What is considered to be a mainstream CPU now?

whm1974

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Now that $100 and $120 quad core CPUs are available and six core ones can be for ~$200 or less, I'm now wondering what is or will be considered to be mainstream CPUs?

I'm of the opinion that for new systems either DIY or OEM, quad cores should be the minimum specs as there is little point at this time to buy dual core CPUs. This would be the low end, while six cores will be suitale for mid-range rigs and will meet most use cases.

However I think quad cores will be mainstream for a long time as most people don't need to replace their computers that often.
 

Markfw

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I think 6 core may have hit mainstream.

BTW, somewhat trelated. The 1950X is now $750 ! 16 cores at that price is almost insane. 6 cores are under $200
 
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jana519

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Now that $100 and $120 quad core CPUs are available and six core ones can be for ~$200 or less, I'm now wondering what is or will be considered to be mainstream CPUs?

I'm of the opinion that for new systems either DIY or OEM, quad cores should be the minimum specs as there is little point at this time to buy dual core CPUs. This would be the low end, while six cores will be suitale for mid-range rigs and will meet most use cases.

However I think quad cores will be mainstream for a long time as most people don't need to replace their computers that often.
I agree, 4 cores is the new mainstream. Almost all tablets and smartphones have 4 cores, and any new desktop besides the very bottom rung is going to have it with either an i3 or Ryzen. 2 cores is the bottom rung, and 6 cores is only common among PC enthusiasts.
 
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epsilon84

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I would say 6 cores now, since that is what i5s and Ryzen 5s ship with and that is what I consider to be mainstream class CPUs.

i3 and R3 being quads pretty much puts that into the budget category IMO, but it depends on how you class 'mainstream' I guess.
 

Fir

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I think 6 core may have hit mainstream.

BTW, somewhat trelated. The 1950X is now $750 ! 16 cores at that price is almost insane. 6 cores are under $200
$629 or $600 if purchased with a compatible mobo!

http://www.microcenter.com/product/483132/Ryzen_Threadripper_1950X_34_GHz_16_Core_TR4_Boxed_Processor

I know it's in store only and not everyone lives within reasonable driving distance but if you do, score!
Of course, with Threadripper2 on the horizon a lot of people that really need most cores possible are going to wait.
 

whm1974

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I would say 6 cores now, since that is what i5s and Ryzen 5s ship with and that is what I consider to be mainstream class CPUs.

i3 and R3 being quads pretty much puts that into the budget category IMO, but it depends on how you class 'mainstream' I guess.
Well if I was building a new rig, then yes I will consider 6 cores to be mainstream. However "affordable" six core CPUs have only been out for about a year now?
 

eek2121

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I agree, 4 cores is the new mainstream. Almost all tablets and smartphones have 4 cores, and any new desktop besides the very bottom rung is going to have it with either an i3 or Ryzen. 2 cores is the bottom rung, and 6 cores is only common among PC enthusiasts.
Not with Ryzen in the picture. If you are looking at 'mainstream' presumably you would mean 'an affordable price point'. While that differs for everyone, The Ryzen 5 1600 is $189.99 on Amazon and includes a cooler. If you consider mainstream to be a lower price point, then it may indeed be quadcore.

I agree, 4 cores is the new mainstream. Almost all tablets and smartphones have 4 cores, and any new desktop besides the very bottom rung is going to have it with either an i3 or Ryzen. 2 cores is the bottom rung, and 6 cores is only common among PC enthusiasts.
Any smartphone made within the past few years has 8 cores, not 4. That is 4 BIG cores and 4 SMALL cores. I have not kept up with the tablet space because I keep holding up hope for another Google 7" tablet. My poor nexus 7 is slowly losing battery life. :( I am also not an Apple person. They are far too closed off for my tastes. I should be able to install whatever app I wish, not whatever app Apple allows.
 

lixlax

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I think 6 core may have hit mainstream.

BTW, somewhat trelated. The 1950X is now $750 ! 16 cores at that price is almost insane. 6 cores are under $200
Just to think that it was just over a year ago when the price of a decent 8-core CPU was more than 1000$ (not counting Bulldozer) and now you can get a 16-core for noticeably less.

