6 core vs quad core: 4 Core vs 6 Core CPUs (In-Depth Comparison)

4 Core vs 6 Core CPUs (In-Depth Comparison)

Wondering whether you should opt for 4 cores or 6 cores in your CPU?

This quick but comprehensive guide will tell you everything you need to know about how these two options perform all of the different tasks you may throw at them.

While a 4-core CPU will be sufficient for single-threaded applications like internet browsers, older games, basic image editing, and most office work, a 6-core CPU will perform much better in complex applications like rendering, modeling, high framerate gaming, and elaborate productivity programs like Microsoft Excel.

That’s the way-too-short answer and there are plenty of significant details that need to be covered. We’ll get down to the details to help you fully determine what you need.

How CPU Cores Work

The CPU, or Central Processing Unit, is your computer’s brain. It processes information, executes instructions, and facilitates everything from installing programs to browsing the internet.

Early CPUs only had a single processor—or “core”—so they had to process each task sequentially. As technology progressed, however, it became clear that single-core CPUs couldn’t keep up with the demands of new, increasingly complex applications, so companies like Intel and AMD started producing CPUs with multiple cores.

Unlike their single-core ancestors, these multi-core CPUs could handle multiple tasks simultaneously, boosting performance and letting computers handle heavier workloads in less time.

Most also use a technique called simultaneous multithreading to split physical cores into virtual ones—called “threads”—which further increases the number of tasks a CPU can handle at the same time.

More cores generally mean more efficient performance, though there are some exceptions. Some programs are better at using multiple cores than others, some are better optimized to leverage multiple threads, and older multi-core CPUs may perform worse than newer units with fewer, more advanced cores.

4-Core vs 6-Core for Gaming

A 4-core CPU will be fine for playing older games and playing at higher resolutions (at lower framerates). For everything else, though, you’ll want a 6-core CPU. Your GPU can’t perform all the necessary calculations itself, and you’ll want a CPU that can handle as many simultaneous instructions as possible.

Whether you’ll get more mileage out of a 4 or 6-core CPU will heavily depend on the games you’re going to play and how you want to play them. It’s a common misconception that your GPU is the only important part of your gaming rig, as your CPU still has to process all the instructions and tell the GPU what to do. Not even the most powerful GPUs can overcome the bottleneck of an underpowered CPU.

The type of games you’ll be playing is also very important to choosing a CPU. Games with lots of players or enemies onscreen at once like Total War: Warhammer 2 and MMORPGs benefit from having more cores available to process queries and instructions, and newer AAA games also use multithreading to spread the load across as many cores as possible. Older games, on the other hand, tend to utilize only one or two cores at once, so you won’t see much (if any) benefit from a CPU with more cores.

The last factor you should consider is whether you’d rather run games at higher resolutions or higher frame rates. Running a game at, say, 144Hz instead of 60Hz requires a CPU that can process lots of complex calculations very quickly, so you’ll want a CPU with as many cores as your games will support. Running games at high resolutions won’t require as many calculations, so a 4-core CPU with a high clock speed should do the trick.

4-Core vs 6-Core for Office Work

A 6-core CPU will be better for office work than a 4-core CPU, regardless of which applications you plan on using. You’ll be able to run multiple programs simultaneously with minimal impact on performance, power through complex calculations, and easily pivot between active assignments without having to close or reopen programs.

4-core CPUs typically handle single-threaded applications like internet browsers just as well as 6-core models, but 6-core CPUs will handle multithreaded applications better and let you run more single-threaded applications at the same time. A 6-core CPU is recommended unless you’re only running the most basic applications and don’t plan on doing too much multitasking.

Many basic programs like word processors and internet browsers are single-threaded, meaning they’re designed to utilize only one core or thread at a time, so you should be able to get through basic office work with a 4-core CPU. Most 4-core CPUs can easily handle relatively lightweight programs like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Outlook, and Spotify, and often all at the same time.

