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How many cores and threads do you think are too many for a mainstream desktop?

How many cores and threads do you think are too many for a mainstream desktop?

  • 6C/12T

    Votes: 9 6.9%
  • 8C/16T

    Votes: 17 13.1%
  • 10C/20T

    Votes: 41 31.5%
  • 12C/24T

    Votes: 13 10.0%
  • 14C/28T

    Votes: 2 1.5%
  • 16C/32T

    Votes: 5 3.8%
  • 18C/36T

    Votes: 16 12.3%
  • 20C/40T

    Votes: 1 0.8%
  • 22C/44T

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 24C/48T and greater

    Votes: 26 20.0%

  • Total voters
    130

cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
12,968
221
106
Assume a service time of the desktop from 2019 to 2024.....and by mainstream I mean sockets like LGA 1151 and AM4, etc.

NOTE: Voters can change votes
 

Vattila

Senior member
Oct 22, 2004
645
861
136
In the time frame you mentioned — 2019 to 2024 — I think it is reasonable to expect the option of up to, and including, 16 cores in the mainstream PC desktop segment — also considering the arrival of faster DDR5.

But AMD and Intel may not be keen to go much beyond that, especially since transistors are not shrinking as fast any more.

8 cores will probably work well for most usage, though.
 
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Markfw

CPU Moderator, VC&G Moderator, Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 16, 2002
21,563
9,627
136
Today and in the near future, more than 16 cores is NOT mainstream. When you can get 16 cores for $599 or less( the last ebay I saw went for $570 used perfect condition but it now), than 16 must be top end mainstream.
 
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SPBHM

Diamond Member
Sep 12, 2012
4,998
356
126
what do you mean by mainstream?

if it's what I thinking (most PCs, including office PCs, facebook people and some gamers) I think even by 2024 quad core will be extremely common, so perhaps going over 8 cores is not going to be all that great.

but... who knows, late 2000s people probably thought more cores would be more common than it actually is now because of lack of competition, but the current situation involves a competitive AMD, so it might push the adoption of more cores sooner.
 
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PeterScott

Platinum Member
Jul 7, 2017
2,605
1,540
106
What makes it too much? It's seems like a very ill defined question.

The real question is how much is enough?

For most of the mainstream it will likely be 4 cores for some time to come. Heck 2 cores will probably be enough for a significant portion, which is why AMD recently added the 2 core Ryzen segment.
 
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Kenmitch

Diamond Member
Oct 10, 1999
8,502
2,244
136
Whatever the highest core/thread count Intel chip the internet forums are pimping at the time. Can't vote really as it'll change as new offerings are available.
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
9,460
1,566
96
What makes it too much? It's seems like a very ill defined question.

The real question is how much is enough?

For most of the mainstream it will likely be 4 cores for some time to come. Heck 2 cores will probably be enough for a significant portion, which is why AMD recently added the 2 core Ryzen segment.
Well the 2c/4t Ryzen APU will serve for a cheap rig I wonder if this would be an example of penny wise and pound foolish?
 

PeterScott

Platinum Member
Jul 7, 2017
2,605
1,540
106
Well the 2c/4t Ryzen APU will serve for a cheap rig I wonder if this would be an example of penny wise and pound foolish?
I wouldn't recommend dual cores to my friends, but grannies Facebook computer really doesn't need more than 2C/4T. ;)

When you think about it, the average web/productivity/media consumption of most people doesn't need more than that.

I paid attention to what taxes my computer. To make any kind of CPU usage dent, even in my ancient C2Q, it's still really only Gaming or Video encoding that taxes more than two cores. The rest of the time I could probably be a on 2C/4T machine and not notice the difference.

Obviously people with more specialized uses can use more cores, but it probably isn't most people.
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
9,460
1,566
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I wouldn't recommend dual cores to my friends, but grannies Facebook computer really doesn't need more than 2C/4T. ;)

When you think about it, the average web/productivity/media consumption of most people doesn't need more than that.

I paid attention to what taxes my computer. To make any kind of CPU usage dent, even in my ancient C2Q, it's still really only Gaming or Video encoding that taxes more than two cores. The rest of the time I could probably be a on 2C/4T machine and not notice the difference.

