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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

mv2devnull

Golden Member
Apr 13, 2010
1,368
79
91
There is that scene in a movie, where someone essentially says that they have less than four, and the other replies: "that's two too many".

There was no such option on the poll, so the next (24C) will do (but nothing is too much for my darling).
 
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PotatoWithEarsOnSide

Senior member
Feb 23, 2017
664
700
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Expensive smartphones are only bough out of vanity, so I'm not entirely sure why they'd even be mentioned in this discussion.
If your usage is limited to social media, which for many it is, then you don't need a budget PC let alone an expensive smartphone. Any old smartphone serves the purpose.
All of those expensive phones with cracked screens make me chuckle. You can't get them fixed under warranty because your original charger cable broke within days of purchase, and was replaced with something sturdier.
 

Vattila

Senior member
Oct 22, 2004
628
766
136
I don't think anything about what I've posted here in this thread comes down to arguments of terminology and preferences. And I really think comparing it to degeneration is a bit much.
Sorry for being grumpy, and I wasn't targeting you. Your latest post is a nice discussion about what is typical mainstream use and what is sufficient for the mainstream, in that sense. However, it is hard to say much new about this topic — we've known for years and years that typical PC use requires relatively little processing power. The most taxing CPU task for the average user is probably displaying video and adverts on web pages.

Another view of the industry is what will be offered at a reasonable price, i.e. in the range we consider mainstream desktop today. Will we go beyond 8 cores on Ryzen 3000 next year? If so, when will Intel respond? By 2024, will 16 cores be offered by AMD and Intel in their mainstream desktop product lines? Will it go beyond 16 cores? If not, why not? What will limit what they will offer?
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
9,460
1,566
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Sorry for being grumpy, and I wasn't targeting you. Your latest post is a nice discussion about what is typical mainstream use and what is sufficient for the mainstream, in that sense. However, it is hard to say much new about this topic — we've known for years and years that typical PC use requires relatively little processing power. The most taxing CPU task for the average user is probably displaying video and adverts on web pages.

Another view of the industry is what will be offered at a reasonable price, i.e. in the range we consider mainstream desktop today. Will we go beyond 8 cores on Ryzen 3000 next year? If so, when will Intel respond? By 2024, will 16 cores be offered by AMD and Intel in their mainstream desktop product lines? Will it go beyond 16 cores? If not, why not? What will limit what they will offer?
I'm not sure we will see beyond 8 cores on a mainstream socket as power requirements and keeping the TDP within reasonable range will be a factor here. Of course DDR5 may change things a little allowing for more powerful iGPUs in a higher core APU/CPU.
 

Vattila

Senior member
Oct 22, 2004
628
766
136
I'm not sure we will see beyond 8 cores on a mainstream socket
Yeah. I used to confidently assume we would see a core-count increase on Ryzen 3000. Now, with the rumour that EPYC 2 uses eight 8-core CPU dies, I am doubting it. If the rumour is true, it seems likely that mainstream desktop will use just one of those dies. So next year we'll probably have a highly competitive 8-core option between Ryzen 3000 and Core i9. Those wanting more cores will have to look at HEDT.

So when will the mainstream desktop market move beyond 8 cores? It may take a very long time, since HEDT caters to those who need cores, and AMD is rapidly bringing down the entry price in that segment.
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
9,460
1,566
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Yeah. I used to confidently assume we would see a core-count increase on Ryzen 3000. Now, with the rumour that EPYC 2 uses eight 8-core CPU dies, I am doubting it. If the rumour is true, it seems likely that mainstream desktop will use just one of those dies. So next year we'll probably have a highly competitive 8-core option between Ryzen 3000 and Core i9. Those wanting more cores will have to look at HEDT.

So when will the mainstream desktop market move beyond 8 cores? It may take a very long time, since HEDT caters to those who need cores, and AMD is rapidly bringing down the entry price in that segment.
Unless someone releases a killer application that most people will use that can use as many cores/threads as you can throw at it, there would be no need for mainstream CPUs to have more then 8 cores.
 

Vattila

Senior member
Oct 22, 2004
628
766
136
Unless someone releases a killer application that most people will use that can use as many cores/threads as you can throw at it, there would be no need for mainstream CPUs to have more then 8 cores.
You make a very good point. For a very long time, 8-core may define the divide between mainstream and HEDT, and going forward we may see a migration of PC enthusiasts, i.e. users looking for high-performance, to the HEDT segment. I'll create a separate discussion thread on this topic.
 

monkeydelmagico

Diamond Member
Nov 16, 2011
3,961
144
106
Consider that the current average for gamers is a 4 core. Average lifespan on a PC is around 3-5 years. Current best sellers on Amazon and Walmart are i5's and Ryzen 5. It's gonna take years before "mainstream" is more than even 4 cores.
 
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whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
9,460
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Consider that the current average for gamers is a 4 core. Average lifespan on a PC is around 3-5 years. Current best sellers on Amazon and Walmart are i5's and Ryzen 5. It's gonna take years before "mainstream" is more than even 4 cores.
That is true and for many gamers such as myself, have to make do with what we already have for the time being. In my case it will two or three years before I can build a decent system again.
 
