[SOLVED] Whats the max core/thread for gaming?

sodium.in.toilet

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At what point do cores and threads start becoming useless for gaming? Im wanting to upgrade my i5 7640x to something way bigger like the 7900x. I find really good deals on used x299 cpus and it seems like the 7920x is usually cheaper. I understand that these cpus get slower for higher core counts and all that. Just out of curiosity, how would the 18 core 36 thread 7980XE do in gaming compared to the 7900x?

I already have a motherboard with 2 8 pin connections for the cpu, 1000w psu, and a 360mm aio, so I should have everything I need to upgrade.

Would it be worth getting the 10900x over the 7900x? I dont understand the difference.
 

Phaaze88

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My i5 is not skylake x, but how would I overclock the mesh bus? I havent seen anything in bios about that unless it's called something different because theres a bunch of things that I dont know anything about.
1)I know it's not - it's Kaby Lake-X - but you're talking about 'upgrading' to a Skylake-X part, which is going to be a side-grade in some cases, because if I remember correctly, Kaby Lake-X is ring bus.

2)It's no different than core clock OC'ing, and the gains aren't as great as the latter; it's better to focus on core clock OC'ing, and if there's some headroom left(there likely won't be), then you bump up the cache/uncore/mesh.
It's also motherboard dependent of which term is used; for Asus, it's cache.

3)It's been a few years since owning this cpu, but if I remember right, the NH-D15S was fine for my 7820X's 4.3ghz OC - 4.0ghz stock - under Prime 95, Small FFT, all AVX off... and pretty much nothing more...
The Silicon Lottery delid allowed for 4.4ghz - they had binned it for 4.6ghz.
Recently went all the way and direct die mounted + liquid metal + 360mm hybrid... and with some more tweaking, I'll be able to run 4.6ghz on this thing with more acceptable thermals.
You might have a little more to work with on the 7800X and the 9820X(because they soldered it), but anything else? :pfff:


I'm using 2400 ram
That's a bit low for Skylake-X...
 
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iiSlashr

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Those aren't really "good" gaming CPUs. Anything above 6 cores is mostly useless for gaming specifically right now. If you really want to upgrade, go Ryzen all the way.
 

sodium.in.toilet

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I get that its workstation stuff, but I just dont see how you can go wrong with 12 cores. I could always disable some of the cores and then try to get a high overclock on 6 or 8 cores or whatever I need. Temps may be an issue I dont know yet. I'm reading that alot of people can get 4.8 - 5 on 1.25v.
 
the defacto 'standard' now get 6c/12 t at least, and, many feel better with 8c/16t...

any modern CPU will be greased lightning compared to the 4c/4t 7640X (the 7900X was reasonably fast in gaming, but, drew like 150-200 watts at full load; more cores beyond that was indeed useless, and in fact, worse than useless, because the increased count mandated lowered clock speeds resulting in lower gaming performance)
 

Phaaze88

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What really makes Skylake-X such a mediocre gaming cpu is the slower mesh bus Intel uses on those compared to the faster ring one.
A)You have mainstream chips with cache/uncore(motherboard dependent) clocks of over 4.0ghz. The 6 and 8 core models have theirs at 2.7ghz, with the 10+ at 2.4ghz.

B)The mesh bus has higher latency than the ring bus. It was supposed to have an edge over ring in multi-threaded applications - or something like that - but it didn't work out like Intel had expected.
The workarounds were to OC the cache/uncore and use high speed memory, with the former making thermals even worse than they already are with Skylake-X.

C)I went through an adventure with my 7820X... and it's probably no better than a Ryzen 3700X. But I didn't get this for gaming - it was for an all-purpose machine, and to sate my curiosity of the HEDT platform.
 
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sodium.in.toilet

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What really makes Skylake-X such a mediocre gaming cpu is the slower mesh bus Intel uses on those compared to the faster ring one.
A)You have mainstream chips with cache/uncore(motherboard dependent) clocks of over 4.0ghz. The 6 and 8 core models have theirs at 2.7ghz, with the 10+ at 2.4ghz.

B)The mesh bus has higher latency than the ring bus. It was supposed to have an edge over ring in multi-threaded applications - or something like that - but it didn't work out like Intel had expected.
The workarounds were to OC the cache/uncore and use high speed memory, with the former making thermals even worse than they already are with Skylake-X.

