The battle between CPUs or processors is evident to see which stands on top. If you intend to get a new PC or laptop now, it is essential to know a little about the processor’s prowess. And the two of the top processors that we have picked today are – AMD and Intel. So, let’s see who is superior to the other, or are they equivalent?
When debating the best operating system for a PC, macOS and Windows are questioned. Similarly, AMD and Intel are rivals regarding CPUs or processors.
A solid CPU is excellent for any computer, PC, or laptop. It influences the device’s performance for various functionalities. It locks the accessibility to other technologies like motherboards and chipsets to one unique platform.
So, of the two most happening desktop processors, AMD and Intel, which do you think are better?
Whatever CPU brand you pick will largely depend on the budget and purpose. And it is not always the case that you have to get the most expensive processor to get the best performance for everything. Most often, the purpose of the work decides which processor will suit your device.
But, before we get into the comparison mode, let’s have a gist of what is AMD and Intel.
AMD (Advanced Micro Devices)
AMD is an abbreviation for Advanced Micro Devices. Based in California, it is a multinational semiconductor company. For decades, they have manufactured motherboards, semiconductors, CPUs, microchips, and many other computer components.
AMD processors are cheaper than the Intel ones, even if they are of the higher range. They are more efficient than the active Core generation series by Intel. Laptops and PCs running Ryzen processors are less aggressive and run for long.
So, if you are looking for laptops with long battery life and high iGPU performance, check out the many Ryzen-powered laptops. However, avoiding AMD’s A-series APUs (CPU + GPU) would be best as they exceed tremendous heat and faster power consumption.
For everyday and casual use, you can still go for Ryzen APU-powered desktops. Ryzen 7 or 9 CPUs are best for heavy work like 3D modeling, video editing, and constant gaming.
Numerous versions of AMD processors are:
- AMD FX
- Ryzen 3 – 4-core
- Ryzen 5 – 6-core
- Ryzen 7 – 8-core
- Ryzen 9 – 16-core
- Ryzen Threadripper – 64-core
Intel is an abbreviation for Integrated Electronics. Based in Silicon Valley, it is also an American multinational technology corporation that produces x86 processors.
Intel processors come with iGPU and offer good CPU performance. While you can get higher performance from them, it will cost battery life and power of the device. In comparison to AMD, Intel processors have fewer options as they frequently change the chipsets and motherboard.
Several Intel processor versions are namely
- Core i3
- Core i5
- Core i7
- Core i9x
- Core i9
That will be all for the reminder of what is AMD and Intel. So, we shall now begin our debate to get an answer to the most debatable confusion – Which is better, AMD or the Intel processor?
AMD Ryzen Vs. Intel Processor
To make the battle of desktop processors more simple and understandable, we will be using some metrics that are common to both.
Cost and value
Pricing is a significant concern, rather than the purpose and applicability, whenever we buy something. While it may not seem so, AMD processors are available at a lower cost than Intel ones, even if they are of a higher range (top segment) of processors with the same features.
For instance, Ryzen 7 offers a clock speed of 4.4 to 4.5GHz with a Wattage (TDP) of 65W to 105W and 16 Threads. At the same time, Core i7 provides a clock speed of 4.7 to 4.9GHz with a Wattage of 65W to 95W and 6 to 8 Threads. And both are top-segment processors. For a single working application, Intel Core i7 would be great. But in this age of multitasking, AMD Ryzen 7 is a better option for multi-functionality.
With the introduction of Intel’s Alder Lake, they are gaining traction. Sadly, the so-called same price range is influenced by the increase in chip prices. So, altogether the motherboard pricing did not offset the price differences.
Gaming CPU performance
The increase in gaming devices has significantly led to more AMD and Intel CPU choices. At the entry-level, both provide excellent gaming performance. But you still would not want to make the wrong choice right?
The Intel Core i5 offers the best raw CPU performance for gaming at a great deal. With its high clock speed and 6-cores, it would even surpass AMD’s top segment processors in competition to pricing. Intel’s leading segment processors have overclocking potential. Performance can be significantly enhanced from the PC hardware.
On the other hand, AMD processors, in the same range as Intel, substantially cost a bit more. While the performance is not poor, the raw gaming ability is still not mature. When compared with the Intel Core i5, you have the Ryzen 5 from AMD. Looking at its value, you can buy this version with an additional graphics card.
Ryzen 5 also has overclocking abilities like the Core i5. When Ryzen 5 runs on the latest Windows OS and Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, the automated overclocking algorithms will be pushed to over 3600x speed limit. That will give you 25% more processor power than intended.
