Does It Help Or Hinder?
The latest processor to go through TechPowerUp’s gauntlet of gaming is the Intel Core i9-13900K. They tested it in 53 games spanning the last decade to include DX11, DX12 and Vulkan in the results, and tested at 1080p, 1440p and at 4K. They also used an RTX 4090 for all the testing, to ensure they weren’t running into GPU limitations when attempting to benchmark the CPU.
In default settings the Core i9-13900K has 24 cores, eight of which are Performance and 16 of which are Efficiency which led TPU to wonder if disabling them to ensure that a game could only access the Hyperthreaded Performance cores would impact performance. As it turns out, it very much depends on the game itself. The age of the game doesn’t seem to be a deciding factor either, as Civ VI and Far Cry 5 both liked E-Cores disabled while DOTA and others ran better with them enabled.
The API doesn’t seem to matter that much either, when they broke the chart up into DX 11 only, there is still a mixed bag of results and the same with DX12/Vulkan. This seems to suggest that game developers haven’t caught up with Intel yet, and except in a few rare circumstances you might as well leave your E-Cores on, as games are not yet really aware of them.
It will be interesting to see how the performance of games evolves over the coming years.