Do you know how many CPU cores for gaming is required? When you upgrade an existing system or build a new PC, choosing the right CPU is very crucial. Having higher clock speeds and more CPU cores will improve the performance of the system. It gives smoother gameplay and faster completion of intensive tasks. Choosing the CPU will also limit your motherboard options. Each processor is compatible with a specific CPU socket and set of chipsets.

Most gaming CPUs come with at least four cores. Older and non-gaming CPUs have two or fewer cores. However, Quad-core CPUs are ideal for gaming at present. They are more affordable. Yet they lag in the performance of higher count cores very marginally.

We all fall for the ‘Larger numbers are better’ formula by CPU PR departments. We wanted to investigate if processor core counts really matter. One need to be careful to choose the right number of processor cores when buying a new CPU. It helps with gaming in the future.

In case if you are confused which CPU to buy for Gaming. We have simply explained 10 Best CPU for Gaming in 2021 which let you choose a best for your money.

What are CPU cores?

When CPUs were first invented in 1971, they only had one CPU cores. This was because computers typically only had to work on one task at a time. These CPUs were not required to launch and run a wide range of applications. As computers became more capable of running multiple programs at once, more cores were added to CPUs.

As of this writing, we are on Intel® CoreTM processor generation 10, which adds more power and capabilities than ever before. The more cores your computer has, the easier it is to work on multiple tasks at once.

The central processing unit (or CPU) is what allows your PC to perform tasks via applications. It then delivers instructions to deliver data stored in RAM (random access memory). CPU cores are the pathways within a processor made up of billions of microscopic transistors that help it work. 

Task of CPU core

In basic terms, a core on a CPU handles tasks that are assigned to it. The more cores it has, the more tasks it can perform at once. In an ideal world, a 4-core CPU would be able to run four tasks at once, whereas an 8-core CPU would be able to run eight tasks at once. This is the fundamental idea. There are numerous factors that have a significant impact on this.

The number of cores indicates how many tasks a CPU can handle at the same time. As a result, having more cores allows you to complete more tasks at the same time. As previously stated, there are additional factors to consider for cores. Such as CPU speed or more modern processor architecture. This can influence job completion time.

Back in the day, single-core CPUs couldn’t multitask. Instead, they would quickly cycle through and switch between high-priority tasks. This did not contribute to a smooth performance.

So, how many CPU cores for gaming nowadays? And what is the optimal number of cores that we might require? 

Let’s understand our processors better. Let’s look at some CPUs, their performance, and, most importantly, their core counts in relation to modern PC gaming.

First and foremost, it is critical to understand what a CPU is and what we mean when we talk about cores. I’ll keep it simple.

How many CPU cores for gaming do I need?

Different computing tasks require a different set of resources. The number of cores is the most important factor in determining if the programs will run smoothly. Your device will need more cores if you want to run multiple apps or more resource-intensive programs at the same time.

However, if you just want to create text documents, browse the web, or perform other basic tasks, you will need at least two cores. These are found in most standard-tier laptops.

1 core 

It is difficult to find a computer with only one core in present times. If you only have one, don’t expect to be able to run more than one program at once.

2 Cores

For most budget users, dual-core is the one to go for. You can use email, create and edit documents and spreadsheets, and listen to music without overburdening your system. However, don’t expect to edit video without crashing your system. Also, you may be able to play many games on lower settings. If you are serious about gaming, you should consider upgrading to a quad-core processor.

4 Cores

Along with your regular work or school tasks, you will be able to render video (slowly) or play games at lower resolutions. Most gamers will be fine as long as they are not playing any CPU-intensive games or have a dedicated GPU.

However, you will need more cores if you work in video editing, graphic design, and 3D rendering, sound editing, or a related field. These industries require applications with increased processing power and features. They will need a dedicated GPU, increased storage space, and at least 16GB of RAM.

6 Cores

Hexa-core processors can be used for all of the tasks listed above. In addition, more complex software such as video and audio editing can also be done. This is a good choice for more advanced games and programs. It allows you to run multiple applications at the same time. Most streamers will be able to run and stream their games on 6 cores. Those working with other forms of media will have plenty of power.

8 or more Cores

Octa-core CPUs are ideal if you are a professional or aspiring gamer, video editor, or engineer. Video gamers who play, record, and stream demanding games should choose more cores for maximum power. If you frequently use power-hungry software like VR or AutoCAD, this will help you out. 

Many computers now come with an octa-core CPU as a customization option. If you think you’ll be working in any of these fields, it will be worth it for you to add these cores to your system. You can either customize it when you buy it or upgrade it later on.

What’s the minimum required CPU cores for gaming?

A single-core CPU can run games; however, with modern game design, you’ll quickly notice low frame rates on more recent games. It cannot deal with more detailed graphics, such as modern shooters.

You will need at least a 2-core CPU for gaming. This way the processor can handle more than one task at a time. Otherwise, everything else has to wait every time the processor is asked to do something. Once you have two cores, it can try to swap its tasks back and forth between the cores to reduce the bottleneck.

Physical Cores vs Logical Cores

Logical cores are more commonly known as threads. Intel’s hyperthreading and AMD’s multithreading technologies enable a single physical core to handle two tasks at the same time. It effectively acts as two separate logical cores.

Is multithreading/hyperthreading useful? The answer is definitely yes.

The majority of AMD’s Ryzen processors including budget and mid-range models support multithreading. Meanwhile, only the high-end i9 models of Intel’s 9th generation CPUs were equipped with hyperthreading. The upcoming 10th generation Comet Lake models will include hyperthreading.

A higher thread/core count improves overall performance. But the in-game performance will vary from game to game. The fact that the Ryzen 5 3600X has 12 threads while the i5-9600K has only six does not necessarily imply that the former will perform better in-game. As previously said, it all boils down to how the game is coded and what GPU is used.


When purchasing a new computer, it is crucial to know the number of cores in the processor. Most users will be fine with 2 or 4 cores. For video editors, engineers, data analysts, and others in related fields will require at least 6 cores.

The good news is that HP® makes it simple to determine the number of CPU cores for gaming in your next potential purchase. They clearly display that information on the specifications tab of every device.