Question Multi-Threaded CPU Real-World Gaming Performance

bigmacsa

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Dec 5, 2017
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I've been looking at reviews between the 2600x and the 9400F for a friend and wanted to suggest the 9400F as it is probably a gaming only PC and the 9400F seems to be just a hair faster for gaming and a bit cheaper as well.

Here's where I struggle to suggest ditching multi-threading though, as I don't know exactly how PC's process everything or exactly the difference between threads and raw cores...

Pretty much everyone benchmarks a CPU's gaming performance by shutting down every task possible on a fresh install of windows and only running the gaming benchmark. While I understand the importance of this for benchmarking sake, doesn't that mean we get skewed real-world results? I can't imagine that most people only play games with nothing running in the background.

For example:
web browser with a bunch of tabs open,
voice chat software,
lurking twitch streamers while gaming,
music streaming,
game hubs like steam, blizzard, origin, epic games,
in-game overlays such as steam, and discord,
peripheral software,
all the random background processes that are accumulated on real world pc's instead of a fresh install,
background updates,
maybe even game downloading while you're playing something else...

Don't any (if not all) of these things bog down single core performance and would therefore benefit real world gaming performance by adding multi-threading?

Correct me if I'm wrong but I would assume that even though the 9400F can pull ahead in gaming benchmarks it probably gets bogged down with real-world stuff that the 2600x could handle without a sweat?

Some extra questions: If true, how big of a margin are we talking? would a couple extra raw cores instead of multi-threading be better for such real-world gaming? Does same-pc streaming on twitch handle better with more raw cores or with multi-threading?

I'm really hoping for the super detailed nerdy in-depth responses with examples but everyone is appreciated thanks in advance for replies :)
 

ElectrO_90

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AMD I think offer you more because of the threads are being more and more used in modern games, so we are talking 6/12 vs 6/6
It can run tasks in the background all day without hindering performance as much as it would on an Intel system
 
Well, this is an interesting question! It all has to do with program use. Programs can sit idle and use very little CPU resources. In most cases they are harder on RAM than CPU. Now, the fun begins when those programs become active to do an update or virus scan, or even when everyone is screaming into their headsets during a raid gone bad. It is at these times that you notice the drain on resources on even a quad core with hyperthreading. The OS starts to take game resources and your framerate drops and the game stutters, or maybe even locks up.

Now, a 6 core CPU isn't going to have that many problems... but, for the usage that you are talking about, the lurking streamers, or downloading... well, the more threads the better. If you were installing a game in the background it could eat up all CPU resources. Game clients generally use compression to save on bandwidth. Decompressing something like a Steam game is heavy on CPU usage. Decompressing and playing video is not as heavy but it can saturate two cores pretty easily.

Now, I have a quad core i5 and the thing bogs down whenever anything is happening in the background on newer games. My i7 in my gaming laptop is 4c/8t and even it has issues from time to time with background tasks running, especially updates.

If you can keep the background tasks under control the i5 will offer you a slightly faster gaming experience, but if you want to play that game, watch a twitch stream, and be able to download something in the background, Ryzen is really the way to go. It will handle multitasking tasks that would make the 9400F want to sit in the corner and cry.

As for hyperthreading/SMT, I go by the rule of thumb that 2 logical cores are about equal to one physical core. I don't have any hard numbers to back that up, it is just an observation I've had. I don't think anyone has hard numbers for the kinds of things you are looking for, and I think that is where reviewers are really dropping the ball.
 
I've been looking at reviews between the 2600x and the 9400F for a friend and wanted to suggest the 9400F as it is probably a gaming only PC and the 9400F seems to be just a hair faster for gaming and a bit cheaper as well.
Same speed with half the threads...
SMT in ryzen is commonly supposed to add 35-40% performance...

Modern games use all the threads at least to some extend,so no matter how many threads you have if you run stuff in the background they will interfere with the game threads,long gone are the days where games would use only 3 or 4 threads and would leave the rest of the CPU empty to run your background stuff on.
You can have a look at gamegpu.com they show CPU usage per thread for all the games they test.

A lot of the things you mention as background apps use up your bandwidth and destroy your ping, again it doesn't matter how many threads you have, worsening your ping will produce stutter and bad framerates.
 

MasterMadBones

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Dec 26, 2012
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As for hyperthreading/SMT, I go by the rule of thumb that 2 logical cores are about equal to one physical core. I don't have any hard numbers to back that up, it is just an observation I've had. I don't think anyone has hard numbers for the kinds of things you are looking for, and I think that is where reviewers are really dropping the ball.
Depending on how much use a program is able to make of them, 2 logical cores deliver around 30% more performance than one physical core with SMT or HTT disabled as a rule of thumb, and in some rare cases, performance is doubled. AMD's SMT also seems slightly more efficient than Intel's, with more gained performance on average and, most notably, a smaller performance impact to single threaded SMT-unaware software (mostly due to some benchmarks inexplicably improving under SMT while suffering under HTT).
Source: https://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/74880-amd-ryzen-7-1700x-review-testing-smt.html

There is another distinct advantage to SMT/HTT and although it's not as much of an issue with today's multi-core CPUs, it can improve overall system responsiveness, especially under load. Back in the days of Pentium 4, HTT only improved performance by 5-10% in very specific workloads, and single threaded performance dropped by as much as 30%. However, enabling HTT made the system significantly more responsive.

A lot of the things you mention as background apps use up your bandwidth and destroy your ping, again it doesn't matter how many threads you have, worsening your ping will produce stutter and bad framerates.
This really depends on your ISP and contract. In my case, the difference is unnoticeable.
 
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spencer.cleaves2

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Jan 5, 2019
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As far as current CPUs go (based on recent discoveries) it might be a better idea to go with the Ryzen CPU just because of the security flaws found with Intel CPUs and primarily their Hyper Threading. According to what I have read, if you want to keep you Intel CPU secure right now, you need to disable Hyper Threading which will hinder the performance of an Intel CPU quite a bit. If you set aside the security issues, both of them are pretty comparable but with the 2600X you do get 6 cores/12 threads as oppose to 6 cores/6 threads with the 9400F. Obviously Intel does have more efficient single core performance but whats the point of the more efficient performance when you can't use Hyper Threading? I would go with AMD just off the information I've read over the last couple weeks, but it is entirely up to you. You probably wont have anyone taking advantage of your buddies gaming computer with the security vulnerability because hackers generally would want to attack something larger scale then your friends bank account, but the possibility is still there. Hope this helps
 
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