Obviously people with more specialized uses can use more cores, but it probably isn't most people.
I'm of the thought that the minimum APU/CPU for a basic box should be at least have a 4c/4t one but however if one can build a basic Linux box for ~$300 or less, then it will do for someone who can't afford much. Something cheap to give a kid? Or for a kid to put together for a learning experience...
 

beginner99

Diamond Member
Jun 2, 2009
4,856
1,251
136
Since the title says "mainstream desktop" which implies a web, office email box I choose lowest one of 6 cores. Even dual-core is enough for these tasks and if you include gaming and transcoding I would not call it mainstream, anymore.
 

TheELF

Diamond Member
Dec 22, 2012
3,309
404
126
Since the title says "mainstream desktop" which implies a web, office email box I choose lowest one of 6 cores. Even dual-core is enough for these tasks and if you include gaming and transcoding I would not call it mainstream, anymore.
Mainstream transcoding is handled by qsv/nvenc/vce it's many times faster than even high core count CPUs.
Only gaming needs many cores and only because devs screw us over and reduce our cores into jaguar cores.
 

BSim500

Golden Member
Jun 5, 2013
1,480
214
106
Reminds me of what I posted a year ago regarding "Enthusiast vs Normal Person" and literally nothing has changed. "Mainstream" as OP posted needs clarification as most tech forum regulars are naturally enthusiasts (sampling bias) who are going to interpret the poll as "What new MOAR CORE toy did you buy recently for your AAA gaming rig that should now be declared the minimum for everyone for typing out a 6-page Word letter or watching cat videos that even a Pentium can manage". If mainstream = web / office boxes, then real-world mainstream is still +90% of the market = 2C/4T to 4C/4T CPU's, 4-8GB RAM, 1-4GB VRAM dGPU's and 720p-1080p displays. Everything above that is part of the single digit minority (as are us self-builders vs OEM pre-builts).

I paid attention to what taxes my computer. To make any kind of CPU usage dent, even in my ancient C2Q, it's still really only Gaming or Video encoding that taxes more than two cores. The rest of the time I could probably be a on 2C/4T machine and not notice the difference.
Not only that but video editing software itself has gotten a lot smarter. Eg, you record 2hrs of video then want to add "burned in" descriptive captions / annotations that take up a cumulative 5min. Old software needed the whole 2hrs recompressed if you changed even a single frame, newer smart encoding software is intelligent enough to just recompress only the chunks that have changed to the nearest before / after keyframes using the same resolution, frame-rate and profile, then seamlessly insert it into the original. End result, 2hrs -> 5-10mins work = a 12-24x speedup on every CPU, even if you were using the slowest possible software encoding method. As for Quicksync / ShadowPlay vs archival grade X264, big hint for people uploading to Youtube - it gets recompressed at their end anyway...

So the bottom line of what drives mainstream consumer CPU is all about AAA gaming, and even then for most cross-platform AAA games, mainstream = the 75-85% of console sales, not the 15-25% from PC's.
 
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TheELF

Diamond Member
Dec 22, 2012
3,309
404
126
He's basically saying that the developers do a poor job of porting (and optimizing) games to the PC from the consoles.
That's the gist of it,but no.
The developers USED to do a poor job of porting (and optimizing) games to the PC from the consoles back when consoles didn't run on x86/64 yet.
Nowadays they don't even port, it's exactly as I say they reduce our desktop cores to nothing more than jaguar cores,we run the exact same code that is made for CPUs that are extremely more "narrow" IPC wise.
Here is a recent example,BF V the part that is loading the game up is different due to consoles not using windows so we got one single thread using up about 1.60 IPC while only using up 1.6Ghz of cycles.

Now, in the game with 3 worker threads plus driver plus anything else the game only uses up 0.60 IPC while using 3.1Ghz,that's almost one third of the IPC of the single thread at almost twice the used cycles...
(Yes the previous one would be 0.80 at ~3Ghz cycles but it's still only one thread against 3+ )
The cores get reduced to jaguar levels,there is no other way to spin this.

