How Many CPU Cores Do You Need For Great PC Gaming?

Ur_Mom

Fully [H]
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May 15, 2006
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[H]are people often have some sort of chronic disconnect from the reality. There are many normal mates out there playing just fine with less powerful systems. Ylnot everyone is playing at 4k 144fps of 1440p 300fps. Most people are quite happy with 60fps. And 1080p. Or 720p. Sometimes.

Pussy.

:D Yea, I'm still gaming at 1080p and 60fps is a nice goal. Still rocking the old GTX1070 (which broke, then came back to life...). I'm happy with how things are, but they could be better. It's not a disconnect from reality. A lot of us got that attitude from the old days of overclocking/editing config files/whatever from back in the day trying to get 1-2 fps more out of the game. Where some little tweak could make a visual and noticeable difference. Or where we could increase it enough to take the graphics settings from medium to high.

Now, we just go from 80fps to 85fps at 4k. It's more of a flex than anything. But, we just have that same attitude. "It's good, but we can do better!". We see it in benchmarks, not an actual noticeable difference (for the most part, sometimes it's very noticeable). That's just how it goes with tweaking and playing around. It's not a necessity, it's just part of the hobby. Like with cars. We put that NOS sticker on there for that extra 2 HP. We do all sorts of things to our cars that really don't make much difference, but it's just fun and you get that extra little whatever out of it (better sound, better responsiveness, whatever... we may or may not notice a difference, but it's fun).

For a lot of those things (no one NEEDS a xxx core), I replace it with different other hobbies. No one needs more than 150 horsepower. No one needs more than 100 rounds of ammo. No one needs more than a kilo of coke. You don't need another 6TB drive for more porn. Say that to the people that enjoy those hobbies, and it's fightin' time. :) You're right. For someone not into the hobby, you may not need any of that (except, you always need more ammo. Always.). For someone that is in it, though, yes. They need it all.
 

Krazy925

Supreme [H]ardness
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Far Cry 5 (or maybe it was far cry 4, can't remember now) is the only title in recent memory I've actually seen CPU bottlenecking in at 4k, but that was on my old 6C12T Core i7-3930k. Even overclocked to 4.8Ghz, it was not able to keep pace with modern CPU's.

Frames would occasionally drop down into the 40's, but it was not due to the GPU.
Those 3930Ks held up forever. Slight overclock. GPU upgrade every couple years. Best platform I ever owned though, as far as longevity goes anyways.

Wanted NVME, PCIe4.0, and better usb controllers though. It’s just a little too long in the tooth.
 

CaptNumbNutz

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[H]are people often have some sort of chronic disconnect from the reality. There are many normal mates out there playing just fine with less powerful systems. Ylnot everyone is playing at 4k 144fps of 1440p 300fps. Most people are quite happy with 60fps. And 1080p. Or 720p. Sometimes.
The only chronic disconnect is people that don't recognize the deliberate bravado and often sarcastic attitude the veteran's of this forum have. ;) It's not that members don't recognize that people game with less than the best, far from it actually. It's that there is always an emphasis on striving towards a better setup be it thru upgrades or modding what you got. That's how many members found this site. That's why the old website name was Hard Overclocker's Comparison Pages.


This chucklefuck is a prime example of what I'm talking about. Who let this guy out of GenMay again?!? He's leash trained and supposed to be supervised at all times.
 
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Shoganai

[H]ard|Gawd
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[H]are people often have some sort of chronic disconnect from the reality. There are many normal mates out there playing just fine with less powerful systems. Ylnot everyone is playing at 4k 144fps of 1440p 300fps. Most people are quite happy with 60fps. And 1080p. Or 720p. Sometimes.
Like me. Just got a gaming laptop with a 3060 and a 144 Hz 1080p monitor and can play nearly everything on Ultra Settings. Was looking for a 3080, but like the GPU market, all the 3080 laptops are always out of stock. But I didn't break the bank, so that's a plus. I do enjoy the Ryzen 9 in this thing though. Makes everything I do scream.
 

Ur_Mom

Fully [H]
Joined
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Messages
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The only chronic disconnect is people that don't recognize the deliberate bravado and often sarcastic attitude the veteran's of this forum have. ;) It's not that members don't recognize that people game with less than the best, far from it actually. It's that there is always an emphasis on striving towards a better setup be it thru upgrades or modding what you got. That's how many members found this site. That's why the old website name was Hard Overclocker's Comparison Pages.



This chucklefuck is a prime example of what I'm talking about. Who let this guy out of GenMay again?!? He's leash trained and supposed to be supervised at all times.

Chucklefuck. LOL. That's a new one for me. :D
 

The Mad Atheist

[H]ard|Gawd
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Mar 9, 2018
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Just got my new laptop about a month ago 6c i7-10750h, 115w 2060 RTX, 1080P 144hz screen, 16GB so I should be good for awhile. Might go to 32GB RAM once I get the funds.

Been gaming on i3-370m, 8GB RAM, Radeon 5650m, 768P screen between 2010-2017. Planetside 2 on low gave me 15-30fps depending player count. Crysis 3 was barely playable, and Shadow Warrior 2 was enjoyable at 10fps......