C)I went through an adventure with my 7820X... and it's probably no better than a Ryzen 3700X. But I didn't get this for gaming - it was for an all-purpose machine, and to sate my curiosity of the HEDT platform.
My i5 is not skylake x, but how would I overclock the mesh bus? I havent seen anything in bios about that unless it's called something different because theres a bunch of things that I dont know anything about. I have mine oc to 5.1ghz 1.305v and I'm still at 55c under load so heat shouldn't be a problem. I'm using 2400 ram with 17-17-17-39 latency I guess it is. I play alot of call of duty and it's very cpu intensive especially warzone and my oc gave me 20+ extra fps.
 

sodium.in.toilet

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the defacto 'standard' now get 6c/12 t at least, and, many feel better with 8c/16t...

any modern CPU will be greased lightning compared to the 4c/4t 7640X (the 7900X was reasonably fast in gaming, but, drew like 150-200 watts at full load; more cores beyond that was indeed useless, and in fact, worse than useless, because the increased count mandated lowered clock speeds resulting in lower gaming performance)
I get a cinebench score of 740 which I assumed was pretty good. Since I dont have hyper threading does that mean only one thread is being utilized per task? I dont really understand what it does. 4 cores was pretty much the standard when I got this cpu and anything above that was way out of budget, the 7900x used to cost $1000 and now it can be found for $300 used which is pretty much what I paid for the i5.

But its definitely sad to see a $400 Lenovo ideapad with a 4c 4t i3 lol.
 
Games will be limited by the cpu or the graphics card.
It depends on the game.
Games such as sims, mmo and strategy games tend to be cpu limited.
Fast action games tend to be limited by the graphics card.

For cpu limited games, it is the single threaded performance of the master thread that is most limiting.
If you look up the passmark performance numbers of any processor, you will see how many threads it has, the total performance when all of those threads are fully utilized. There is a second single thread performance rating.
For example your I5-7600K has 4 threads and a rating of 6467.
The single thread rating os 2487.
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i5-7640X+@+4.00GHz&id=3045

A I9-7900K would get you 20 threads and a rating of 21386/2597.
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i9-7900X+@+3.30GHz&id=3035

A very big boost if you can effectively use more than 4 threads; a likely thing.
But, if your game were of the single threaded type, you would hardly see any difference.
I9-10900X would be a bit better:
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i9-10900X+@+3.70GHz&id=3633

If you favor multiplayer games with many participants, then many threads is a very good thing.

To do better with a modern processor, you will need a new motherboard
If you favor intel, a i5-10600K is 12 threads and 14673/2938
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i5-10600K+@+4.10GHz&id=3735

The new ryzen processors do not have a lot of user benchmarks yet, but they certainly look strong. (if you can find one to buy)
5600X is 12 threads and 22274/3398
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Ryzen+5+5600X&id=3859

Be careful how you interpret task manager cpu utilizations.
Windows will spread the activity of a single thread over all available threads.
So, if you had a game that was single threaded and cpu bound, it would show up on a quad core processor as 25%
utilization across all 4 threads.
leading you to think your bottleneck was elsewhere.
It turns our that few games can USEFULLY use more than 4-6 threads.

Here is an older study on thread count scaling.
 
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Phaaze88

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My i5 is not skylake x, but how would I overclock the mesh bus? I havent seen anything in bios about that unless it's called something different because theres a bunch of things that I dont know anything about.
1)I know it's not - it's Kaby Lake-X - but you're talking about 'upgrading' to a Skylake-X part, which is going to be a side-grade in some cases, because if I remember correctly, Kaby Lake-X is ring bus.

2)It's no different than core clock OC'ing, and the gains aren't as great as the latter; it's better to focus on core clock OC'ing, and if there's some headroom left(there likely won't be), then you bump up the cache/uncore/mesh.
It's also motherboard dependent of which term is used; for Asus, it's cache.

3)It's been a few years since owning this cpu, but if I remember right, the NH-D15S was fine for my 7820X's 4.3ghz OC - 4.0ghz stock - under Prime 95, Small FFT, all AVX off... and pretty much nothing more...
The Silicon Lottery delid allowed for 4.4ghz - they had binned it for 4.6ghz.
Recently went all the way and direct die mounted + liquid metal + 360mm hybrid... and with some more tweaking, I'll be able to run 4.6ghz on this thing with more acceptable thermals.
You might have a little more to work with on the 7800X and the 9820X(because they soldered it), but anything else? :pfff:


I'm using 2400 ram
That's a bit low for Skylake-X...
 
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sodium.in.toilet

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1)I know it's not - it's Kaby Lake-X - but you're talking about 'upgrading' to a Skylake-X part, which is going to be a side-grade in some cases, because if I remember correctly, Kaby Lake-X is ring bus.

2)It's no different than core clock OC'ing, and the gains aren't as great as the latter; it's better to focus on core clock OC'ing, and if there's some headroom left(there likely won't be), then you bump up the cache/uncore/mesh.
It's also motherboard dependent of which term is used; for Asus, it's cache.

