Choosing any piece of hardware for your new gaming computer is hard. Before you can decide on any particular model for any part of the hardware, you have to opt for a brand, and in the CPU world, the two leading players in the market are AMD and Intel.
Everyone who’s ever wondered which CPU to pick has asked this question? Or which one is better for gaming? The answer may surprise you, but before we get there, we have to reflect a bit on just how the CPU scene got to where it is now?
You probably know that Intel had been the premium choice for a long time. It’s part of the reason why many people who don’t follow the CPU scene still favor it so strongly to this day. They had better technology and overall better performance, especially in the high end.
Whereas AMD provided more affordable solutions that relied solely on power to compete with Intel, and this worked just fine until 2013 when things took a turn for the worse for AMD.
They just finished releasing their FX series of CPUs that offered an unprecedented amount, of course, high overclocking, potential, and high base clock speeds.
The FX series was a very viable option when they first came out, but AMD could not make anything better. Years went by without AMD making any big new releases, and while their technology stagnated, Intel’s just kept getting better and better.
The FX series was soon left powering entry-level, and some mid-range gaming rigs and a series app use only used in basic non-gaming computers.
Many thoughts that the only thing keeping AMD afloat was the acquisition of ATI and their Radeon series of GPUS. The only glimmer of hope was the Zen technology that they had been working on for years, and then it finally happened in March 2017. Read More Intel Core Vs Intel Core X Series – Best Differences?
AMD Ryzen series of CPUs
We got the AMD Ryzen series of CPUs,
The first of these to hit the shelves was the high-end Ryzen 7 CPUs that were made to compete with Intel’s i7 models.
The other models were released over the year. These were the Ryzen 5 and the Ryzen 3 as well as the one CPU to rule them all.
The Ryzen thread ripper.
AMD stuck to what they do best with a series of CPUs. They were reliable and affordable, and they offered great overclocking potential and core counts that put Intel to shame. The result was just what you’d imagine.
The Ryzen CPUs leveled the playing field and forced intel to adapt, which they did. The 8th generation of intel CPUs finally saw the increasing core count, especially in their low and mid rage i3 and i5 processors.
So, which one is better now you asked the AMD Ryzen series or the Intel core series? Well to pass any judgment we first have to look at how well they stack up against each other in terms of,
- Clock speed
- Core count
When it comes to clock speed, these two quite evenly match AMD’s more robust architecture had allowed their CPUs to achieve higher base speeds in the past, but this is no longer the case.
However, clock speeds presented on paper are, in general, a poor way to estimate a processor’s performance. They can be very misleading. Especially nowadays, but you won’t find a gaming CPU with a base clock speed of under 3 gigahertz.
The second thing to consider is overclocking. We’ve already mentioned that AMD processors have known for their great overclocking potential, and this, of course, didn’t change with the Ryzen CPUs.
Every model is unlocked, meaning that you’re free to overclock them so long as your motherboard and chipset support this.
On the other hand, only specific Intel processors can be overclocked, and these are marked by the inclusion of a K at the end of the model number. These can be either standalone models or alternatives to already existing ones.
But whatever the case they’re more expensive. The reason non-K processors don’t support overclocking is that it would generally damage them.
In truth, overclocking potential will vary from model to model. It all depends on how well they can handle the extra voltage, how much excess heat they’ll produce, and how much additional performance you can get out of them.
However, AMD does generally have the upper hand here as all their models can be overclocked and often to a greater extent.
Core counts AMD and Intel
Now, if we’re talking core counts, then we have to start with the AMD. The high number of physical cores in Ryzen CPUs was one of their main selling points. In this regard, they outdid every model until was offering enforcing until to play catch-up.
Before Ryzen came along, Intel was generally stingy with physical cores instead relying on hyper-threading to make one physical core primarily function as 2 logical cores or threads as they called.
Ryzen still has the upper hand in this regard, even with the introduction of 8th gen Intel CPUs. Sure, they evenly match at entry levels with both Ryzen 3 and the new core i3 boasting 4 cores, but in mid-range and high-end AMD has Intel beat.
Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 respectively have 4 and 8 physical cores with hyper-threading. In contrast, both the 8th gen i5 and i7 have 6 physical cores, with only the latter possessing hyperthreading capabilities.
The playing field is a bit more even at the pinnacle of desktop computing with the rise in thread Ripper and i9 processors.
The thread Ripper series has 3 models, each with 8, 12, and 16 physical cores. Meanwhile, there are currently 5 i9 models with physical core counts ranging from 10 to 18. Of course, much like with clock speed, just seeing the core count on paper isn’t a reliable way to gauge performance.
So, what is the actual performance? How do these two series of processors stack up relative to each other?
Well, for that, we have to take a look at the benchmarks to be sure. Here we can see the truth about the CPUs performance and potential. And it’s from these benchmarks that we arrive at one general rule of thumb rise in CPUs are better at multitasking, but core CPUs are better at single threat tasks.
It would help if you kept in mind that modern games are hardly single thread tasks. Developers make sure to optimize their game to take full advantage of modern CPUs in their high core and thread counts. Of course, this performance discrepancy is rarely that big unless the game was optimized to work better on a specific brand.
The last thing to take into consideration is compatibility. This one impacts performance, but it can save you a lot of cash. The two critical aspects of the motherboard we need to take into consideration when discussing compatibility are the socket and the chipset.
Socket and chipset
The socket is just what it sounds. A slot where the CPU is fit to the motherboard and the chipset is what the CPU uses to communicate with the other components. So, you have to make sure that your CPU is compatible with both the socket and the chipset.
Socket and chipset of Ryzen
Ryzen CPUs use the latest say AM4 sockets and chipsets, that aredesign for them. And they were intended to be as forward compatible and future proof as possible.
Socket and chipset of intel
On the other hand, while Intel CPUs have been using the LG 1151 sockets for a while, they generally require a newer version of the chipset with each new generation of the CPU. It means that you’d have to get a new motherboard before you could switch out your last-gen CPU for a next-gen one.
So, which one is better?
With all that we’ve said in mind, AMD takes the lead on this one. It’s not that their CPUs perform much better it’s just that there’s far more cost-effective both in the long term and short term. The AM4 socket is here to stay, which cannot say for the LG 1151 socket that Intel uses. It first came out in 2015 and given used for the past 3 CPU generations.
We’d say that it’s likely to overstay its welcome sooner rather than later. Intel CPU might be more powerful but only marginally so.
In contrast, the price gap is far from being marginal. Add to that the compatibility issues plaguing the Intel Core CPUs, and the choice becomes obvious. Of course, if you want the extra performance and are ready to pay for it, then, by all means, go with Intel.
We can only recommend Intel processors to professionals at the moment.
If you’re a gamer, then Ryzen is the better choice, at least for the foreseeable future.
So, what do you think do you agree with us, or do you think Intel CPUs justify their price with what they offer?