A 4-core CPU won’t give you twice as much power as a 2-core CPU, but it let you run more programs at once and handle complex processes more quickly.

Having two more cores and up to four more threads make 6-core CPUs even better at multitasking than their 4-core brethren. Basic office work typically isn’t too CPU-intensive, but the additional cores and threads will let your computer run even more programs at the same time, as well as helping your computer process complex spreadsheets and managing more CPU-intensive productivity applications.

A 6-core CPU will also let you switch between open programs faster, perfect for juggling assignments on busy days.

4-Core vs 6-Core for Image Editing and Graphic Design

All else being equal, 4-core and 6-core CPUs should perform similarly while editing and manipulating images. Some software handles multithreading better than others, however, so it would be a good idea to check the specifications of your most frequently used software while you evaluate your CPU options.

That being said, a 4-core CPU will have more limited applications than a 6-core unit, so make sure you have a good idea of what you’d like to do with your new CPU before making your purchase. Many photo editing and image manipulation applications only support limited multithreading, so you won’t necessarily benefit from having more cores at your disposal. If you want to do a lot of image editing—especially if you want to add multiple layers of effects or work with high-resolution images—you’ll want to prioritize clock speed over number of cores.

4-Core vs 6-Core for Video Editing

Having a CPU with more cores will help you edit and render videos faster if you aren’t using a GPU, and it’ll still help you finish tasks faster if you’re using your GPU to handle most of the workload. While a 4-core CPU can probably handle some smaller, simpler video files, you’ll want at least a 6-core unit for anything more intensive.

Adobe Premiere and other video editing software require a lot of processing power, especially when you’re working with large, complex files. Having more cores available will let your computer spread out the workload and process more instructions simultaneously, meaning a 6-core CPU will complete its work faster than a 4-core CPU with the same specs.

Video editing software is so demanding that many users have opted to offload much of the work onto their discrete graphics processing units (GPUs). Getting a GPU is a great idea if you’re planning on doing a lot of video editing, but your CPU will still be a crucial piece of the puzzle. Encoding and decoding video consumes a lot of your CPU’s processing power, and an underpowered CPU will prevent your GPU from performing at its full potential.

4-Core vs 6-Core for Modeling and Rendering

A 4-core CPU with sufficient clock speed should be plenty for handling 3D modeling and GPU rendering. If you’re doing a lot of CPU rendering, on the other hand, you’ll want a CPU with at least 6 cores.

Like video editing applications, 3D modeling and rendering software require a ton of processing power, and many rely on GPUs for the bulk of the heavy lifting. Unlike video editing applications, however, more cores won’t always increase your computer’s performance. Whether you should choose a 4 or 6-core CPU depends heavily on which software you’re using and what kind of models and scenes you’re planning to design and render.

Take 3D modeling for instance. You might think that such complex tasks would benefit from multiple cores, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Hierarchy-dependent tasks like editing scenes and running a CAD workstation tend to only use one core at a time, so you should prioritize clock speed over core density.

If you’re planning on doing a lot of 3D rendering, your CPU choice will come down to whether your software of choice supports GPU or CPU rendering. A 6-core CPU will be better at CPU rendering than a 4-core unit, but a 4-core CPU might do just fine if you’re offloading most of the work to your GPU. Just remember that your GPU can’t handle everything; you’ll still need a powerful CPU to process.

Recap and Conclusion

Choosing a new CPU can be challenging, but hopefully this guide can help point you in the right direction. Before you make a decision, it’s important to figure out which applications you’ll be running and what you need your new computer to do.

Basic computing tasks and older games will usually perform just fine on 4 cores, but more intensive tasks and modern AAA games will likely see a noticeable performance increase with 6 cores.

Which One to Choose [In-Depth Analogy]

Are you seeking a decent CPU that can deliver close to top-tier performance? But trying to decide which one to pick, a 4-core or 6-core CPU!

Well, if you take a look at the number, it speaks for itself. But if you compare this CPU side by side, you’ll know for sure.

