If you wish to play single-player or online multiplayer PC games, it is highly important that you have a powerful enough machine for the same.
This is true for both gaming laptops as well as gaming PCs that you might be using for your PC gaming needs.
Also read: How much does it cost to build a gaming PC
To ensure a smooth and fun gaming experience, you simply need to have powerful hardware inside your computer. And when it comes to computer hardware, you have to consider everything like the CPU, GPU, RAM, storage, and various other things.
And while all of these things are equally important, having the right CPU in your computer is required for gaming as well as other tasks.
For choosing a powerful enough CPU or processor for your gaming PC, you can consider checking its various specifications and factors.
This includes things like the clock speed, cache, TDP, and the cores offered by it. Speaking of the CPU cores, if you are unfamiliar with the same and cannot choose the right amount of cores needed for gaming, then we are here to help you.
We will show you all the details you need to know regarding how many cores do I need for gaming down below.
You can simply check out the following factors one by one to learn everything about CPUs and CPU cores when it comes to gaming computers:
What is a CPU core?
Before taking a look at the performance differences between different processors with different CPU cores, you should also know about the basics of CPU cores and the functionality they offer.
One easy way to understand the function of the CPU core is to consider them as the component of your computer’s processor which determines its multitasking performance. This also determines the speed of the CPU.
Unlike older computer processors, modern computers come with multiple cores that can handle a large number of tasks at once. To better understand the functioning of CPU cores, you can consider them as a smaller CPU within your computer’s processor.
In other words, if a given CPU has 4 cores, it essentially acts as 4 processors within a single unit for better multitasking performance.
1. Single-Core vs Multi-Core Gaming Performance
Now that you know more about CPU cores and their functions, let us take a look at how PC games behave between single-core and multi-core computers. In general, it is considered that games rely primarily on either a single or two cores at a time for running the game at optimum performance levels.
Although, as modern computer processors come with 8 cores, 12 cores, and even 16 cores, games have slowly started to make a switch. Due to this, some modern games can also take advantage of the extra cores of your computer for improved gaming performance.
2. Physical vs Logical Cores
While getting a new laptop or choosing the right CPU for your gaming desktop, you will come across both physical as well as logical cores.
For example, you can find CPU models with 8 cores and 16 threads where the former are physical cores and the latter are logical cores. Thanks to logical cores, a single physical core is able to act as two cores for even better multitasking performance.
How many Cores do I Need for Gaming?
After checking out the various information regarding processors and their cores present above, you must have a decent idea about their performance as well as importance.
Coming to playing games on your computer, you should also know how the cores of your processor will affect your gaming performance. This is highly important when you are getting a new gaming PC or a gaming laptop and want to get the performance out of it.
A few years back, it was considered that anything above 4 cores was simply overkilled when it comes to pure gaming performance. But with the recent improvements in both AMD and Intel processors in terms of their core count, things have changed quite a lot.
These days, even budget processors come with 6 cores or more. Due to this, a lot of modern games can benefit a lot from multiple cores.
Starting with budget options, a quad-core CPU is still decent to get started with gaming on your computer.
Although, you will not be getting the best performance out of your gaming PC especially if it has a high-end graphics card. Not only that but a quad-core CPU is quite limited when it comes to multitasking alongside gaming.
This can include running a browser, Spotify, discord, and possibly a live stream alongside your games.
Moving over to one of the best value-for-money options, modern 6 core CPUs are just perfect for gaming. These CPUs offer excellent single-core performance along with a decent number of cores and threads which get fully used by modern games.
In fact, you can also multitask pretty well with such a CPU for things like using discord, playing music, or live streaming your gameplay. With a 6 core CPU, you can get the full performance out of even most high-end cards without any bottleneck issues especially if you are using high resolutions like 1440p or 4K UHD.
Those of you who do not have any budget restrictions can with higher-end 8 core, 12 core, and even 16 core CPU options. While these gaming CPUs do not offer much benefit over a 6 core CPU when you are talking about gaming, you can certainly consider them if you wish to use your computer for much more than just gaming.
Whether you are into photo editing, video editing, 3D design, simulations, or any other type of workstation use, you will surely get a huge performance upgrade with such high-core processors.
Similar to 6 core CPU models, these ones are also perfect for getting the most out of your high-end graphics card.
With all these details and information regarding CPU cores in your mind, you can surely pick the right gaming CPU for you. To make sure that you are getting something future-proof and versatile in terms of both multitasking as well as value for money, a 6 core CPU is going to be just perfect for most especially when you consider its improvement over a 4 core CPU. Even though 8 cores or more are great for workstation usage, they do not offer much when it comes to gaming.