty quickly if you like to play more than one game at the time.

0
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
14:01 May-24-2020

Mate, gaming and storage are two different things. I have 11TB worth of HDDs in my PC alone + externals. Storage is storage. But for gaming HDDs are just not efficient anymore. If on a budget - get a 250GB or a 500GB and put the heavy games there, it's not rocket science. You don't store photos or 4K video on SSDs...

1
Rep
57
Offline
15:35 May-24-2020

Fine, storing videos and pictures on ssd's are not the best option especially if you on the budget, i agree, but hdd's for gaming not going anywhere soon because ssd's are still way behind in terms of price and storage capacity. It most likely going to change in far future but today and tomorrow ssd+hdd is the best option for you pc storage, gaming and everything else. You dont expect to splash 35% of your budget on your storage if you are going for mid range pc.

0
Rep
57
Offline
15:37 May-24-2020

also not the HDD users are dragging down the process but the market itself, everyone have their budget and if market ask too much then users will settle with hdd option simply as that.

0
Rep
14
Offline
admin approved badge
21:42 May-23-2020

I got a 9600KF (6-core) only a month or two ago and it was awesome. Everything i threw at it was dealt with well, gained 20 fps in games like assassins creed origins over the 4790k. Then i got into PS3 emulation and watched the struggle ensue. Even after overclocking to 4.9 Ghz all cores, no real improvement. 100% usage and stutters. Fortunately, i came into some birthday money and was able to just splurge on a 9700K. Same clock speed - and I'm not even totally stable, because i now need a better cooler - but boy, those two cores made all the difference!

3
Rep
28
Offline
23:55 May-23-2020

The emulators software optimization is to blame in this case also the ps3´s cpu was quite unusual even developers had trouble with it when that console generation was still going.

3
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
03:00 May-24-2020

Clean gameplay (bar the shader compilation, of course) on my old-timey 5960X here. 8 cores is the way!

1
Rep
105
Offline
07:56 May-24-2020

That cpu you have is old af but yet still more powefrful than consumer high end processors

1
Rep
57
Offline
12:28 May-24-2020

But its not? 3700x is more powerful than his 5960x and its not even that high end, 9900k/10700k or something like 3900x/3950x would smoke this cpu anyday not even counting new i9's. 5960x is still a great chip its not that extreme anymore though.

0
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
14:04 May-24-2020

From our testing the difference between my 5960X and new CPUs isn't actually that high, considering my OC @ 4.5GHz, if comparing 8-cores. Yeah, I could get like 10% better, but it's not worth it changing the entire system for that. Don't forget I'm also getting 40 CPU lanes and quad-channel DDR4 memory, among other things on my mobo, that make even those new ryzens or 9900K's unattractive and outright downgrades.

0
Rep
57
Offline
15:41 May-24-2020

Yeah for sure, depends on your use case, imo what i would do in your shoes just wait for matured ddr5 hedt platform if your current cpu is not dragging you behind much.

0
Rep
-19
Offline
20:17 May-23-2020

for gaming 6c/12t is the perfect spot right now. it'll help as time moves on and games are made for the new consoles. 8c/16 thread helps if you are streaming and will help in those new console ports. more than that is not needed for games.

3
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
03:02 May-24-2020

If a person can afford it - an 8-core Ryzen is absolutely the way to go vs a 6-core CPU. 6 is a very odd number...neither here nor there. Better than the current console spec, but worse than the new spec.

2
Rep
105
Offline
07:57 May-24-2020

So comparing my r7 2700 to a lests say a ryzen 5 3600, my ryzen 7 should fair better in the future because it has more cores?

0
Rep
5
Offline
15:07 May-26-2020

Not necessarily, the 3600 has higher clocks in addition to an ipc improvement over second gen ryzen. The 2700 would be better in productivity tasks like video editing, photoshop, blender because of its ability to mitigate the workload to 8c/16t, but the 3600 would be better in gaming for now bc of oc potential as well.

1
Rep
76
Offline
admin approved badge
19:01 May-23-2020

I think both matter, games will run as fast as slowest thread, but extra threads will help with FPS stability or 1% low FPS. Though cores have diminishing returns currently after 6c 12t, still, things are getting better for putting more cores to good work. I would say minimum is 4c 8t for today, 6c 12t is nice in between to get most out of it today, and 8c 16t is for really long term.

