Considering buying a new desktop PC, or thinking about upgrading your existing desktop PC’s processor? Either way, you’re going to have to choose between a processor made by Intel and one made by AMD. Well, we’re here to help you make that choice!
Intel and AMD have been tussling for processor superiority for many years now, and both brands have their adherents. We’ll put forward some of the most important considerations to help you make an informed decision about which brand of processor to invest in.
Price, value, specs
For many buyers, price is a key consideration–after all, what good is a great chip if you can’t afford to buy it? But value might actually be a far better consideration than just price. It’s fine to save some money on your processor purchase, but spending a little bit more to buy a processor that really meets your needs is a far better use of your hard-earned money.
AMD has a history of offering inexpensive and value-friendly processors, and for many years made its name for doing just that. However, in recent years, many of its recent offerings have been performance monsters, like the Ryzen 5000 processor series–while in many cases still costing less than the competition from Intel.
By the way, it’s worth mentioning that very few of AMD’s CPUs feature integrated graphics; those that do are called Accelerated Processing Units or APUs.
Specs-wise, AMD currently offers midrange and high-end processor options with more cores and/or threads, cache, and PCIe 4.0 support than Intel does. At the budget end, Intel is currently superior, but this may change given that AMD may soon release some pretty powerful low-end APUs.
“Performance” differs as a consideration depending on the needs and wants of buyers such as gamers, graphics and video makers, multitaskers, and casual users.
Gaming-wise, AMD largely rules the roost thanks to winning products like the aforementioned Ryzen 5000 processors, especially for gamers who prefer to play in 1080p and 1440p resolution. That being said, Intel has worked hard to close the gap between its products and AMD’s, making it hard to pick an outright winner between the two.
In terms of productivity and content creation, AMD has pulled ahead at the high-end, thanks to how generous it’s been in terms of infusing its top processors with threads and cores. For instance, the 16-core Ryzen 9 5950X boasts twice the core and thread count of Intel’s most powerful Core i9 processor, the i9-11900K. Down the ladder, Intel’s lower-echelon processors such as its Core i7 and i5 models compete well against AMD’s Ryzen 7 and 5 processors, thanks to their ability to offer almost comparable levels of performance at lower price points.
As far as overclocking goes, Intel rules the roost. Its processors have quite a bit more headroom–users stand to gain more performance over baseline speed with its processors than with AMD’s.
This, however, will require you to pay for the privilege: you’ll need to shell out for the pricey Intel K-Series chips, a Z-Series motherboard, and a good aftermarket cooler to boot. Intel’s also added memory overclocking to its newest B- and H-series motherboards as well.
AMD’s overclocking is easier for those buying lower-end units because it offers easier overclocking, but they might not enjoy as much performance over their baseline as Intel users can.
Power consumption and heat generation
Lastly, in terms of power consumption and heat generation, considerations such as process node and microarchitecture are crucial. The denser the process node and the more efficient the microarchitecture, the better.
The fact that AMD works with a 7nm process node–by stark contrast, Intel works with a 14nm node–makes a world of difference. AMD’s latest Ryzen processors use less power on a performance versus power basis and thus generate less heat than Intel’s processors do.
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