But with Intel’s Alder Lake chips, the best CPU for gaming performance will undeniably go to Intel.
Top segment CPU performance
Top-segment processors may offer high performance but may not be worth the price. If you are a gamer, you would want processors that support high resolution. If the processor is insufficient, you can use graphics cards to enhance the game details and frame rates with the GPU.
The top segment processor from Intel is the core i9-10900K. It offers the ultimate graphics with its clock speed of 5.3GHz, 10 cores, and 20 Threads. The GPU performance would even surpass the mightiest of graphics cards. You should know that the processors might get heated with heavy overclocking. To offset that disadvantage, use a high-tier gaming setup with great composition.
In general, AMD processors cannot compete with Intel’s latest generation CPU, the Comet Lake. The best gaming CPU performance of AMD is the Ryzen 9 3900X. Its clock speed of 4.6GHz, 12 cores, and 24 threads offer solid performance. But, the high price tag is a letdown.
Heat and Power Consumption
Power consumption highly depends on the design choices of the byproduct. When there is high power consumption, there will be consequent heat generation. And in between AMD and Intel processors, AMD’s 7nm process node is to be discussed.
In Intel, the Alder Lake chips consume less power than the Rocket Lake chips. And the former is also much faster than any of its previous-generation chips. Its 14nm process node improved the power-to-performance ratio by a great margin in the market competition. At the same time, it also consumes more power and produces more heat relative to the AMD Ryzen 5.
However, Intel has tried to offset these disadvantages by pairing the Alder Lake with x86 hybrid architecture. As a result, the Intel 7 process significantly improved power consumption and heat generation. Yet, AMD Ryzen 5 is superior in these metrics.
The Ryzen 5 with 7nm chips has better power-to-performance efficiency. You can do more work with per Watt lesser energy consumption. Hence, in this aspect., AMD seems to outperform the Intel processors.
For those who don’t know what overclocking is, the ability of the processor or CPU to force the computer to run faster than its initial manufacturing limit. It is easy to overclock older computers to run advanced programs with enhanced CPU and CPU. While the overclocking process is mostly safe and does not harm the device, there is a high possibility of overheating and crashing.
A high clock speed indicates that the intended CPU or processor can perform more operations every second. Therefore, Intel has more overclocking ability than AMD compared to this aspect.
Get Intel’s Z-series motherboard and K-series chips. You can unlock the best potential of Intel’s overclocking prowess. But that is only possible with the Rocket Lake 11th-gen and Alder Lake 12th-gen processors.
AMD processors do not have much overclocking room to improve. All-core overclocking will instead affect the overall performance. However, AMD’s Precision Boost Overdrive can wring out additional chip performance based on the motherboard power and CPU cooling system. Either way, you cannot expect high frequencies as that of the Intel processors other than a performance boost.
Therefore, an Intel processor is the better option here instead of AMD processors.
Security is a huge issue that developers, manufacturers, and production houses should resolve to the best potential. These days, all the modern chipsets that computers are infused with have speculative security problems. They affect the performance of the processors. Even the slightest of vulnerabilities threaten the privacy and safety of the device.
Not long ago, Intel processors encountered Spectre v2-variant, significantly reducing performance. These could result in performance losses based on the workload on the CPU. Similarly, AMD is also not free of these attacks. They also discovered new vulnerabilities like the Meltdown-Esque variant.
However, both the processors have some in-silicon fixes to counter these vulnerabilities.
Software and Drivers
The history of AMD with software and driver support is not that great. It suffered plenty of issues. But Intel, with its OEMs, managed to gain stability.
With dedicated Intel Xe graphics, Intel GPU drivers are much better today with established products. They are changing the game for their products. The drivers and software challenges are not limited to Intels. But with Alder Lake architecture’s hybrid x86 design chips, E-cores, and P-cores can be used for performing varied tasks.
On the other hand, AMD had numerous problems with its BIOS that failed chips. Even with the 1st gen Zen architecture, AMD cannot bring out the chip’s full performance so you can forget about Zen 3 heavy-core designs.
Intel’s consequent effort with integrated graphics enabled them to correctly address the software driver issues. While there is still much room for improvement, Intel has gained status.
So, which one to go for?
Both AMD and Intel processors have outstanding performance features and capabilities. But, like any other competition, one outperforms the other in some aspects. What we can suggest is to choose the one that you think will suit your needs and purpose. For more work activities, you can go for Intel processors. If you are a gamer, your better option would be an AMD Ryzen processor.
Either way, workload, number of cores, and software drivers should be selected as needed. That way, you can get the best value for your money. If required, you can always purchase additional premium components.