[SOLVED] Is six cores the sweet spot for gaming?

Barty1884

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Moderator
Every single game tested is at least 2-3 years old, with some stretching back as far as ~5 (Witcher and Fallout 4).

Newer games (think RDR2 etc.... and the newly released Flight Sim).... They'll benefit from much more than 6 cores.

However, it's all relative. Benchmarks are always performed to bring the most out of ay given component - so while there may be more performance available with an 8c/16t chip when paired with a 3080 (for example), the gap will be a heck of a lot closer with a more mid-range GPU (think 1070, 1650Super etc).

6 cores is likely the 'sweet' spot in the fact you should have a pretty enjoyable time in almost any game available today, where quad-cores may struggle in some.
 
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Barty1884

Titan
Moderator
Every single game tested is at least 2-3 years old, with some stretching back as far as ~5 (Witcher and Fallout 4).

Newer games (think RDR2 etc.... and the newly released Flight Sim).... They'll benefit from much more than 6 cores.

However, it's all relative. Benchmarks are always performed to bring the most out of ay given component - so while there may be more performance available with an 8c/16t chip when paired with a 3080 (for example), the gap will be a heck of a lot closer with a more mid-range GPU (think 1070, 1650Super etc).

6 cores is likely the 'sweet' spot in the fact you should have a pretty enjoyable time in almost any game available today, where quad-cores may struggle in some.
 
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Just watching a video of various games and the FPS difference between 4,6,8 cores.
6 and 8 no difference but both equally faster than 4 cores. Same setup for the tests except the CPU core number.
The difference is already pretty small and you forget that all CPUs run at the same clocks which doesn't tells you the whole story, a quad at 5Ghz for example might give you the same result at a 6 or 8 at only 4.2

I think it's more realistic to say that the price point of the 6 cores is the sweet spot for gaming right now.

Also yes to everything that barty said.
 
Just watching a video of various games and the FPS difference between 4,6,8 cores.
6 and 8 no difference but both equally faster than 4 cores. Same setup for the tests except the CPU core number.

View: https://youtu.be/AqBl9frFESI
Also not obvious in the youtube is how other things running alongside gaming can pull down on the CPU. People are increasingly streaming their gaming or recording it and have a Discord app open and maybe a few web browser tabs. Each of those things take their toll on CPU cores/threads available. So while 6 cores/12 threads is the sweet spot in terms of cost/performance, it's really true only for pure gaming.

If you do any of those things above, or consider that you might want to in the future, it can be a good idea to go for 8 core/16 thread since that's also such a bargain right now. Especially since It will only become more limiting as games become more multi-threaded. Even to the point of inefficiently so as game developers become lazier and lazier with optimizations in the face of excess computing power.
 
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Also not obvious in the youtube is how other things running alongside gaming can pull down on the CPU. People are increasingly streaming their gaming or recording it and have a Discord app open and maybe a few web browser tabs. Each of those things take their toll on CPU cores/threads available. So while 6 cores/12 threads is the sweet spot in terms of cost/performance, it's really true only for pure gaming.
Except for streaming all the other things only hit your internet connection or your ram and streaming can be done much better and much easier with the GPU.
Everything a normal user would leave open when gaming will not interfere with gaming.
Especially if you factor in that most people have a gpu that is already limiting the performance of the CPU so even with a 6 core CPU you will have headroom for background apps unless you run a 3080 at 1080 medium or something.
If you do any of those things above, or consider that you might want to in the future, it can be a good idea to go for 8 core/16 thread since that's also such a bargain right now. Especially since It will only become more limiting as games become more multi-threaded. Even to the point of inefficiently so as game developers become lazier and lazier with optimizations in the face of excess computing power.
The only reason devs started to do multithreading in games was because the jaguar cores had no chance in hell to run anything on a single core at usable speeds.
The new consoles will have zen cores that will be capable of running things so we might even see a decline in multithreading because as you said yourself devs are lazy and why should they do any multithreading if they don't have to?
 