Let me help you by showing you the perfect comparison of four-core vs. six-core. After reading this article, you’ll know which one to pick. So, let’s begin!

How CPU Cores Work

A CPU core is a single independent processing unit that gathers instructions and executes them simultaneously. So, when a core executes an instruction, at that time, another core starts executing from the queue. That’s why multicore processors are faster and more efficient.

But that doesn’t mean more cores will win you a badge of honor because not all the cores work at once if not needed. Let me explain you in a simplified way.

Assume a table drawer has six chambers in it to put things separately. But, some chambers will remain empty and idle if you don’t have enough items. Similarly, a six-core CPU won’t use all the cores unless it finds enough instructions to assign to all the cores.

So, more workloads can use the full potential of a multicore processor. Assume ticket counters as cores and people as instructions. It’ll be more chaos if a train station has only two ticket counters than four or six. People will stand in a long line to get their tickets at those two ticket booths.

But with four or six booths, people will split up, and they can buy tickets faster. Similarly, a CPU can’t execute many instructions once if it has only two or four cores. The remaining tasks wait in the queue.

If your inner geek needs more explanation about what a CPU is and how is works, check our separate article where we go in-depth.

Differences Between 4 Core Vs. 6 Core

The number alone 4 & 6 cast out the main difference between these 4-cores & 6-cores. Plus, performance is also noticeable between them. You’ll also find a significant heat bump in the Hexa core-based CPUs. But remember, a CPU with weak Hexa cores can’t surpass a powerful Quad-core.

Let me show you all the main differences by categories all the differentiations.

Here are the major differences between 4-cores and 6-cores:

Cores

The physical core count is a significant fact in delivering high performance. Honestly speaking, a quad-core can’t handle the workload as fast as a Hexa core will. Not all the cores will work at a time because the first two or three cores of the 6-core CPU might finish the execution.

So, you should keep the six-core at the top of the priority list if you need to handle CPU-intensive workloads. The sad but true fact is a weak six-core CPU can’t compete against a powerful four-core CPU. Before buying one, read the detailed spec sheet.

We have a separate article that details how to check the number of CPU cores on your computer. Do check it out.

Processing Speed

A CPUs processing speed is a key factor, measured in GHz.  GHz resembles a clock that beats a set number of times per second. A CPU marked with 3.8 GHz means its clock speed is 3.8 billion per second.

The number of cycles a CPU executes per second is the clock speed of that specific CPU. Hexa core-based processors have a higher number of GHz, but not for all. It depends on the series of the particular CPU.

Six core CPU naturally has a faster processing speed than a four core.

If a six-core CPU has a lower clock speed than a four-core, it will execute all the instructions faster with more cores.

So, GHz does matter to deliver high performance, and if you want to explore this fact a bit more, you can dive deep.

Base Vs. Boost Clock

Base clock speed is the frequency at which a CPU handles all the low-level tasks, such as browsing the net, working in Word or Excel, light image editing, etc. Even when the CPU is idle, you’ll find it’s holding the base clock speed from time to time. But the clock speed fluctuates randomly.

Modern CPUs can keep the CPU under the base clock to save power. When you launch any app, it will start working with the base clock. Boost clock speed pushes when a CPU executes heavy work with maximum power.

Six-core based CPU finishes tasks faster with its boosted clock speed whether it has a lower base clock than a four-core CPU. When six cores working in the boosted frequency can execute heavy workloads faster than four cores will.

Well, you can research a bit more to know about all the significant factors of base vs. boost clock speed.

Multithread

If you have two more extra sub-hands, you can work more, right? Similarly,  multithreaded CPUs can handle more tasks with the help of extra virtual cores along with physical cores. Four cores with eight threads can handle all the tasks with ease.

But can it exceed a Hexa core?

Without any doubt, it can’t compete against 6-core & 12-threads or 6-cores with 6-threads CPU. Because not all the apps use the multi-threads, the two extra cores will cover up the multithreading lackings.

