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

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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

killster1

Diamond Member
Mar 15, 2007
5,910
375
126
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 thought facebook games used a decent amount of CPU? Even if you dont use the CPU 24 / 7 why does it matter if its a little overkill. I think desktops are for multi use. If its used for only word / browsing then it should be called something else. I checked with google hehe and its called a NETTOP.. what you guys are describing is not a desktop most people use desktops for some sort of games or other task. Even if its a flash game and sure they dont have to be more powerful than a nettop but people love snappy fast computers just look at how much people spend on phones. Why is a 600$ cpu expensive when you buy a 900$ cellphone?

If you dont want a fast computer then dont buy one. Why should there only be one price point for everyone? Seems like a silly question.

And if the price of cpu's are all the same would the answer be the same?
 
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wahdangun

Golden Member
Feb 3, 2011
1,007
146
106
If just Dev used that many core for something useful like better AI or for post processing or for better positional 3D audio.
 
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Midwayman

Diamond Member
Jan 28, 2000
5,723
325
126
I thought facebook games used a decent amount of CPU? Even if you dont use the CPU 24 / 7 why does it matter if its a little overkill. I think desktops are for multi use. If its used for only word / browsing then it should be called something else. I checked with google hehe and its called a NETTOP.. what you guys are describing is not a desktop most people use desktops for some sort of games or other task. Even if its a flash game and sure they dont have to be more powerful than a nettop but people love snappy fast computers just look at how much people spend on phones. Why is a 600$ cpu expensive when you buy a 900$ cellphone?

If you dont want a fast computer then dont buy one. Why should there only be one price point for everyone? Seems like a silly question.

And if the price of cpu's are all the same would the answer be the same?
Who said a 2 core had to be slow? No reason you couldn't have a coffee lake 2/4 @ 5ghz. Question is if that sort of stuff loads more than a core or two. Personally I think 4 is nice just for the smoothness factor with relatively heavy multitasking anyways. If you only keep a few things open its probably way less important.
 

killster1

Diamond Member
Mar 15, 2007
5,910
375
126
Who said a 2 core had to be slow? No reason you couldn't have a coffee lake 2/4 @ 5ghz. Question is if that sort of stuff loads more than a core or two. Personally I think 4 is nice just for the smoothness factor with relatively heavy multitasking anyways. If you only keep a few things open its probably way less important.
So if you did only one thing at a time and had this mythical 5ghz 2 core cpu i guess it would be ok. Kinda seems like you would need to run a different OS
 

Spjut

Senior member
Apr 9, 2011
899
85
91
If someone asks me specifically about a PC for just basic usage, I have a hard time motivating more than a 2C/4T CPU.

My slowest PC (primarily HTPC) right now uses a Q8400 and I still can't say I think it's slow. Modern GPUs also offload the CPU better with dedicated hardware for HEVC.
 

Asterox

Senior member
May 15, 2012
598
923
136
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 blue or red dilema or question, not important at all. The most important is CPU price=performance ratio, or who is not gone buy a mainstream 16/32 CPU for 300$ if he will be availible in the future?

- year 2011, Intel 4/4 CPU as new 200$ or i5 2500K, but if Intel give you 6/12 CPU for same price is this to much CPU performance in year 2011?:D

- year 2018, AMD 6/12 CPU as new 150$ or R5 1600


"In reality 8/16 CPU is to much performance for average PC user", but hey today you can buy 8/16 CPU for 220$.
 

Midwayman

Diamond Member
Jan 28, 2000
5,723
325
126
So if you did only one thing at a time and had this mythical 5ghz 2 core cpu i guess it would be ok. Kinda seems like you would need to run a different OS
Have you actually used a dual core recently? My work computer is a dual core i7. Its completely fine for web and office stuff. It only has a few issues on battery when the power plan is trying to throttle it all the time. Docked its fine with a very modest 2.6-3.4 ghz clock.

High clocked 2 cores not happening is mostly a marketing thing. They're not going to give you a top clocked chip at bargain prices. If you want clocks you end up with cores no matter if you need them or not these days. I guess at least with AMD you can just overclock just about any chip to the max stock frequency, well except for their Athlon 200GE, the single 2 core chip that appears to be multiplier locked. Go marketing!
 
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ZGR

Golden Member
Oct 26, 2012
1,866
284
126
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
I don't feel it is as dire as that. no Jaguar console can run PC ports at 144hz, yet here we are with AMD and Intel both able to easily do this.
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
9,460
1,566
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Have you actually used a dual core recently? My work computer is a dual core i7. Its completely fine for web and office stuff. It only has a few issues on battery when the power plan is trying to throttle it all the time. Docked its fine with a very modest 2.6-3.4 ghz clock.