Feb 25, 2011
16,565
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Unless someone releases a killer application that most people will use that can use as many cores/threads as you can throw at it, there would be no need for mainstream CPUs to have more then 8 cores.
We used to say the same thing about dual-cores. The great C2D vs. C2Q debates of 2007 still echo in the halls of Valhalla.

And to this day, video transcoding and playing video games are still the two most CPU-intensive things most people do with their computer, antivirus software still eats a core when it's running, and there are still quite a few mostly-single-threaded-workloads that really benefit from running on a crazy-high-clocked CPU with fewer cores.

I guess multithreaded web browsers mean that a badly written web page can now hose ALL of your CPUs though, so that's a change.
 

HutchinsonJC

Senior member
Apr 15, 2007
442
175
126
Factors that could play into how mainstream core count changes in the future:

Price: almost goes without saying

Availability: If quad cores were to become nearly unavailable, and 6core was the new minimum, it would obviously have an effect on what sells as mainstream.

Advertisement: the GHz war favored Intel back in the days despite what IPC was doing for AMD. Could that reverse in a core war? Personally, I think most of the IT/enthusiast world is smarter than that this time around. And while enthusiasts are probably not in that mainstream market, they ARE sometimes the go to person for advice for the mainstream buyer.

Hardware Requirement: As above mentioned, if software came out that required more cores and this software was something that became almost as much of a requirement as word, excel, email, social media for the masses, that would have an obvious impact on what would be mainstream.
 
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maddie

Diamond Member
Jul 18, 2010
3,506
2,494
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just confused who is buying 600+$ phones if not average people? because your friends don't buy them then you don't know who would?

You think gamers are niche? you think the average person doesn't edit photos or upload a youtube video? Sorry you are stuck in a time warp. Or hey I live in California so I'm sure things are different than like mexico city or Cambodia.

(but even when I do visit in third world countries people often spend 600$ on phones I see first hand paying for phones on payment plans with months and months of labor. (300$ a month wage)
The issue is that all the niche users together add up to a large population. By themselves they are small percentages but in total (?), and they all need substantially more than 2 cores. There goes the myth of the average user. Remember the average family had 2.2 children. Wonder how well that worked out for the last child?
 

bystander36

Diamond Member
Apr 1, 2013
5,154
132
106
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?
One big reason for having too many cores is the thermal and power constraints. The higher the core count, the lower their frequencies, and they do have an impact on your power bill.

For a gamer, 6c/12t is probably the max they'd want for performance reasons.
 

Vattila

Senior member
Oct 22, 2004
628
766
136
One big reason for having too many cores is the thermal and power constraints.
With advances in frequency boost technology this is becoming less of an issue. For example, according to leaks, the upcoming 8-core i9-9900K will boost to 5 GHz on 1-2 cores for single-threaded applications, such as old games and office applications. Even for newer games that may use 4 cores more actively, the boost on 4 cores is still better than older 4-core processors. Meanwhile, advances in power-control technologies will keep unused cores on the CPU at very low power.

So, increasingly, extra cores are only affecting frequency and power when they are all used.
 

bystander36

Diamond Member
Apr 1, 2013
5,154
132
106
With advances in frequency boost technology this is becoming less of an issue. For example, according to leaks, the upcoming 8-core i9-9900K will boost to 5 GHz on 1-2 cores for single-threaded applications, such as old games and office applications. Even for newer games that may use 4 cores more actively, the boost on 4 cores is still better than older 4-core processors. Meanwhile, advances in power-control technologies will keep unused cores on the CPU at very low power.

So, increasingly, extra cores are only affecting frequency and power when they are all used.
You are using speculation on future products as a fact on not having any draw backs on performance on current high core count CPU's.

Maybe things will change, maybe that high frequency speculation is still lower than a lower core count version will have. We don't know yet. What we do know is that right now, more cores does not mean more performance in many if not most mainstream uses.
 
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ewite12

Junior Member
Oct 9, 2015
12
1
41
2/4 even the OS these days lags I'd say 4/8 mainstream with a SSD MINIMUM. No reason when you can get that in a semi "budget" machine now.
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
9,460
1,566
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2/4 even the OS these days lags I'd say 4/8 mainstream with a SSD MINIMUM. No reason when you can get that in a semi "budget" machine now.
Yeah it wouldn't make any sense to buy a high core/thread count CPU to only turn around and crippled your performance by getting a HDD instead of an SDD.
 

Thunder 57

Golden Member
Aug 19, 2007
1,659
1,700
136
Or you could be smarter and get an entire i5 2500 system for $90.
With no USB 3? Using much more power? Used components that are likely to fail much sooner (PSU in particular). An iGPU that doesn't support nearly as many video formats for decode? You have to wonder if the hard drive is trustworthy. I could go on.
 
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DominionSeraph

Diamond Member
Jul 22, 2009
8,391
31
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With no USB 3? Using much more power? Used components that are likely to fail much sooner (PSU in particular). An iGPU that doesn't support nearly as many video formats for decode? You have to wonder if the hard drive is trustworthy. I could go on.
Your mouse and keyboard don't need USB 3.x; Sandy doesn't use much power; component failure is along a bathtub curve meaning you're worse off buying new than a proven performing system; you shouldn't be using hardware decode and Sandy has the horsepower to decode anything this side of 8k without issue.
 

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