But there are some exceptions; from the benchmark, I found that core i5-4690K (4-cores) is better than FX 6300 (6-cores). So, having more cores doesn’t mean you can win with it. The same goes for a CPU with hyperthreading and another one with non-hyperthreading.

The below chart shows i5-4690K vs FX-6300 performance differences:

The i5-4690K has a lower TDP of 88W, and FX-6300 has a TDP of 95W. Despite having a lower TDP, the four-core i5 outruns FX-6300.

Hyperthreading facilitates the CPU for sure, but physical cores are facts.

Heat Generation

More cores will produce more heat, and it’s natural. When the CPU executes all the instructions, it hits the boosted clock speed, producing heat. More clock speed means more heat.

When all six core work simultaneously, it will generate more temperature than four cores. So, heat generation is higher in hexa core CPUs.

Heat can cause overheating and that results in a lag in games. We have explored how heat affects your gaming sessions in a separate article. Do check it out.

IPC

IPC stands for Instructions per cycle, representing the number of instructions a CPU can complete in one cycle. The higher IPC indicates a powerful CPU. But a multicore CPU with a lower IPC is not a good option to buy.

You won’t find IPC in the CPUs spec sheet, but you’ll notice it in the benchmark. Modern CPUs come with higher IPC, and that’s why four-core-based CPUs have less IPC than a six-core CPU.

We have explored a CPU’s IPC in great depth in a separate article. Do check it out

iGPU

iGPU or integrated graphics comes with the CPU and can perform sufficiently for typical daily tasks. Integrated graphics vary from gen to gen. If you compare similar gen’s four-core CPU with a six-core one, you’ll get the same level of integrated GPU.

But the latest gen six-core processor will have a better iGPU than its previous gen’s four or six-core processor. You can find if your CPU comes with iGPU in another article.

I hope you get all the key differences between 4-core and 6-core CPUs. Some cores might not work when the CPU is idle because they are in the perked state. But you can enable all the cores of a CPU if you want to remain active all the time.

Quad Core Vs. 6 Core: Which is Better?

To know which CPU is better, a quad-core or a hexa-core, you must know how these CPUs perform in gaming, office work, or graphical-related work. If you are using the PC only for moderate usage, you can select a four-core CPU, but a hexa-core CPU is a must for high workloads.

Here are the key factors in determining the better CPU between a quad-core and a hexa-core:

Gaming

When you’re gaming, you’ll see a significant performance boost when you shift from a four-core to a six-core CPU. While gaming, all the CPU cores execute tons of data. Gaming with higher resolutions needs a powerful processor.

Some might think GPU is the main factor for gaming, but it’s a misconception. You must need a high core-based CPU and a high-end GPU that can handle graphical and logical calculations as quickly as possible.

Games like Total War: Warhammer 2 will run without issues if you have a six-core CPU rather than a four-core. But older games are playable with lesser-core CPUs.

I have tested i5-9400F by playing the Dalaran Stree race. I configured the CPU with two-core, four-core & six-core for testing purposes and found the below result while gaming.

The following chart shows the gaming performance comparison for the different core counts of the same processor:

So, for gaming, a six-core CPU is a game changer.

Office Work

If you want to choose a CPU between a six or four-core, you should select the six-core one because it will help handle all the office-related apps easily. More core means more applications can run simultaneously without compromising performance.

You can switch between apps without any stutter or issues. Essential apps like MS Word, Excel, Outlook, and Spotify will only use a single thread. For these apps, you can go for a four-core CPU.

But if you want to run heavy apps like programming-based software, you must shift to a six-core CPU. Moving to the six-core CPU for future proofing will open apps faster without issues.

Graphics-based Work

There is no alternative to using a higher core-based CPU when editing images, designing graphics, rendering videos, or editing videos. More cores are a must to handle all the CPU-intensive work because all the video editing apps need to execute more instructions at a time.