Bot on the topic- the mainstream seems to be from 4c/8t to 6c/12t for anything that isn't a office PC or similar. Although I'm not not sure if 300+$ processors (for example 8700K) can be classified as mainstream although these are very popular.
 

moonbogg

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I think 6 cores are now mainstream for your average, competent home PC. No one buys a quad when you get a fantastic 6 cores and 12 threads for $200-ish. Quad cores should now be bog standard for the cheap budget systems found at best buy and the like. Dual cores should die or be used only for very limited budget situations or unique cases.
It seems for gaming rigs, the i5 might be a viable recommendation again if they start coming in 6/12 config. The R5 is already a no brainer so when Intel decides to catch up in that area and stop with their stupid fake segmentation non SMT bullcrap like they have with the 8600K, then their i5 range will be possible to recommend along with the R5.
I swear, Intel makes me laugh so damn hard. They just have to keep trying to rip you off. "Buy our 6 core, but you don't get HT, lolz". GTFO with that garbage, lol. Sorry, went on a little rant there. JUSTIFIED THOUGH.
 
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SPBHM

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7700K is a quad core and beats most of the 6 core CPUs for gaming, and normal use.
I don't think classifying CPUs by core count was ever the best metric.

and how can you define mainstream... the DIY typical PC I think is fairly different from the OEM one.

realistically the 4t pentiums are perfectly fine for most "mainstream" applications, including most gaming
 
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VirtualLarry

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Most people aren't gamers. Nor workstation class users. Pretty much any CPU in the $100 to $160 range from either AMD or Intel would fit the mainstream label.
Maybe AMD should introduce a "budget 6-core" CPU, that is, derived from the 2600(X), but with SMT disabled, like Ryzen 3. Maybe that will be what they produce, for the Zen+ Ryzen 3 CPU line. If it was $150 or so, I could see that going "mainstream" for Ryzen / AM4 buyers, and prop up the 2600(X) and higher models in the lineup.

Edit: Also to better compete with the i5-8400 on price grounds.

Edit: To be sure, that would pretty-much tank all i3-8350K sales, as all AM4 CPUs and APUs are overclockable.
 

moinmoin

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Regarding what's defined as mainstream, does anybody happen to know whether there are any known sales figures for processors for whole markets in specific regions?
 

jpiniero

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Regarding what's defined as mainstream, does anybody happen to know whether there are any known sales figures for processors for whole markets in specific regions?
All I know is that at least for Intel, i5 as a brand is their biggest seller by a wide margin, then i3. That would include desktop and notebook combined.
 

ondma

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Not with Ryzen in the picture. If you are looking at 'mainstream' presumably you would mean 'an affordable price point'. While that differs for everyone, The Ryzen 5 1600 is $189.99 on Amazon and includes a cooler. If you consider mainstream to be a lower price point, then it may indeed be quadcore.



Any smartphone made within the past few years has 8 cores, not 4. That is 4 BIG cores and 4 SMALL cores. I have not kept up with the tablet space because I keep holding up hope for another Google 7" tablet. My poor nexus 7 is slowly losing battery life. :( I am also not an Apple person. They are far too closed off for my tastes. I should be able to install whatever app I wish, not whatever app Apple allows.
I would say 4 cores. Hex core Ryzen doesn't even have an igpu, so I certainly would not consider it "mainstream". Hex core might be mainstream for users of this but that is a tiny portion of overall users.
 
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scannall

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Maybe AMD should introduce a "budget 6-core" CPU, that is, derived from the 2600(X), but with SMT disabled, like Ryzen 3. Maybe that will be what they produce, for the Zen+ Ryzen 3 CPU line. If it was $150 or so, I could see that going "mainstream" for Ryzen / AM4 buyers, and prop up the 2600(X) and higher models in the lineup.

Edit: Also to better compete with the i5-8400 on price grounds.

Edit: To be sure, that would pretty-much tank all i3-8350K sales, as all AM4 CPUs and APUs are overclockable.
Maybe. But for getting it in the hands of OEM's, 6 Core/6 Thread would have to have at least a modest GPU built in.

To expand a bit, toss a low end GPU into the chipset and you're golden. It wouldn't take a lot to best intel's built in graphics.
 

Lovec1990

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I would say 4 cores. Hex core Ryzen doesn't even have an igpu, so I certainly would not consider it "mainstream". Hex core might be mainstream for users of this but that is a tiny portion of overall users.
You do not need igpu here most mainstream buyers buy cheap GPU like GTX 1050 or GTX 1060
 

ondma

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You do not need igpu here most mainstream buyers buy cheap GPU like GTX 1050 or GTX 1060
Cheapest gtx 1050 on new egg is 140.00. You think oem manufacturers are going to spend that extra money on a basic system for enterprise, consumer, or educational uses? I dont. For the last few quarters, intel gpu market share has ranged from a low of 67% to over 70%, obviously all of those being igpus.
 
