When you buy a processor, they will always come with a set number of cores, and each core is responsible for processing instructions when gaming.
Typically, the more cores you have, the faster your processors can handle information, so should games run with more cores?
For games, the general consensus is that you require at least 4-6 cores for gaming, so 6 cores should be more than enough for most individuals.
How Many Cores Do Games Use?
Nowadays, games will use between 4-6 cores, and going for processors with more cores often doesn’t produce higher frame rates.
This is because of how games are coded, parallelizing video games is notoriously difficult, but we’re getting better at it compared to a few years ago.
But games still benefit more from clock speeds rather than core count, this is why 6 cores is often regarded as enough for gaming.
And in some older video games, you can get away with only 4 cores, but due to the nature of games today, 6 cores is the new sweet spot.
|Game||Recommended Core Count|
|Forza Horizon 5||4|
|Far Cry 6||4|
|Assassin’s Creed Valhalla||4|
Should I Buy A 6 Core Processor?
It really depends on what you’re using your PC for, because if you’re a video editor that likes to game on the side, then you may require more cores.
But, if you’re building a strict gaming PC, then 6 cores should be more than enough for the majority of games you’re going to play.
If you consider buying a processor with 8 cores or more just for gaming, this can be seen as a bad financial decision.
Because, you could buy a cheaper 6 core processor and get the exact same amount of performance, let’s look into this further.
Take the I7 11700K which is an 8 core processor and costs $ 399, and the I5 11600K which is a 6 core processor and costs only $262.
The i5 11600K is more than $100 cheaper, but the gaming performance is pretty much identical, and if you really wanted more frames, you could overclock the I5 11600K to surpass the I7 11700K.
Check out the video above, the frame rates between the two processors are generating identical amounts of frames.
What Type Of Processors Have 6 Cores?
From the two most popular processor brands (AMD & Intel), you have plenty of options when it comes to buying a hexa-core processor.
One thing you should know is that hexa-core/6 core processors are often regarded as mid-tier processors, so they’re usually Ryzen 5s and I5s.
But the good thing about mid-tier processors is that they’re usually all you need for gaming, you will find competent gaming builds using I5s and Ryzen 5s.
Intel 6 Core Processors
The Intel I5 12600 is the latest hexa/6 core processor released by Intel, and it’s actually on the hybrid architecture (Alder Lake).
However, it does not actually use efficiency cores, the cores have effectively been disabled which only leaves 6 performance cores. This makes the I5 12600 a hexa core processor with 6 P-Cores and 12 threads.
However, the rest of the Intel processors use a standard non-hybrid architecture, only the 12th generation Intel processors have used this type of architecture so far.
As for gaming, we recommend going for whatever processor has the strongest single-core performance which is usually the latest processor.
The 12th generation I5 12600 has stronger single-core performance compared to the I5 11600K, this is due to IPC increases.
|CPU||Core Count(Threads)||Clock Speed(Boost)||TDP|
|Intel I5 12600||6 P-Core + 0 E-Core(12)||3.3GHz(4.8GHz)||65 W|
|Intel I5 11600K||6(12)||3.9GHz(4.9GHz)||125W|
|Intel I5 11600KF||6(12)||3.9GHz(4.9GHz)||125W|
|Intel I7 11600H||6(12)||2.5GHz(4.6GHz)||35W|
|Intel I5 11500H||6(12)||2.4GHz(4.6GHz)||35W|
Ryzen 6 Core Processors
Ryzen has plenty of 6 core processors, the Ryzen 5 5600X is the most notable processor on this list as it’s highly popular among gamers.
The Ryzen 5 5600X is regarded as one of the best budget gaming processors due to the strong single-core performance, and affordability.
The other notable hexa core Ryzen processor includes the Ryzen 5600 which is basically a weaker 5600X, and the 5600G which is an APU.
What you should really focus on when buying a gaming processor is at the processor with the highest clock speed.
I know that clock speed can be misleading, but when you limit your options to a single generation of processors, the clock speed actually makes more sense.
|CPU||Core Count(Threads)||Clock Speed(Boost)||TDP|
|Ryzen 5 5600X||6(12)||3.7GHz(4.6GHz)||65W|
|Ryzen 5 5600||6(12)||3.5GHz(4.4GHz)||65W|
|Ryzen 5 5600G||6(12)||3.9GHz(4.4GHz)||65W|
|Ryzen 5 5600H||6(12)||3.3GHz(4.2GHz)||35–54W|
|Ryzen 5 5625U||6(12)||2.6GHz(4.0GHz)||15W|
|Ryzen 5 5600U||6(12)||2.3GHz(4.2GHz)||10-25W|
|Ryzen 5 6600H||6(12)||3.3GHz(4.5GHz)||45W|
|Ryzen 5 6600HS||6(12)||3.3GHz(4.5GHz)||35W|
Can 6 Core CPUs Game And Stream At The Same Time?
With streaming, you can either choose to encode your stream by software or by hardware. Software encoding primarily uses the CPU power.
So if you plan on encoding your stream via the X264 encoder, 6 cores is enough in most cases, software encoding isn’t too CPU intensive.
But the thing with software encoding is that it’s not the best option nowadays, many streamers will encode by hardware.
Hardware encoding will primarily use your graphics card, and this is by far the more popular option because it doesn’t put stress on the CPU.
If you have an NVIDIA graphics card, you can choose to encode your stream with NVENC which is by far the better option, this is because NVENC will save up to 56% more FPS than X264.
So if you have a 6-core CPU, you shouldn’t be looking to encode via software because it can apply a lot of stress on your CPU which can cause you to lose a ton of FPS in game.
Other Benefits Of 6 Core Processors
For gamers, the main benefit is that they’re affordable, and offer strong gaming performance due to the single-core performance.
But there are actually lesser known benefits such as the lower TDP, they’re inherently less power hungry than a CPU with more cores, this means you won’t need a massive power supply.
Also, due to the lower TDPs, they will often generate less heat than processors with more cores. More cores = more processing power which equals more heat being generated.
So with a hexa core processor, you can often get away with smaller, and more discrete CPU coolers which don’t take up a huge amount of space.
Often, more powerful processors with more cores require huge CPU coolers such as the Noctua NH-D15, but with a 6 core processor, you can honestly get away with the stock cooler.
In conclusion, a 6 core processor today is more than enough for gaming. Games don’t really need more than 6 cores, the single-core performance is more important.
Remember, you can save a ton of money going for a 6 core processor if you’re just building a gaming PC. Many 6-core CPUs will perform close to their 8-core counterparts for a significantly cheaper price.
And if you’re looking to stream, always encode with your graphics card, software encoding can take a ton of FPS away from your experience which can be bad in competitive situations.