... said yourself devs are lazy and why should they do any multithreading if they don't have to?
I think they'll do it because people want them to. Just look at the controversies surrounding FS2020: only using 4 threads, not even using DX12 (which enables greater thread utilization)! It's a major 'con' in many reviews even though the games pitiful optimizations bring 2080ti's to their knees at their optimal gaming resolution (meaning it's the GPU that bottlenecks).

And running things alongside gaming will just be getting more and more popular as we get the core/thread horsepower to make it possible. Those were just examples and I disagree that a web browser 'just hits the internet'; Chrome in particular (which includes the new Edge) starts using a lot of CPU threads when you keep tabs open (as can Firefox). I like referring to game forums and online walkthroughs when playing...it's a nice thing to not have to keep the browser clean when doing so. With the right processor I no longer have to kill it before running games as I used to.
 
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RodroX

Estimable
Just watching a video of various games and the FPS difference between 4,6,8 cores.
6 and 8 no difference but both equally faster than 4 cores. Same setup for the tests except the CPU core number.

View: https://youtu.be/AqBl9frFESI
Hi, first of all some of those games are really old, even the video is from may 2018, that over 2 years ago. As others stayed already, those benchmark do not really show the whole picture.

If you are only gaming in 2020 and not doing anything else, no discord, no browser, no streaming, nothing but the game you are runing, then you may get away with 6 cores/6 threads if you have one, for example the i5 9400/9600K.

If you are building new, and wana be on the safe side, get at least a 6 cores / 12 threads cpu like the Core i5 10400/10500/10600/etc. or the Ryzen 5 2600/3600/etc.

The Core i7 8700/K with its 6 cores / 12 threads, or the 9700/K/KF with its 8 cores are nice old cpus cause even today still have room to breath.
 
I think they'll do it because people want them to. Just look at the controversies surrounding FS2020: only using 4 threads, not even using DX12 (which enables greater thread utilization)! It's a major 'con' in many reviews even though the games pitiful optimizations bring 2080ti's to their knees at their optimal gaming resolution (meaning it's the GPU that bottlenecks).

And running things alongside gaming will just be getting more and more popular as we get the core/thread horsepower to make it possible. Those were just examples and I disagree that a web browser 'just hits the internet'; Chrome in particular (which includes the new Edge) starts using a lot of CPU threads when you keep tabs open (as can Firefox). I like referring to game forums and online walkthroughs when playing...it's a nice thing to not have to keep the browser clean when doing so. With the right processor I no longer have to kill it before running games as I used to.
Simulator games will always only tax one core that's how they work, adding dx12 to fs2020 will have minimal impact if any at all.
To stay as realistic as possible everything has to re-act to what you are doing, if you have everything just run on other threads you get situations like in far cry 5 where you are trying to talk to an npc and all the factions of the game, including all the animals, would come at you all at once because every AI was running on its own without checking for what the others were doing.

While your browser starts thousands of threads a thread that is doing nothing is nothing amount of CPU workload, chrome only hits your ram and that can be pagefiled.
If one of the tabs crashes then it will make that core go to 100% usage but that's a different story altogether.
 

logainofhades

Titan
Moderator
6c/12t is the sweet spot, for gaming, currently. Games really don't leverage much more than that, for the most part. I wouldn't bother going with anything above an 8c/16t, like a Ryzen 3700x, or an i7 10700k, for a gaming machine.
 

hotaru.hino

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Simulator games will always only tax one core that's how they work, adding dx12 to fs2020 will have minimal impact if any at all.
To stay as realistic as possible everything has to re-act to what you are doing, if you have everything just run on other threads you get situations like in far cry 5 where you are trying to talk to an npc and all the factions of the game, including all the animals, would come at you all at once because every AI was running on its own without checking for what the others were doing.
While it's true that a lot of games have it so the AI reacts to you, it's not true that they're running on a single core. You can make an AI system that reacts appropriately by having them all only react to the last state that was processed. The above just sounds like the game didn't set some flags correctly at the appropriate times.
 
