Are six cores better than four for gaming?

Spurred by AMD's Ryzen, Intel released a plethora of new CPUs at Computex 2017. (Source: Intel)
Spurred by AMD's Ryzen, Intel released a plethora of new CPUs at Computex 2017. (Source: Intel)
Techspot pits the i7-7700K against the slightly more expensive hexa-core i7-7800X, and the results are conclusive: the 7800X might give you more cores, but it's less (game) performance for more money.

With AMD's Ryzen and Intel's subsequent Skylake X-series CPUs throwing 6, 8, and 10 cores at the consumer, it's starting to look like the quad-core CPU might be considered stodgy by comparison. You might be looking at your clunky quad-core hyper-threaded notebook or desktop with a doubtful eye at these releases, but are six cores really better than four for gaming? A TechSpot comparison has pitted the US$390 hexa-core i7-7800X against the cheaper quad-core i7-7700K, and the results are a bit surprising.

The i7-7800X is a 6-core 12-thread CPU that costs about US$50 more than the quad-core i7-7700K. The  i7-7800X runs at a base frequency of 3.5GHz and a turbo boost of 4GHz while the i7-7700K has a base frequency of 4.2GHz and a boost of 4.5GHz. While you're losing out on a few hundred MHz with the i7-7800X, you are getting two more cores, four more threads, and a whopping 6MB of L2 cache (versus the i7-7700K's 1MB). So how does the more expensive hexa-core i7-7800X fare? Not so well. Grand Theft Auto V, a CPU-intensive game, shows the quad-core 7700K beating out the 7800X by a whopping 30 percent. In the 30 titles benchmarked, the i7-7800X lost out time and time again to the cheaper i7-7700K. If you're interested, check out the article for the full breakdown of scores.

So, while hexa-core (and more) CPUs might soon become the high-end standard, don't go rushing out to replace your quad-core CPU yet — at least certainly not the i7-7800X.


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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2017 07 > Are six cores better than four for gaming?
Douglas Black, 2017-07-12 (Update: 2017-07-13)
Douglas Black
Douglas Black - Editor
Douglas Black is a technology analyst, teacher, writer, and DJ. He is also Managing Editor of UltrabookReview.