I have GTA 5 maxed with low anti jaggy what you call it, PS2 max-ish, both run butter smooth. Outriders runs well max-ish also.
 

staknhalo

[H]ard|Gawd
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I was on a 3570k since Feb 2013 till this past April

I'm on a 5950x now but because I needed to encode 4k BR - gaming was secondary to this cause in my CPU decision

With how long I tend to go in between upgrades though I would have gone 5900x probably for some future proofing even just for gaming
 

Endgame

Gawd
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Jan 10, 2007
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My Buddy just updated his kids machine to a i7 990X from a i7 920. The 990X is 6 cores, so he is totally set. Right? :D
 

Lumpus

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 2, 2005
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385
I think the conventional wisdom is: take however many cores your cpu has now - then plan to add two more :LOL:
/just upgraded from the 2700X to a 5900X so I hope I can skip the next product cycle or two
 

Aurelius

2[H]4U
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This has a very "640K should be enough for everybody" vibe (I know Bill Gates didn't really say that, but still).

Eight cores may sound like plenty now, but flash forward ten years and I won't be surprised if you should have at least 16. It all depends on how game tech evolves.
 

DanNeely

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This has a very "640K should be enough for everybody" vibe (I know Bill Gates didn't really say that, but still).

Eight cores may sound like plenty now, but flash forward ten years and I won't be surprised if you should have at least 16. It all depends on how game tech evolves.
Eventually, but at least for the next half dozen years or so, I suspect the current generation of consoles will anchor it at 8(16); unless you're also doing something else resource intensive at the same time (eg streaming).
 

D-EJ915

[H]ard|Gawd
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Especially since it’s OC’d to 4.6 ghz.

that is, I’m not really sure the heat output is much different than top end rocket lake.
probably similar for most things though the huge core area makes them easier to cool
 

OutOfPhase

2[H]4U
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Eventually, but at least for the next half dozen years or so, I suspect the current generation of consoles will anchor it at 8(16); unless you're also doing something else resource intensive at the same time (eg streaming).
Exactly. I hope folks don't take the general ~8C/16T recommendation as anything beyond what it is: something which will work great for a good spell. That's the question asked, that's the answer.

I think it would be absurd to try to predict more than a few years out. I have personal thoughts that I think the reality of most software is far less parallel than most wish it is, but that's an entirely different thread and topic.
 

Axman

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I think it would be absurd to try to predict more than a few years out. I have personal thoughts that I think the reality of most software is far less parallel than most wish it is, but that's an entirely different thread and topic.

I dunno, it may be very relevant. It seemed like 4c/8th held out for about 8 years, and to a lesser extent 4c/4th. I doubt it will be too surprising if 8c/16th lasts as long, or nearly as long, but I will bet that what passes for clock speeds and IPC today might not be enough to hang on for the same length of time.

People have been overstating the relevance of parallel processing for the past 25 years, and that I totally agree, is unlikely to change by much. I mean, in the past 20 years we've gone from one core is fine, two is future-proof, to four is fine, extra threads is future-proof, to today where four cores is minimum, six cores is fine, and eight cores is future-proof. At a time when we already have 16-core desktop parts with even more on the HEDT.

Then again, what counts as an 8-core CPU 8 years from now might be totally different. We're already seeing the return of coprocessors. Like, in 2028 or 2029, an 8-core CPU might still be the ticket, at least for low-end machines, but not one of those old-timey ones. You gotta get a modern 8-core, 32-thread XPU with full-time all-wheel drive accelerators. Duh.
 

HeadRusch

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This has a very "640K should be enough for everybody" vibe (I know Bill Gates didn't really say that, but still).

Eight cores may sound like plenty now, but flash forward ten years and I won't be surprised if you should have at least 16. It all depends on how game tech evolves.

The way we see games scaling across cores, and it's pathetic, we have to accept that we may simply not yet be smart enough (or rather we're smart enough, but who has the time to fully devote to creating their game to scale linearly across X number of cores, which is the dream.....). This is one of those situations where a good AI would help out, basically becoming the process manager to figure out how to better optimize core usage as those cores scale. But since cores run at different speeds, sometimes in the nanoseconds right, it's always going to be a moving target to say "you should see this amount of performance, generally". Too many times people take things straight-up literally..."why doesn't my PC get 87 FPS like the review did, I'm only getting 84 fps, this is bullshit!" etc. Well your PC was busy updating Pandora in the back ground or...some shit like that.....your anti-malware was running because you can't lay off the foreign pr0n sites, and on and on it goes.

So all of that is to say: I agree with you but right now 4 or 8 cores seems to be plenty to keep you in the game if you are not shooting for [H] levels, which these days is sort of a Money over Matter argument....which is when you spend all the monies even though the extra performance doesn't really matter........My formerly 4k/60 rig is now a 1440p/60-ish rig on newer titles, but I'm ok with that cuz all the games are shite lately :) Your mileage may vary. Side effects including nausea, vomiting, and explosive diarrhea may occur, so talk to your doctor to find out if 12 Cores are right for you.
 

kamxam

[H]ard|Gawd
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Mar 2, 2005
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Running a 3970 TR so 32 cores for me. (Got it on Ebay slightly used for about $1400 and been running perfect so far) Have 64GB of Ram but may go up to 128GB eventually. As for why? Because i can! :geek:
 

staknhalo

[H]ard|Gawd
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Yeah I didn't need 64GB either really in this build for any of my use cases (encoding & gaming), I just liked the idea of my core count and ram count each neatly going up x4 from previous build lol
 
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DPI

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"how is this thread still going when everyone knows it's 64 fucking cores" --Little old lady on Solitaire

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Task Manager 3990X - Copy_575px.jpg
 
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bl4ckb1rd

Weaksauce
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Feb 19, 2021
Messages
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Intel 6 Core i5-9400F, i5 10400f and i5 11400f are better than mine 8 Core 2700x in gaming, This is proof that no more than 6 cores are needed, the clock is much more important.
 

Direkt

Weaksauce
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Switching from my (super) old 2500k to a 3700x sure made a ton of difference for me. Even with an old GPU.
 
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