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Dave2150

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Mainstream CPU = average most commonly used CPU IMO.

I'd say we're on the threshold of the average mainstream CPU being a quad core. Up until recently it's been a dual core.

The % of 8th generation I5's (hex core) or Ryzen 1600+ is tiny compared to the installed base, and will remain so for a few years yet.
 

BSim500

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Quad cores are still definitely main stream. Just because 6+ cores are readily available, they are still an enthusiast and power user product.
Mainstream CPU = average most commonly used CPU IMO. I'd say we're on the threshold of the average mainstream CPU being a quad core. Up until recently it's been a dual core. The % of 8th generation I5's (hex core) or Ryzen 1600+ is tiny compared to the installed base, and will remain so for a few years yet.
^ Pretty much this.

Steam HWSurvey, May 2018, Physical CPUs:-


2C = 31.4%
4C = 60.51%
6C = 4.15%
8C = 0.99%

https://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey

Over the past year, quads have surpassed duals as the most owned. And between them, 6-8C's have picked up +3-4% of the gaming market (it was already 1-2% due to pre-Ryzen FX6xxx/8xxx). Hex & octo cores combined are still outnumbered 12:1 by quads (and 18:1 vs dual & quads combined). And that's on a site biased towards gaming that excludes the bulk of non-gaming OEM's (2-4C) and laptops (typically 2C/4T Intel "U's") without Steam accounts. It's going to be a few years yet before 6C = "the most owned" (real mainstream) and not simply "newly affordable". Same way 1TB SSD's like MX500 are now more affordable than ever before but genuine "mainstream SSD" = overwhemingly 256-512GB capacities, simply because that's all most people want / need (especially in a laptop).
 

whm1974

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Speaking of Steam HWSurvey, Now I'm thinking that the percentage of quads cores will fast increase as budget minded gamers start replacing their budget dual core gaming rigs with quad cores. Six core systems will of course will increase as well but more slowly.
 

Markfw

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^ Pretty much this.

Steam HWSurvey, May 2018, Physical CPUs:-


2C = 31.4%
4C = 60.51%
6C = 4.15%
8C = 0.99%

https://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey

Over the past year, quads have surpassed duals as the most owned. And between them, 6-8C's have picked up +3-4% of the gaming market (it was already 1-2% due to pre-Ryzen FX6xxx/8xxx). Hex & octo cores combined are still outnumbered 12:1 by quads (and 18:1 vs dual & quads combined). And that's on a site biased towards gaming that excludes the bulk of non-gaming OEM's (2-4C) and laptops (typically 2C/4T Intel "U's") without Steam accounts. It's going to be a few years yet before 6C = "the most owned" (real mainstream) and not simply "newly affordable". Same way 1TB SSD's like MX500 are now more affordable than ever before but genuine "mainstream SSD" = overwhemingly 256-512GB capacities, simply because that's all most people want / need (especially in a laptop).
The question applies to all PC's, and your numbers are only for Steam gamers (of which I am not)

To answer the question, its probably dual-core still, but for gamers, I agree, quad and going to 6.
 
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Thunder 57

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Maybe AMD should introduce a "budget 6-core" CPU, that is, derived from the 2600(X), but with SMT disabled, like Ryzen 3.
The problem with that is that you would probably create situations where a 4C/8T Ryzen would outperform the 6C/6T parts. Probably the same reason Intel didn't enable HT on the newer i3's.

You do not need igpu here most mainstream buyers buy cheap GPU like GTX 1050 or GTX 1060
I dare say that by far most users who don't game or need a GPU for work reasons use an integrated GPU. I guess you could differentiate between "mainstream user" and "mainstream gamer", the later of which would probably have a 1050/1060 or RX 570/580 or similar.
 

Thunder 57

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The question applies to all PC's, and your numbers are only for Steam gamers (of which I am not)

To answer the question, its probably dual-core still, but for gamers, I agree, quad and going to 6.
I would agree with this. Going forward, I would not bother with a quad core for gaming. Battlefield takes a toll on a 4C/4T as it is, even overclocked.
 

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