Image editing requires applying multiple layers and effects or exporting that image to a high resolution. So, you need more cores with high clock speeds for all these. Rendering videos is a high CPU-intensive work.

A processor with a six-core can render videos faster than a four-core CPU. 3D modeling is a complex task, and it needs lots of processing power of both CPU & GPU. When you use CAD software, you must prefer a six-core CPU over a four-core.

So, a six-core CPU is a suitable spot for graphics-based work.

It’s not just the gamers who need a GPU. You also need a good GPU to handle your productivity work. Read our separate article where we’ve covered this topic in great detail.

Day-to-Day Use

For day-to-day or moderate usage, you can count on a 4-core CPU. Browsing the internet or watching movies don’t require more than 4-cores, and it’s enough for these types of tasks.

So, I think you should choose a 4-core processor for daily usage with light apps.

I hope you get a clearer picture of which CPU to use, four-core or six-core. If you want my expert opinion, I suggest going for the higher core count CPUs. It will ensure future-proofing for both gaming and graphics-related works and so on.

FAQs

Are 6-core CPUs better than 4-core?

For daily usage like browsing the web, watching videos, and normal image editing, you can count on 4-cores. But gaming, video rendering, and 3D modeling must need a 6-core CPU.

Is a 4-core CPU enough for daily usage?

For moderate daily usage like light gaming, web browsing, and working with Word or Excel, you can count on a 4-core CPU.

Do you need a 4 or 6 cores CPU?

If you play AAA-titled games a lot, edit videos, or render them all the time, you just need a CPU with six cores. Other than moderate daily usage, you can count on a four-core CPU.

Conclusion

Modern apps and games run great with powerful processors because those are programmed to use all the cores. For ensuring high performance, more cores are a blessing.

That’s why games, video rendering, or 3D modeling requires powerful CPUs with more cores. I have shown all the key differences between a 4-core and a 6-core CPU in this article. The comparison shows that a 6-core CPU is better in every aspect.

For more CPU-related queries, knock me in the comment box. See you at the next one. Good luck!

How many cores do modern games need — choosing the optimal processor with TG

Will 4 cores be enough for you, or is it better to take a new expensive 8-core processor? Let’s figure it out

Since the advent of two cores, there has been an irreconcilable struggle for truth. Some gamers are sure that modern games do not need many cores. Moreover, these guys claim that more is worse, because it is preferable to take a processor with a maximum clock speed. Others believe that the cores are the key to the future, which means that you need to stock up on 16 cores today, because tomorrow it may be too late. In fact, we will not go to extremes, since it is always necessary to subject both here and the other position to critical analysis. In this case, it is worth trying to evaluate the impact of a particular number of cores on the increase in the number of frames per second. We will do this without using synthetic tests, which may show accurate data, but correlate very little with the games existing on the market.

Well, the guys from the Testing Games channel will help us. They took the Core i9-11900K processor and analyzed its performance in several games, alternately turning on from one to all eight cores. The clock frequency remained at the base level. A high-speed GeForce RTX 3080 was used as a video card, and the gaming resolution did not exceed 1080p. Note that for many games it was possible to set 4K, but in this case, the team was interested in the indicator of the dependence of fps on the number of cores, which is perfectly fixed at low resolutions. You can view the results in the table below.

If you have already looked at the table carefully, you understand that today dual-core processors are not designed for games. Moreover, even the once popular 4-core gems are not able to provide decent performance with the new generation of video cards. You just don’t have enough of these cores, and the CPU won’t reveal the GPU, no matter how trite it sounds. Keep in mind that 4 cores, despite being far behind 6 and 8, can be a temporary solution, especially when you want to save up money for a more powerful 6-core or just waiting for a new generation to come out, which should bring a boost without increasing the cores.