3)It's been a few years since owning this cpu, but if I remember right, the NH-D15S was fine for my 7820X's 4.3ghz OC - 4.0ghz stock - under Prime 95, Small FFT, all AVX off... and pretty much nothing more...
The Silicon Lottery delid allowed for 4.4ghz - they had binned it for 4.6ghz.
Recently went all the way and direct die mounted + liquid metal + 360mm hybrid... and with some more tweaking, I'll be able to run 4.6ghz on this thing with more acceptable thermals.
You might have a little more to work with on the 7800X and the 9820X(because they soldered it), but anything else? :pfff:



That's a bit low for Skylake-X...
What kind of voltage should I give the cache and mesh? On my 7640x that died, I accidentally set cache voltage to 1.3 because I thought it was core, which allowed me to set the cache to 4.9. I kind of think that might be why it died because I just left it on 1.3. On my new 7640x I can go to 5.1 on core but it crashes when i set cache to 4.6.

By uncore, do you mean disabling some of the cores? If so, what advantage would that have? Do you mean uncore on the 7900x and not the 7640x?
 

Phaaze88

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@sodium.in.toilet
I've no idea, because Kaby Lake-X and Skylake-X have different voltage settings and requirements. It's also why some people killed their chips when upgrading:
If the user is upgrading from KL-X to SL-X and does not clear CMOS before booting with the new cpu, then it's as good as gone.

By uncore, do you mean disabling some of the cores?
No.
Uncore/cache/mesh can mean the same thing depending on the board vendor. Don't ask me why they didn't all agree on one term. It makes it needlessly confusing.
You're better off leaving that alone anyway, there's more to be gained focusing on core clock + ram speed... after that, there likely isn't any room for tinkering with uncore/cache/mesh in regards to thermals.

Do you mean uncore on the 7900x and not the 7640x?
All SL-X parts. KL-X still runs the ring bus like all the other mainstream chips do, so it doesn't have that low uncore/cache/mesh clock.
 

Karadjgne

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I7 3770k. That's 4c/8t oc'd to 4.6GHz. Playing a 7 year old Starwars game online in single player mode, it's good for 90+ fps. Fine for my 1080p 60Hz monitors. In multi-player mode, 8-man Operations, still getting 60+ fps. 16-man Op's and its dropping into the 30-40 fps range. Minimum cpu settings in a 24-man World Boss fight gets me 5-10 fps.

The lower IPC, and maxed out thread count with that amount of Ai just kills fps output. And that's what you'll run into with many x299 cpus, they simply weren't designed for that kind of computing. They might have the threads, but single thread performance is relatively weak, you get much better results from a mainstream cpu such as the 10700k or R7 Ryzens, than the x299's or Threadrippers.
 

sodium.in.toilet

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I7 3770k. That's 4c/8t oc'd to 4.6GHz. Playing a 7 year old Starwars game online in single player mode, it's good for 90+ fps. Fine for my 1080p 60Hz monitors. In multi-player mode, 8-man Operations, still getting 60+ fps. 16-man Op's and its dropping into the 30-40 fps range. Minimum cpu settings in a 24-man World Boss fight gets me 5-10 fps.

The lower IPC, and maxed out thread count with that amount of Ai just kills fps output. And that's what you'll run into with many x299 cpus, they simply weren't designed for that kind of computing. They might have the threads, but single thread performance is relatively weak, you get much better results from a mainstream cpu such as the 10700k or R7 Ryzens, than the x299's or Threadrippers.
I'm currently using a 60hz monitor so 60fps is all I need right now but I get 80fps with v sync turned off. On cold war I get solid 60fps on multiplayer. But when I go to zombies mode, which is basically just a bunch of AI, my fps drops as more zombies come out. I thought it was a glitch because it's a new game. That really gives me an idea of what people mean by x299 being bad for gaming.
 

Karadjgne

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Yep, multi-player is all about Ai strength, which is a combination of raw power, single thread speeds, IPC, multi-thread ability. It's there that the top line Intel 10th Gen excel, even the 10600k is no slouch, and the r7/r9 Ryzens are right on their heels.

