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How many Cores do games nowadays perform well with?

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May 10, 2010 8:19:18 AM

ok i know its been answered numerous times already but i have to ask how many cores do games nowadays use to perform at optimum levels? Single, Dual or Quad?

the reason i asked is that he newer AMD 890 chipsets have it in the BIOS to Unlock Cores but this function also seems to allow cores to be LOCKED, in my case i was able to lock 3 Cores of my X4 955 and i had 1 Core(Core unlock requires 1 core to be left unlocked since the system needs it to run)

so will game perform better if i LOCK cores then overclock the core i wana use and what would be better Dual core or only One core active? or will leaving all 4 cores unlocked be better for games?

More about : cores games nowadays perform

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May 10, 2010 8:42:22 AM

It depends on the game.

Dual core is an absolute minimum.
FSX, GTA4, and some newer game will prefer a quad core, but the vast majority of games will run better on a higher clocked CPU regardless of the number of cores.

I would always suggest getting a quad core and OCing if needed. Look to the future!
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May 10, 2010 8:58:42 AM

Uh, Mi1ez, he's already got a quad core and is asking if turning some cores off will make games run better. :) 

@xtian63 - no, turning off cores will not make any game run faster. Unless heat is your limiting factor on your CPU overclock, the chance of turning off a core improving your overclock is virtually nil. Nearly every modern game needs a dual core at least, and in a recent Toms test, most benefitted from a third core too. If you're running your quad with all four cores active then the game can use 2/3 and that leaves 1/2 to do background stuff so your FPS won't be hurt when your anti-virus or Windows decides it needs to do something.

If CPU temperature is your limiting factor on your overclock, then possibly disabling a core might gain you a slightly higher stable overclock, but only trying it on your system will tell you if that extra few MHz is worth the loss of a core on that particular game. My money would be on "no", but each system overclocks differently and each game requires different things from a CPU, so the only way to test this is to try it.

All that said, for 99% of games on 99% of systems the limiting factor is the graphics card - are you running dual 5970's or something similar? If not, your CPU will not be limiting you outside of (possibly) FSX.

My advice - leave all 4 cores active, overclock them as much as you can if CPU power is holding you back, and enjoy your system! :) 
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May 10, 2010 12:27:43 PM

Most new games are using at least 4 cores now. [Dragon Age, Bad Company 2, GTA 4, etc)
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May 10, 2010 2:27:15 PM

I agree with confused stu, leave them all unlocked and overclock them if you need more power. If heat is a problem look into getting a good heat sink, they make a difference.
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May 10, 2010 3:52:03 PM

Best answer selected by xtian63.
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