Are More Cores Better in a CPU? [How Many Do You Need]

Written By Steven Arends

If the CPU is like your brain, the CPU Cores are brain cells, and clock speed is blood flow. From single tasks to multiple, daily work to official, and gaming to heavy-duty editing, the processor executes all tasks using its cores.

But are more cores always better for your CPU?are-more-cores-better-in-a-cpu

In this article, we will dive into the connection between core count and performance. It will help you explore the influencing factors and answer your questions.

So without wasting any further, let’s jump in.

Is More CPU Core Better?

Generally, a CPU with additional cores will perform better than a single-core processor of the same speed. More cores mean your CPU can transmit more information and run extra errands at the same time. But, these extra benefits heavily depend on some technical factors.

The advantages of extra cores depend on how well the CPU is designed to handle multi-threading. Also, the clock speed and architecture of the CPU play a key role in overall performance.

However, if the software can’t utilize multiple CPU cores, then you won’t get the multiple-core benefits.

Now, you may ask, do CPU cores affect pc performance? Well, to know, you need to go through the next topic.

Does More Cores Mean More Performance?

Yes, but to a certain point. A multicore processor can run multiple single-threaded applications at the same time effectively. Not only that, it helps any application to split into multiple threads, and from there you can take advantage of the extra processing power.

But if you’re a single-task user or your software isn’t equipped for multi-threading, you will not get the benefits of multi-core CPUs.

For example, if you compare the benchmark of Pentium G7400 and Core i3 10105 you will see it more clearly.

Here is the specification of both Pentium G7400 and Core i3 10105 processors:

 Intel Pentium G7400Intel Core i3 10105
Clock speed3.7 GHz3.7 GHz
Physical Cores2 (Threads: 4)4 (Threads: 8)
CacheL1: 160 KB
L2: 2.5 MB
L3: 6 MB
L1: 256 KB
L2: 1.0 MB
L3: 6 MB

As you can see, Intel Pentium G740 and Intel Core i3 10105 have the same clock speed but Core i3 10105 has 2 extra cores then Pentium G7400. Now we will compare the benchmark between these two.

Let’s see the Geekbench 5, 64bit benchmark comparison between Pentium G7400 and i3 10105:geekbench-5-64bit-benchmarkpentium-G7400-processor

As you can see in multicore performance, the Core i3 easily beats the Pentium G7400 processor by a huge margin.

So, you can easily notice that more cores improve performance. You should also check our 4-core vs 6-core CPU article to get more information about this topic.

Speaking of more cores, did you know you can upgrade to a better CPU without reinstalling Windows?

But what happens when two CPUs have the same core counts but different clock speeds? Follow the next section to know for sure.

Comparison Between Intel Core i5-11400F and AMD Ryzen 5 5600

Intel Core i5-11400F and AMD Ryzen 5 5600 are both 6-Core, 12-Thread processors, but AMD Ryzen 5 5600 has a higher clock speed.

By comparing these two processors’ benchmarks, we will know for sure whether other factors besides core counts affect the overall CPU performance.

But before that, you must know how you can measure the processor speed and what’s your CPU architecture. Otherwise, you will face some difficulties analyzing the data below.

Let’s look at the specification for both processors first: 

 AMD Ryzen 5 5600Intel Core i5-11400F
Clock speed3.50 GHz2.60 GHz
Physical Cores6 (Threads: 12)6 (Threads: 12)
ArchitectureAMD Zen 3 Core Architecture.Intel Rocket Lake
CacheL1: 384 KB
L2: 3.0 MB
L3: 32 MB
L1: 320 KB
L2: 2.0 MB
L3: 12 MB

As you can see, both CPUs have similar specs other than the clock speed and architecture, also their price is very close. But when you compare the benchmarks, you will see the real difference.

See the Geekbench 5 benchmark comparison between Intel Core i5-11400F & AMD Ryzen 5 5600:geekbench-5-benchmarksingle-and-multi-core-benchmarks

Here, you can see the CPU with a higher clock speed performs better both in the single and multi-core benchmarks.

That’s why we can say the clock speed and processor Architecture also matters while determining overall CPU performance.

What Happens When You Have More Cores With Slow Clock Speed?

Well, the CPU will perform slower in this scenario. Having more cores with a slow clock speed in a CPU is like having many narrow highways in a district. Bigger cars can’t enter those roads, and all vehicles will have low speeds. Similarly, these CPUs will work slower.

When your CPU has more cores, but the clock speed is slow, the CPU can handle more tasks at once, but each task will take a long time to complete.

This is because each core has a slower clock speed, which means that each cycle of the CPU takes longer.

It means that your CPU’s overall performance will be limited, and it won’t be fitting for tasks requiring a high single-threaded performance.

How Many Cores are Enough for Your CPU

The right CPU cores numbers for you depend on your purposes and CPU workload. Additional cores can handle additional tasks simultaneously, while higher GHz increases task processing speed. That’s why you need a multicore processor with high GHz for the best performance.

2-Core processors are the minimum standard in this era. It’s not the best, but dual-core CPU is good for normal and low intensive tasks.

If you only do general tasks like web browsing, word processing, and video playback on your PC, a 4-core CPU will fulfill your need. Also, a quad-core CPU is good for gaming, and can run most modern games without issue.

But for tasks such as video editing, 3D rendering, and gaming, more cores may be necessary. You can start with 6 or 8 cores processors to build your PC.

However, when you are a heavy-duty user running multiple demanding apps simultaneously or maintaining a large server, 10 or more cores may be required.

Ultimately, enough number of cores depends on the individual’s specific needs and budget.


Are more CPU cores better for gaming?

Initially, more cores are better for gaming, but after a certain point (8 cores), additional CPU cores don’t impact gaming performance. But when you’re streaming gameplay while playing, additional cores will make a difference.

Are 12 cores overkill?

Well, most of the games and editing software run smoothly on an 8-core processor if you power it up with a decent GPU and RAM. But for daily work, a 12-core processor is overkill.

Is there a CPU with 128 cores?

Yes, AMD’s Bergamo monster has 128 cores. AMD splits these cores over eight CCDs, containing  16 cores each.

Final thought

To wrap it up, more cores in a CPU generally have better performance. Because it can handle parallel processing and multiple tasks simultaneously. However, the clock speed and processor Architecture also matter while determining overall CPU performance.

So, you can say, while more cores can perform better, it’s important to consider how well the CPU is designed to handle multi-threading and how fast each core is.

Comment, if you have any other queries regarding CPUs.  And for everything else, stick with 10 Scopes.

About The Author
Steven Arends is a computer science graduate and tech enthusiast with over 10 years of experience in the field. He has a vast collection of computer hardware and loves exploring the latest advancements. As a contributing author to 10Scopes, Steven shares his expertise to make the world of technology more accessible and easier to understand for all readers.

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