The TR/x299 platforms are more brute thread power, but are somewhat lacking in the single thread power.
 

iiSlashr

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I'm currently using a 60hz monitor so 60fps is all I need right now but I get 80fps with v sync turned off. On cold war I get solid 60fps on multiplayer. But when I go to zombies mode, which is basically just a bunch of AI, my fps drops as more zombies come out. I thought it was a glitch because it's a new game. That really gives me an idea of what people mean by x299 being bad for gaming.
Truth of the matter is, your CPU is outdated, has a low core count by modern standards, slow clocks, and high power consumption. If you really want better performance, you'll probably have to move to a consumer platform like B550/X570 or Z490. At that point, even a 10600K or 5600X (preferably) would significantly outperform the 7640X.
 

sodium.in.toilet

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Truth of the matter is, your CPU is outdated, has a low core count by modern standards, slow clocks, and high power consumption. If you really want better performance, you'll probably have to move to a consumer platform like B550/X570 or Z490. At that point, even a 10600K or 5600X (preferably) would significantly outperform the 7640X.
Do all of those chipsets have i9s? I'm trying to get a good cpu so that I can pair it with a 3070 or 6800 whenever they become available. I can get a 7900x for $320 so spending more than that for a similar performing cpu and motherboard doesnt sound very good. I also might need new ram for that. Do you know the general price of those cpus? That stuff is so confusing to me.
 

sodium.in.toilet

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Yep, multi-player is all about Ai strength, which is a combination of raw power, single thread speeds, IPC, multi-thread ability. It's there that the top line Intel 10th Gen excel, even the 10600k is no slouch, and the r7/r9 Ryzens are right on their heels.

The TR/x299 platforms are more brute thread power, but are somewhat lacking in the single thread power.
What's the difference between 10th gen and 7th gen? Like for x299 theres the 7900x and 10900x which both have the same specs, the 10900x has a slightly bigger cache I believe.
 

Phaaze88

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Probably the biggest differences between 7900X and 10900X, is that the latter:
-was soldered, improving thermal transfer. Still not a 'cool' chip though.
-supports a crap ton higher ram capacity; 128GB Vs 256GB
-is further refined on the 14nm process, so it should just be better out of the box.
-supports 4 extra PCIe lanes; 48 Vs 44.
 

sodium.in.toilet

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Probably the biggest differences between 7900X and 10900X, is that the latter:
-was soldered, improving thermal transfer. Still not a 'cool' chip though.
-supports a crap ton higher ram capacity; 128GB Vs 256GB
-is further refined on the 14nm process, so it should just be better out of the box.
-supports 4 extra PCIe lanes; 48 Vs 44.
The 7900x can be found for $320 used and the cheapest I've seen on the 10900x is $530 new on amazon. Would you say its worth the extra $200? But at the same time I could probably do a whole platform change for $530. The 9800x is looking pretty good too but it's not very cheap.
 

Karadjgne

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Difference between 7th and 10th? Depends on how you look at it. They are both skylake cpus. However, 8th was refined and it stopped there. 9th was blown up and 10th is a mix of everything. The biggest difference to me is AMD's influence. 9th gen saw a limit on HT, the I5-9600k a straight 6 cores, I7-9700k was a straight 8 cores, the 9900k/s the same thing plus HT, 8+8. 10th Gen saw the i5-10600k with HT, 6+6, the i7-10700k 8+8 and i9-10900k with 10+10. All of which are tweaked to be better than 9th gen in speeds, power consumption, heat output.

The 9900k/s with nothing more than a all core turbo OC would hit 250w, meaning if you had a use for that kind of power, bring on the big AIO's or custom loop, even big air not being sufficient.

I'd not buy 9th gen now, if on a serious budget I'd go i7 in 7th/8th or if stretching the budget jump to 10th. 9th is too much the middle-man with too many drawbacks comparatively.
 
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Here is an older study on thread count scaling.
That's a really old study though, from 2014. Game developers weren't targeting more than quad-core processors then, because that's all Intel made available to their mainstream platforms. Higher thread counts have been the norm for new gaming systems since 2017, and developers are now focused on processors with more than just four threads for optimal performance.

Currently, I agree with the suggestion that a 6-core, 12-thread processor is a good option to go with, and an 8-core, 16-thread processor may show some benefits in games years down the line, even if they don't offer much more for gaming performance today. Of course, that also depends on how much performance each core has to offer, and how good its SMT implementation is. A 6-core, 12-thread Ryzen 5600X, for example, can often roughly match or in some cases outperform other stock 8-core, 16-thread processors even in multithreaded workloads. What matters most for those kinds of workloads is how much total performance is available, not necessarily the specific number of threads.

Aim for 8 cores 16 threads . New Xbox series X and PS5 both have 8cores 16 threads Ryzen 2 CPU . so expect All games in the near future to use 16 threads.
While the processors of the new consoles do provide that many threads, not all of them are available to developers, as at least a couple are dedicated to the OS. The CPU clock rates of the Series X are also limited to only 3.66GHz in games utilizing SMT, and are a bit lower still for the PS5. So despite utilizing the Zen 2 architecture, performance should be more like a Zen 1 processor. So, probably more like a Ryzen 2700X with one of its cores inaccessible. The use of GDDR6 for system memory makes comparisons a little less straightforward, but something like a 6-core, 12-thread Ryzen 3600 probably provides slightly better performance overall.
 

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