1
Rep
76
Offline
admin approved badge
19:04 May-23-2020

Since even Intel CPUs barely scale with more than 6c 12t in games. Though I do think as next gen comes and lowest common denominator moves, there will be some benefit to more, though it will depend on settings and graphic card to whether this will matter for you. I do thing 6c 12t CPUs for midrange will be fine. And at some point, newer CPUs will just be better,...

0
Rep
76
Offline
admin approved badge
19:05 May-23-2020

... like Ryzen 4000 with single CCX design. Even on R3 3300X it makes difference, since even clocked same, 3100 won't perform same as 3300X. So yeah, cool stuff and at some point you might be better off getting new CPU instead of overspending to get bit more life out of it, it is again diminishing return. And of course in my opinion, since I don't have crystal ball. :-D

1
Rep
-6
Online
18:54 May-23-2020

I believe 4 cores are not enough anymore because the cpu goes to 100% in some games, this doesn't leave you any room for discord and other tasks. However in you have hyper-threading you are good still(in most games). So the Ryzen 3 , 3300x is a decent cpu for current video-games. (60hz)

6
Rep
105
Offline
07:59 May-24-2020

yeah using a 4 core cpu will botlleneck in open world titles, thats why i got ride of my old i5 3570k, it hada very long run tho

1
Rep
179
Offline
admin approved badge
17:57 May-23-2020

I'd say 6 is the sweet spot and 4 is the bare minimum, 4 cores will bottleneck even older cards like my RX 480 in some of the more CPU intensive games and introduce a ton of stuttering even though it doesn't seem to highly affect the average framerates very much....... 4 cores with no form of SMT or hyperthreading to fall back on hasn't really been optimal for a good few years now, but not many people were admitting it back then....... now that 6+ core CPUs are plentyful, suddenly they see it.

4
Rep
179
Offline
admin approved badge
18:00 May-23-2020

I should clarify.... "4 cores with no form of SMT will bottleneck even older cards like my RX 480 in some of the more CPU intensive games"....... ask me how I know :P

3
Rep
2
Offline
18:24 May-23-2020

same story here :( 4c/4t is no no for gaming these days

3
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
03:04 May-24-2020

4 is indeed a "bare minimum"...like if you're really strapped for cash. A good experience for now can be had with a 6-core, but the future is 100% 8+ cores, going into 2021 and beyond.
For those considering an upgrade, I'd advise to skip the odd 6 and get an 8-core. It's always easier to swap in GPUs rather than potentially rebuild the entire PC because you needed a CPU (and potentially a mobo) upgrade.

0
Rep
179
Offline
admin approved badge
04:49 May-24-2020

well alot of people are strapped for cash, otherwise there would be no low and mid range market.... everyone would just have 2080 Tis, and I9-9900K's or Ryzen 3950 Xs, with no room for anything inbetween. The market is definitely shifting to more cores, as it probably should, but I think you're severely over-estimating the impact, even my old 4/4 I5 can still game pretty comfortably in most cases, I do notice when it starts to struggle, but even when it does, it has never made a game unpolayable

2
Rep
179
Offline
admin approved badge
04:53 May-24-2020

I'm actually building a whole new rig right now, parts are trickling in, and by next weekend I should have it up and running, it is centered around a 6 core Ryzen CPU, and I'm just fine with that, because while I know that eventually I'm going to find it struggling like my current CPU, it will be quite a while before it comes to that, and I can always just drop in a higher core CPU later..... when it's cheaper to do so.

1
Rep
28
Offline
17:26 May-23-2020

Strangely enough depends on your monitor 1080p 60hz being the most majority and to hit it you need a 4 core 8 thread HT/SMT cpu(probably for the next years as well). I run a 1440p 144hz im one of the crazy persons that always puts on rivatuner OSD to see the hardware loads havent seen a cpu bottleneck yet and i probably wouldnt for years. You need to consider the devs need to sell their game and if 60% of the pc market cant then thats a lost sales.

2
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
03:09 May-24-2020

Just because the CPU doesn't hit 100% doesn't mean it isn't bottlenecking. Basic computing 101. Some tasks may be completely hammering one of two threads and preventing you from getting any better performance, whereas you look at your total load and you see 60%..
I'm not buying that you're not seeing any bottlenecks with a 4-core, because my 8-core is 100% bottlenecking me already (most likely due to ageing IPC). When you get the same fps at 1440p as you get at 5K or the same at 1440p as you get at 1080p - that's a bottleneck, and I've seen plenty here.