PCM is a official intel tool to measure the amount of IPC that get's used by your CPU.
PCM (Processor Counter Monitor)
Intel site for info
https://software.intel.com/en-us/articles/intel-performance-counter-monitor
Github for downloading.
https://github.com/opcm/pcm

Edit: typos and descriptions
 
Last edited:
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mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
14,836
5,034
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Assume a service time of the desktop from 2019 to 2024.....and by mainstream I mean sockets like LGA 1151 and AM4, etc.
Flawed poll question, for reasons others have already pointed out, but also there's no way to know if/when the "next big thing" is going to come along. It could be some reason that resonates with the masses like say video editing, some bit of ground-breaking software that puts a lot more power in the layperson's hands, or some game, etc.

If I *had* to do a platform upgrade now, I think I'd be looking for a pricing sweet-spot around the Ryzen 2400G and some 6 core CPU, but unless my 4690k rig bursts into flames, I see no foreseeable reason to want to change it. If Cyperpunk 2077 crawls on it then I'd probably just do without it.
 

TeknoBug

Platinum Member
Oct 2, 2013
2,083
30
91
For typical daily surfing, chatting and gaming I think 8 cores max is all that's needed though a lot of games today still uses 1-2 cores but a growing number of new games are taking advantage of multithreading like Frostbite and Unreal4 engine. For most people, 4C/4T is good enough. Iif you want to stream while gaming or use VR, 4C/4T won't do.
 

Shivansps

Diamond Member
Sep 11, 2013
3,359
968
136
Well it depends on the task but 8/16 cores already allows for gaming and software encoding streaming. Thats top of the line in the gaming area.
For doing editing and more specialized stuff, 8/16 is also excellent.
For regular day tasks even 2/4 is enoght and it will be for some time.
8/16 is a lot for mainstream, it allows for doing stuff you needed to go HPC.

I would not go over 8C, i would improve AVX performance in case of AMD.

If they go over 8C, that fine, IF it comes whiout wierd stuff like using more than 1 NUMA node that hurt mainstream apps performance,
 

Midwayman

Diamond Member
Jan 28, 2000
5,723
325
126
Mainstream or what this board considers mainstream? I mean real mainstream, like that PC you buy down at best buy with no particular goal in mind. 6 cores is overkill for the foreseeable future. We might get more, but that'd be mostly to market something when we can make reasonable IPC and single threaded gains. Even if you're a gamer I don't see a need for more than 8 anytime soon. That still people looking at high end, but still consumer systems.
 

HutchinsonJC

Senior member
Apr 15, 2007
452
185
126
How many cores and threads do you think are too many for a mainstream desktop?

A mainstream desktop? Not a gaming desktop... Not an enthusiast desktop... not a compiling workstation... not 24/7 encoding workstation...

In my mind I'm imagining like we're putting a person in a chair to edit Microsoft Word documents, Excel sheets, having Outlook open the whole work day for emails... a few internet tabs opened. They'll use a proprietary program or two that are specific to the work environment/company: I'm thinking hospital staff and their database(s), banks with their bank teller program or their databases, state jobs and their various programs like job listing database, etc.

4 cores is all that's needed for most any of that. 6 if you really wanna have some extra room for the years to come. I sure ain't trying to upgrade nobody's computer to 8 cores when a quad core computer is likely sitting 80% idle through the work day. It's nice to have those 4 cores when multi tasking gets going with word, excel, a few internet tabs, antivirus running in the background etc all going at the same time. It provides a pretty smooth experience.

But seriously? A 12 core!? or More!? We aren't even gonna get close to needing that by 2024 for a "mainstream" desktop. I can't even begin to rationalize that for purchasing decisions going into the next 6 years.
 

arandomguy

Senior member
Sep 3, 2013
542
168
116
For this type of question I feel you need to somewhat define what the trade offs would be. If we leave it open ended with no trade offs then I'd even want infinite cores.

Realistically (and people might want to beat around the bush on this due to the resultant versus scenario) more cores is not going to come without a trade off. There is going to be more costs in terms of just both price and power. There is also the possibility (and very likely given the real world) that there will be a performance hit compared to lower core count processors in some work loads.
 

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