While it's true that a lot of games have it so the AI reacts to you, it's not true that they're running on a single core. You can make an AI system that reacts appropriately by having them all only react to the last state that was processed. The above just sounds like the game didn't set some flags correctly at the appropriate times.
Think about it, how do you get the last state, how can each thread know which the last state is? They would have to wait for the main thread to tell them which the last state is, to set the flag as you say, which completely negates the multithreading.

In an action game people don't specially mind that, they have a good laugh at the companies expense and that's it but for a serious simulator that would be really catastrophic.
 

hotaru.hino

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Think about it, how do you get the last state, how can each thread know which the last state is? They would have to wait for the main thread to tell them which the last state is, to set the flag as you say, which completely negates the multithreading.

In an action game people don't specially mind that, they have a good laugh at the companies expense and that's it but for a serious simulator that would be really catastrophic.
The main thread doesn't need to tell AI what the last state was. It was computed, you know, in the last cycle. All the main thread has to do is save the state it processed and by the time the next cycle happens, it's ready to be read by anyone who needs it.
 

yaggaz

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Thanks for all the input.

About to upgrade to 10700k / z490 / 3000mhz 32 GB ram [from 2333mhz 16 GB ram]

I'm gonna run some benchmarks right before, upgrade and then see what sort of increase this combo will give on the same benchmarks.
 
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What do you mean run it like a console? Also, how could one have a PC and run it as anything other than a PC? :p
I run my rig purely for gaming. I have the os installed and that's basically it. No other apps no antivirus anti malware apart from what windows comes with. My son has exactly the same rig as mine but he uses it for gaming, homework, video editing, designing games a whole range of pc stuff. My rig takes several seconds to boot and when it's idle there's not a lot of resources used and the CPU sits almost idle. My son's on the other hand takes the best part of 5 mins to boot and even when idle with all the apps running in the background the CPU usage never drops below 40% the memory is always more than half load that's what I class as a pc. If he had 6 threads instead of 16 I doubt there would be much left in it for gaming.
 
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yaggaz

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I run my rig purely for gaming. I have the os installed and that's basically it. No other apps no antivirus anti malware apart from what windows comes with. My son has exactly the same rig as mine but he uses it for gaming, homework, video editing, designing games a whole range of pc stuff. My rig takes several seconds to boot and when it's idle there's not a lot of resources used and the CPU sits almost idle. My son's on the other hand takes the best part of 5 mins to boot and even when idle with all the apps running in the background the CPU usage never drops below 40% the memory is always more than half load that's what I class as a pc. If he had 6 threads instead of 16 I doubt there would be much left in it for gaming.
Oh okay I get where you're coming from now. I guess I'm somewhere in the middle. I try to make sure nothing is running in Task Manager at all except the bare essentials for gaming, [I hate how so many installed programs want to have some little TSR program floating about all the time] but at the same time still use the PC for the basics; printing work documents, email, surfing the net etc
 
I run my rig purely for gaming. I have the os installed and that's basically it. No other apps no antivirus anti malware apart from what windows comes with. My son has exactly the same rig as mine but he uses it for gaming, homework, video editing, designing games a whole range of pc stuff. My rig takes several seconds to boot and when it's idle there's not a lot of resources used and the CPU sits almost idle. My son's on the other hand takes the best part of 5 mins to boot and even when idle with all the apps running in the background the CPU usage never drops below 40% the memory is always more than half load that's what I class as a pc. If he had 6 threads instead of 16 I doubt there would be much left in it for gaming.
Have you seen a console lately?
They have a lot of stuff running on them from updates to social things and youtube netflix what have you.
It's not as bad as what your son does but it's also not the clean environment we used to think of when talking about consoles.
It was with the xbox360 and ps3 where during the later part of the consoles life the OS would get larger and larger.
 

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