High clocked 2 cores not happening is mostly a marketing thing. They're not going to give you a top clocked chip at bargain prices. If you want clocks you end up with cores no matter if you need them or not these days. I guess at least with AMD you can just overclock just about any chip to the max stock frequency, well except for their Athlon 200GE, the single 2 core chip that appears to be multiplier locked. Go marketing!
Coming out with with 2c/4t Ryzen APU does seem to be a bit backward step for AMD in 2018 and I thinking why bother?
 

Shmee

Memory and Storage, Graphics Cards
Super Moderator
Sep 13, 2008
5,265
957
126
In general, I would consider anything more than 8 cores to no longer be mainstream at present time. This could change in the future, but even then we are at a point where many programs would have trouble at 10c/20t or higher. I suppose this could also be changed in the future, possibly, with patches to software or OS.

Still, I fear many older games/programs would fail to run properly, as they may never be patched, and it would be the same as it is now with the game issue for threadripper 12c and greater.
 

NTMBK

Diamond Member
Nov 14, 2011
9,368
2,833
136
In general, I would consider anything more than 8 cores to no longer be mainstream at present time. This could change in the future, but even then we are at a point where many programs would have trouble at 10c/20t or higher. I suppose this could also be changed in the future, possibly, with patches to software or OS.

Still, I fear many older games/programs would fail to run properly, as they may never be patched, and it would be the same as it is now with the game issue for threadripper 12c and greater.
The issue with Threadripper isn't the core count as such, it's the NUMA nature of the chip. If a chip has lots of uniform cores, older software should run fine- it just won't utilise all those extra cores well.
 

Vattila

Senior member
Oct 22, 2004
644
852
136
Why are so many offering their own definition of mainstream? The OP makes it clear that by "mainstream" it is the desktop platforms offered by Intel and AMD that is meant, i.e. LGA1151 and AM4.

With that proviso, it makes no sense whatsoever to posit that 8 cores is "too much", since it is already offered by AMD, and soon will be offered by Intel as well, on their mainstream desktop platforms. And for many users of mainstream systems, such as myself (programmer), 8 cores at a reasonable price is very much welcome, and useful, hence not "too much".

So the only way to vote in this poll, in a way that makes any sense, is to treat it as a technical and economical question, and consider what would be "too much" for Intel and AMD to offer on their mainstream platforms. With faster DDR5, necessary to properly feed more than 8 cores, I think 16 cores is reasonable to expect in the time frame of the question (2019-2024).
 

DaveSimmons

Elite Member
Aug 12, 2001
40,730
670
126
A normal non-gaming user should have at least 2 cores for Windows so that when it decides to phone home, run AV, run application checks for updates, etc. there is still one free core for Chrome or Word or whatever. 4 cores will make things a little smoother overall if a user does something that needs more power at the same time as the OS decides to do something.

With 6-8 cores, 95+% of the time they would be sitting idle if threads weren't send to them by the OS. If you look at the overall load, they're useless. They're a luxury for that once in a blue moon when the user decides to two or more CPU-intensive things at once.

I picked 10 as "too many," but most people will be content with 2 and living in luxury with 4.

Why are so many offering their own definition of mainstream? The OP makes it clear that by "mainstream" it is the desktop platforms offered by Intel and AMD that is meant, i.e. LGA1151 and AM4.

With that proviso, it makes no sense whatsoever to posit that 8 cores is "too many", since it is already offered by AMD, and soon will be offered by Intel as well, on their mainstream desktop platforms. And for many users of mainstream systems, such as myself (programmer), 8 cores at a reasonable price is very much welcome, and useful, hence not "too much".
OP doesn't define his terms clearly. I took it to mean "too many to be useful or worth paying for" and "mainstream" as "typical home user or office worker"

The extra cores are far from free. $100 vs. $300+.
 
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Vattila

Senior member
Oct 22, 2004
644
852
136
OP doesn't define his terms clearly.
Well, he did define what is meant by "mainstream":
Assume a service time of the desktop from 2019 to 2024.....and by mainstream I mean sockets like LGA 1151 and AM4, etc.
I.e. how many cores are too much for LGA1151, AM4 and their successors, 2019-2024?

Treating this as a discussion of typical use is completely fruitless. My mainstream use case is probably completely different from yours, which is probably different to your grand mother's, which is probably different to Bill Clinton's, etc. Trying to arrive on consensus of the average or median use case is as hopeless as discussing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
 
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DeathReborn

Platinum Member
Oct 11, 2005
2,356
272
126
For mainstream Home/Office usage 4 Cores is plenty, throw in gaming/content creation then you would want 6/8 for mainstream.
 

Vattila

Senior member
Oct 22, 2004
644
852
136
For mainstream Home/Office usage 4 Cores is plenty, throw in gaming/content creation then you would want 6/8 for mainstream.
In 2024?

Even if that should be the case, do you think that will be the typical core count sold on mainstream platforms by then? More to the question, what would the maximum number of cores offered on mainstream platforms be? And what would be "too much", and why?

Those are the interesting questions.
 

DaveSimmons

Elite Member
Aug 12, 2001
40,730
670
126
Well, he did define what is meant by "mainstream":


I.e. how many cores are too much for LGA1151, AM4 and their successors, 2019-2024?

