Here are some pretty general questions from a new developer / moderate gamer about CPU core counts and how they affect the developer experience in terms of convenience and QoL. Feel free to answer any/all :)

Please refrain from giving financial / PC gaming advice - these questions are targeted toward the software development profession in general, thanks!

  • As a software developer, how appealing is a 12-core CPU to you? Is it much more appealing over a 6 or 8 core CPU in the same family?
  • For those who have upgraded to a higher core-count CPU within a single architecture (e.g., 3600 to 3900), has your QoL as a developer improved noticeably? Yes/No
  • What are some common scenarios for a dev where 12 cores is awesome compared to 6 cores?
  • In general, do you think developers benefit more from single thread performance over increased core counts (e.g., 12-core Zen 2 vs. 8-core Zen 3)?
  • What type of developer benefits the most from high core-count CPUs?
  • In general, developers, and QA staff in particular, should use systems that are no better than the systems of the intended user. Developers, in the end, should feel the same pain as do users, lest they create software that is unusable on lesser systems. That said, look at the requirements for the development software that they will use. For example, if using Adobe Acrobat, look at their minimum specs: helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/system-requirements.html . Jul 23 at 1:20
  • @DrMoishePippik I strongly dissagree with this. The overhead of development tools is so high, especially with some less optimised compilers. that it would be extremely frustrating to develop a project on a system that it would run on flawlessly. Development also uses unoptimised code for a reason. Optimisations can quickly cause code to be less changable and readable. They can also quickly be useless after these changes. Because of that it's done late in the cycle. So you need a stronger machine to run these. finally you can simulate slower machines, but never faster ones.
    – skippy
    Jul 23 at 10:03
  • @DrMoishePippik As the other comment mentioned, I feel like it's much easier to simulate lesser machines on a greater one. The user won't be dealing with compile times, model training, package management, etc., I feel like torturing yourself with laymans hardware would be a cripple.
    – ktom
    Jul 24 at 18:02

This really depends on the type of work you are doing. Some compilers are way better with multithreading than others. Others still require more ram or faster storage to improve the process.

I recently upgraded from a 6500 to a 10700 on my office workstation. Alongside a Ram bump from 16 to 32gb.

QoL increased massively. Working in visual studio on an asp.net c# environment I've noticed that compile times roughly halved and it's easier to have several instances of the code open to use as a reference.

In general I basically want a fast cpu with at least 8 cores. Looking at my work style I also prefer 32gb of memory, but colleagues seem fine with 16gb.

It's difficult to say what type of developer requires the fastest PC. Someone who works with large databases for example could have access to a test server, and only need a small system to access it. another that does the same job but doesn't have a test server would need an extremely powerful system.

  • Thanks for the input. I've found that lately I've been getting a little disgruntled working on certain mobile projects that can sometimes compile for 5-10 minutes. I've been trying to keep a mental note of how many minutes of productive work I'd save if I didn't have to wait all those times. Plus, in those wait periods I tend to lose a lot of focus. It's nice to hear you've had such a noticeable change.
    – ktom
    Jul 24 at 18:00

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