PC Gear Lab

Is A Quad Core Processor Good for Gaming? – Learn Here

You have to check a few boxes when building your gaming PC to avoid any surprises or disappointments. It’s therefore a great idea to ask questions such as is a quad core processor good for gaming.

Many games will run fine on a quad core processor, including some modern triple-A games. But if you want to squeeze out as many FPSs as possible or game at high resolutions with higher refresh rates, you’ll need to go higher.

But before we get into the details, two things will matter for gaming. The first is whether the CPU supports Simultaneous multithreading or hyperthreading, and the second is the clock speed of the CPU.

When the important things are taken care of, a quad core will offer some good gaming performance, especially compared to dual-core devices.

Is A Quad Core Processor Good for Gaming?

With modern CPUs having anywhere up to 64 cores, it’s not uncommon to wonder, is a quad core processor good for gaming. The simple answer is yes. You can easily play games on a quad core CPU.

The main reason for this is that most games, older and newer, still leverage the single core performance of the CPU and do not scale well with multiple cores.

However, there are exceptions so lets a have a look at some popular titles and how many cores they use ideally.:

Lighter Games that Do Not Have a High Core Requirement

is a dual core processor good for gaming
Minecraft is primarily a Single Core game and can work sufficiently well with a dual core processor

Many FPS and online games work great with limited amount of cores.

Heavier Games that Require A Lot of Cores

ashes of singularity 2
Simulation and Strategy games like Ashes of Singularity are famous for utilizing multiple cores – a lot more than 2 cores.

Most of the strategy games and simulation games where a lot of processing needs to take place for so many objects and elements, you would benefit from a high core count.

  • Cities Skylines: Certain aspects of the game like simulation speed benefit drastically from a higher core count.
  • MS Flight Simulator: Needs a beefy processor with 8 or more cores to work smoothly.
  • Ashes of Singularity:  A strategy game built on Nitrous Engine and is notoriously famous for using as many cores as you can give it.

Single-Core Performance is a Critical

The single-core performance of a chip will say a lot about its overall performance for gaming. If you’re planning to play games on a quad core CPU, you should aim for as much clock speed as possible depending on your budget.

Since most games do not scale well with multiple cores, Single-Core performance factor is still the reigning metric for

Multicore Performance

Since more and more games, particularly newer titles, are taking advantage of multiple CPU cores, this should not be ignored.

Also, a higher core performance and count matters these days for all PCs. Even if you have 4 cores on your CPU with 2 of them being utilized for the game, you will need the other two for the background running applications.

This is particularly true if stream your games. Streaming requires a lot of cores and processing as the CPU has to not only process the game but also encode your streams.

CPU Generation

Is A Quad Core Processor Good for Gaming
Always go for the newest gen processors. Source: cpubenchmark.net

A 10th gen quad core with a certain clock speed will be much better than a 7th gen chip with the same speed speed. This has a lot to do with CPU design, as newer CPUs are built to be more efficient.

You can see above that the newer 10th gen Core i3-10100 quad core CPU scores much higher than the older 7th gen Core i5-7600 processor despite being much cheaper.

That said, if you are looking to play new titles on a quad core CPU, consider getting a newer generation chip. That’s the 5000 series (5th gen) for AMD and 10th gen for Intel, although the 11th gen models are right around the corner. That should be ideal if your budget can allow it.

Many improvements are usually made in each new CPU generation, including higher IPC and lower TDPs. Having seen, is a quad core processor good for gaming, let’s see how some perform.

All Games Will Perform Differently

All games are built differently and their performance on certain systems will depend on how optimized the game is.

Some games are built to run on single cores. They will do this on a quad core CPU with little effort, depending on the single-core performance of the CPU. For games that are meant to use as many cores as possible, having more cores will be beneficial.

When playing simulation and strategy games, the CPU will be doing many calculations simultaneously. For this, you will need a good CPU to effectively run the calculations. A quad core can come in handy.

How Games Use Cores?

The individual processing units on a CPU are known as cores. CPUs can have anywhere from 2 to 64 cores in the desktop segment.

Cores have their own ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit), registers, and a control unit. They also have cache; small amounts of memory that store the instructions that the CPUs will likely need.

Once the game is loaded to the RAM, the CPU can fetch instructions via the data bus for processing. But, for faster performance, hot data is stored on the cache instead.

A quad core CPU allows the CPU to fetch and execute instructions on four different pipelines simultaneously.

These operations are timed by an internal clock, whose speed is measured in GHz. This shows how fast the CPU, and by extension, the cores, can run. This can be increased via overclocking to improve the CPU’s speed.

What to Expect from a Quad Core?

You may be able to get good frame rates from a quad core CPU on a decent system, depending on the game you’re playing and the settings. With more demanding games, you may experience frame drops, especially on scenes where the CPU needs to do lots of calculations.

The likelihood of pushing many frames and a high refresh rate with high resolutions are low, but having a game running and be playable is very likely.


To sum up, is a quad core processor good for gaming? Well, it is. Of course, this will depend on the CPU’s performance and the generation it’s from; not to mention the games you’ll be playing.

When aiming to play on a quad core CPU, consider getting the newer processors from Intel or AMD with high processor speeds. With as few as four cores, the single-core performance of the chip is vital.

You may not be able to run at full setting or high resolution on some games, but you will be able to get playable quality scenes and frame rates.

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We are team of two engineers with a keen interest and a passion for PC builds and hardware.

PCGearLab.com is essentially the culmination of our enthusiasm towards this subject. We review PC peripherals and hardware, talk about custom builds and informative topics regarding troubleshooting issues, understanding a component better and general tips for DIY PC builders.

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