1
Rep
28
Offline
10:27 May-24-2020

i doubt a program/game sees a core running at 5.2ghz and goes gimme all that. Running games at 1440p the gpu bottleneck is real.

0
Rep
569
Offline
admin approved badge
03:54 May-24-2020

Really the only way to test with your current CPU is to up your overclock and run a benchmark stable. I bet your score would go up. You'll always have a CPU bottleneck your GPU, that's just how it goes.

0
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
04:51 May-24-2020

If I push further - it'll be a furnace. it's just really sad that my 2014 chip can keep up with modern CPUs and that modern CPUs have had such a pathetic IPC increase over the last decade.

0
Rep
569
Offline
admin approved badge
05:03 May-24-2020

Oh I'm sure. My reply was meant for @zenmaster.

0
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
14:07 May-24-2020

Sorry, my bad :D

0
Rep
386
Offline
admin approved badge
16:40 May-23-2020

Considering that 4 core/8thread CPUs games equally as good as 16 core/32 thread CPUs right now, for PURE gaming you don't need more, but if you want a good experience on PC 6 cores are the minimum you want. Nobody is going to stop literaly everything on their PC and just run a single Game and a DRM.

1
Rep
386
Offline
admin approved badge
16:42 May-23-2020

Otherwise games are 2-4 programs in total. API, Game logic, Physics engine and Effects engine. The API isn't a parallel workload. Game logic is usually 50-75% parallel and the Physics engine isn't very parallel for single-player games, for multiplayer it depends but not really parallel either, but with physics engines the intstructions dependancy is high. and the effects engine can be quite parallel. If you check with Amdahl's law if the task is 90% Parallel in Total or less then more than 12 cores become pointless as the diminishing returns become so high it's pointless to have more than 12 cores for games with all 4 of the above programs, potentially 16 if more dedicated programs are added to future games.


Tons of games just have the API and game logic, so for them even less cores.

1
Rep
386
Offline
admin approved badge
16:42 May-23-2020

I'm assuming that they'll add a dedicated AI engine in the future to games, so that's another one.

0
Rep
4
Offline
16:28 May-23-2020

I'm more curious about the guy rocking a 5 core processor

14
Rep
2
Offline
23:41 May-23-2020

It's probably a virtual machine or BIOS limited amount of cores.

1
Rep
105
Offline
08:03 May-24-2020

thats an odd numer just like the new 10 core 20 thread intel cpu

0
Rep
55
Offline
15:40 May-23-2020

An 8 core-16 thread CPU should be good for years to come in PC gaming and in handling next-gen console ports.

3
Rep
386
Offline
admin approved badge
16:34 May-23-2020

iirc 1 core in the consoles will be dedicated to the OS and 1 core will be dedicated to the background tasks, or was it 1 core total for both so keep that in mind.

2
Rep
55
Offline
18:47 May-23-2020

I think its 1 core each like you said leaving 6 cores for games. In any case, 8 cores on a PC should be enough and with Zen3 8 cores will become even more affordable especially the 3000 series 8 cores which are pretty powerful in themselves.

1
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
03:11 May-24-2020

We don't have the luxury of deciding which cores do what on PC (unless you're super anal with the task manager and even then you won't get complete control), so 8 cores for sure, going into 2021 and beyond. In the end it's always easier swapping a GPU than potentially rebuilding an entire PC because you needed a better CPU/mobo...

0
Rep
386
Offline
admin approved badge
09:41 May-24-2020

My point is that video games on next gen consoles won't be optimized for 8 cores, but for 6 cores.

0
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
14:07 May-24-2020

Which is still moot because we don't get to allocate resources how we want on PC. We still have to run our launchers, monitoring, controller software, the OS, drivers, any browser or streaming software, etc. Games can be optimized for 6, but we'll still want 8, just like the consoles.

1
Rep
17
Offline
15:15 May-23-2020

4 cores will currently be the minimum for most games if it already isnt. I think the sweet spot will be 6 cores with good clock speeds moving forward. Some games benefit more from more cores while others from higher clock speeds if not both. Your requirements start to change once the resolution increases where the gpu becomes the focus.

1
Rep
58
Offline
admin approved badge
15:14 May-23-2020

I would not really call 3rd or 4th gen i5/i7s modern cpus...