Treating this as a discussion of typical use is completely fruitless. My mainstream use case is probably completely different from yours, which is probably different to your grand mother's, which is probably different to Bill Clinton's, etc. Trying to arrive on consensus of the average or median use case is as hopeless as discussing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
Then "infinity" is the correct answer :)

Unless you specify a use case, budget or other constraints there is no reason to set any limit at all.

If money, need, power draw all mean nothing then why not 32 cores or 128 or 1024? I guess the limit would be what could be powered by a standard AC outlet?
 

Vattila

Senior member
Oct 22, 2004
644
852
136
Then "infinity" is the correct answer
No. There are economical and technical considerations. Those are interesting. What is "too much" for the typical use case for desktop (when typical computer use case today is mostly covered by smartphones) is not a very interesting or fruitful discussion.
 
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DaveSimmons

Elite Member
Aug 12, 2001
40,730
670
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No. There are economical and technical considerations. Those are interesting. What is the typical use case for desktop (when typical computer use case today is mostly covered by smartphones) is not a very interesting or fruitful discussion.
What specific economic and technical considerations?

"Too many" indicates some reason(s) to not offer more, but the first post doesn't indicate what reasons, metrics, constraints should be applied beyond listing a motherboard class and time frame. So we've had to add our own reasons like you've done.
 

Vattila

Senior member
Oct 22, 2004
644
852
136
"Too many" indicates some reason(s) to not offer more, but the first post doesn't indicate what reasons, metrics, constraints should be applied beyond listing a motherboard class and time frame. So we've had to add our own reasons like you've done.
Now we're getting somewhere.

So consider this, in my view, interesting question: What core count will the competition between Intel and AMD reach on their mainstream desktop platforms by 2024? What will limit it?

Then add one to that count and change your vote. :)
 

Vattila

Senior member
Oct 22, 2004
644
852
136
When we consider the mainstream desktop platform going into the future, we cannot view it as before. This market segment is rapidly shrinking, supplanted by smartphones, tablets, notebooks and all-in-ones, both at home and in the workplace. Very few need a bulky box dedicated to compute components to do what everyone here likes to argue over as "mainstream usage".

The only growing portion of the shrinking desktop segment is the enthusiast, content creator and gamer markets, i.e. users with need for high-performance computing. So the desktop segment, defined by that separate box of compute components, will more and more cater to power users — users that have a need for more cores.

The typical computer use cases are better served by other form factors.
 
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whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
9,460
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When we consider the mainstream desktop platform going into the future, we cannot view it as before. This market segment is rapidly shrinking, supplanted by smartphones, tablets, notebooks and all-in-ones, both at home and in the workplace. Very few need a bulky box dedicated to compute components to do what everyone here likes to argue over as "mainstream usage".

The only growing segment within the shrinking desktop segment is the enthusiast, content creator and gamer markets, i.e. users with need for high-performance computing. So the desktop segment, with that separate box of compute components, will more and more be defined by power users — users that have a need for more cores. All other use cases are better served by other form factors.
I for one hope that the desktop remains even for mainstream users as my main concern with using other form factors is that they tend toward being closed platforms if not already there.
 

DaveSimmons

Elite Member
Aug 12, 2001
40,730
670
126
I for one hope that the desktop remains even for mainstream users as my main concern with using other form factors is that they tend toward being closed platforms if not already there.
Laptops aren't going away any time soon, they just aren't desktops so outside the scope of the poll.

The only growing segment within the shrinking desktop segment is the enthusiast, content creator and gamer markets, i.e. users with need for high-performance computing. So the desktop segment, defined by that separate box of compute components, will more and more be dominated by power users — users that have a need for more cores.
I agree for home users, but businesses still prefer desktops for most office workers who don't travel. So I'd argue the desktop market is moving in the direction of (office workers) + (enthusiasts). One reason why sales continue to fall in business is that 5-year-old desktops are still good enough for office applications. That is, they don't buy PCs to upgrade only to replace dying PCs.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
51,711
6,762
126
I know that it's semi-OT for this thread, but consider cell phones, and what is "mainstream" (or "high-end mainstream"), which is basically octo-cores. Considering the relationship between desktop CPUs, and cell-phone application processors, can we use the trend in cell phones, to extrapolate the trend in desktop CPUs? Just a thought, food for discussion.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
51,711
6,762
126
One reason why sales continue to fall in business is that 5-year-old desktops are still good enough for office applications. That is, they don't buy PCs to upgrade only to replace dying PCs.
You probably know this better than I, but I was under the impression, that:
1) Most businesses "leased" PCs, not bought, and
2) Most of them were on a 3-year replacement cycle, although I could easily see a justification for that slowing.

I guess, I wonder about the "replacement rate", PCs that are five years old, versus three, and how many have failing fans, HDDs, PSUs, and the like, at those points in their lifespans.
 

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