As for choosing more expensive processors with 8 cores or more, and 6-core stones, the answer is unequivocal: if you have extra money that you simply have nowhere to spend, treat yourself to an 8-core or even 16-core processor. You can show it to your friends, who will undoubtedly be happy for you. In addition, such a stone will break records in synthetic tests, as well as complex tasks faced by 1% of all PC users. In case the money does not fall out of your pockets, it is better to take the popular model for 6 cores. In fact, the choice is huge, from the Ryzen 5 3600, to the Core i5-11600K. You can limit yourself to less expensive processors of past generations, or take something simpler, such as the Core i5-11400.

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Which is more important: cores or threads? — Hi-Tech Mail.ru

One of the most important characteristics of a modern processor is the number of cores and threads. This directly affects price and performance, so you need to clearly understand the advantages and disadvantages of a particular processor model.

Most modern processors support multithreading. Intel’s multithreading technology is called Hyper Threading (HT), AMD’s is Simultaneous Multithreading (SMT) . Without going into technical details, its essence is that the system defines one physical processor core as two logical (virtual) ones. In practice, this allows you to load the physical processor core with a second instruction thread if the first thread is idle. That is, the kernel is used more efficiently and does more work.

Cores and threads are specified in the GPU-Z utility

An HT or SMT capable processor always has twice as many threads as cores. For brevity, this can be denoted in the following way: 4C / 8T (from English cores — cores, threads — threads).

There are many models on sale with different numbers of cores and threads, so you need to figure out which is better and which processor to choose. This is especially important when choosing a replacement processor. The information in the article is relevant for Ryzen and Intel Core processors starting from the sixth generation.

Same number of cores

Example: Ryzen 5 3500 — 6 cores / 6 threads, Ryzen 5 3600 — 6 cores / 12 threads

When comparing processors with the same number of cores but different number of threads , then everything is obvious. Ceteris paribus, a processor with more threads will be better. This does not always provide a significant advantage, as optimization and support from the software is still needed. However, in compatible programs, performance will be better.

Overpayment is not always justified. The Ryzen 5 3500 and Ryzen 5 3600 processors have six cores each, but differ in cache size and SMT support. The difference between them is about 3500 rubles, and between the usual R5 3500 and R5 3600X about 5500 rubles. At the same time, all these processors can be overclocked, and the difference in some games is almost invisible. Another thing is if you need professional software, for example, for video editing. There, multithreading will not be superfluous for sure.

It is also worth noting that a multi-threaded processor has more headroom for the future. Provided that the software being used is efficient in streaming.

Same number of threads

0002 In this situation, a processor with eight full cores would be preferable , even if you do not take into account the difference in generations. After all, physical cores are more powerful than virtual ones.

Looking at software support, more physical cores are more problem-free. For example, early versions of Cyberpunk 2077 did not use SMT technology. That is, users of AMD multi-threaded processors did not receive benefits.

Different number of cores and threads

Example: Core i7-7700K — 4 cores / 8 threads, Core i5-9600K — 6 cores / 6 threads

9 0002 The situation is more complicated when you need to compare processors with different number of cores and threads. In the line of Intel and AMD processors, there are models with both HT and SMT, and without them. For example, the Intel Core i7-7700K has four cores and eight threads, while the Intel Core i5-9600K has two more cores but only six threads. It is difficult to say offhand which is better, since in the first case the processor has more threads, and in the second — physical cores.

In this case, it is important to understand that not only the number of cores and threads are important, but also other characteristics of the processor and system: cache size, architecture, memory controller, etc. In various usage scenarios, this may either not affect at all, or and be the deciding factor. Processors of different generations can differ significantly in performance, so in a direct comparison, the newer processor is likely to have an advantage.

When it comes to building a PC from scratch, in most cases it will be preferable to take a newer processor. However, if you need to evaluate the prospects for upgrading from an older processor, then it is better to look at direct comparisons. In our case, the video shows that the six-core processor has a slightly higher load, but the performance is not much different. Is it worth it in this case to change the Core i7-7700K to the Core i5-9600K, the question is very controversial.