5
Rep
386
Offline
admin approved badge
16:36 May-23-2020

well 4th gen i5/i7 CPUs have only 7% lower IPC than 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th gen i5/i7/i9 CPUs, so yeah. And the 4790k overclocks to 4.8Ghz. Only minus is that if want or need more than 4 cores you gotta go with the 2011 socket.

3
Rep
58
Offline
admin approved badge
16:43 May-23-2020

Yeah but can you still buy them new? Or can you get new boards for them? etc... it is not like there aren't any newer quadcore cpus that are "modern"...

0
Rep
386
Offline
admin approved badge
16:50 May-23-2020

but we only care about performance in this case, not the literal product.

3
Rep
386
Offline
admin approved badge
16:50 May-23-2020

Ryzen 3 3300x is all you need and it's 120$ and brand new with a 80$ board and boom. All you need as in a modern equivalent(it's faster, but still) of those CPUs.

0
Rep
569
Offline
admin approved badge
15:14 May-23-2020

Most if not all modern day CPU's are built with 4 cores minimum. Anything over 4 cores really is overkill for gaming at the moment. There's only a few games that come to mind that I see effectively use all cores. You need at least 8 cores for a balanced workstation/gaming PC at a minimum. I chose the 6 core 3600 for the added bump and future compatibility. Hopefully this tides me over for the next 3-5 years. I'll upgrade my GPU before I even think to upgrade my CPU.

2
Rep
28
Offline
17:33 May-23-2020

Do to the cpu arms race the gpus are actually the bottlenecks in most situations(even tech press is having trouble showing why the 10900k is better than a 9900k in games). I would say the sweet spot would be 4 core 8 thread with SMT/HT and seeing the huge market share 4 cores have their not going overboard anytime soon.

0
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
03:16 May-24-2020

Depends on who you ask. My OC'd 5960X is a killer gaming CPU still, but paired with my GPUs - it's the bottleneck! In some games, like GTA V, I get the same fps at 5120x2880 as I do at 2560x1440... In HITMAN 2 the benchmark shows identical performance at 1080p AND 1440p, meaning at 1080p my CPU can't keep up (and, most likely, even at 1440p).
Those who play BeamNGDrive will also tell you how bad quads are for it, as the game loves 8+ core CPUs.
4 cores should really only be reserved as an extreme budget choice going into 2021 and beyond.

0
Rep
105
Offline
08:07 May-24-2020

Yeah gta v is one of the most cpu intensive games there are, really impressive for a 5 year old game, others are shadow of the tomb raider , ac origins and oddysay, battlefield V

0

Can They Run... |

| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 5 2600X 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 2060 6GB 16GB
| 30FPS, Medium, 720p
Pentium Dual Core E6300 2.8GHz GeForce 210 3GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB 8GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Ryzen 7 2700X GeForce RTX 3060 Ti MSI Ventus 3X OC 8GB 16GB
| 30FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i7-2600K 4-Core 3.40GHz GeForce RTX 2060 MSI Gaming Z 6GB 16GB
| Ultra, 1080p
Core i3-9100F 4-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1070 Gigabyte Windforce OC 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i5-6600K 3.5GHz GeForce GTX 1060 MSI Gaming X 3GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
Core i5-4460 3.2GHz Radeon RX 570 XFX RS Black 4GB 8GB
| 30FPS, Low, 720p
Core i5-2310 2.9GHz GeForce GT 1030 8GB
| 30FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4GHz GeForce GT 1030 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 30FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen R5 1600 Radeon RX 570 Sapphire Pulse 4GB 8GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 30FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen R5 1600 Radeon RX 570 Sapphire Pulse 4GB 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1440p
Core i7-8700K 6-Core 3.7GHz GeForce RTX 2080 MSI Gaming X Trio 8GB 16GB
| 30FPS, Medium, 1080p
Athlon 3000G 2-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 550 2GB 6GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i3-10100 4-Core 3.60GHz GeForce GTX 1650 16GB
| 30FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i7-4710MQ 4-Core 2.5GHz GeForce GTX 960M 2GB 16GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen R5 PRO 1600 Radeon RX 5500 XT 4GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1440p
Core i5-11400 6-Core 2.7GHz GeForce RTX 2060 Asus Dual OC 6GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 4k
Core i9-10900KF 10-Core 3.70GHz GeForce RTX 2080 Super MSI Ventus XS OC 8GB 64GB
66.6667% Yes [3 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Ryzen 7 5800X 8-Core 3.8GHz GeForce RTX 2060 Asus ROG STRIX Gaming Advanced 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]