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Which Is The Best CPU – Intel vs AMD

Computers and technology have spawned a number of great rivalries over the years and none more so than between the two major CPU producers – Intel and AMD. Intel has pretty much dominated the CPU market for much of the past couple of decades but, with the release of its Ryzen series of processors, has AMD finally produced a worthy competitor?

In years gone by I have worked on plenty of AMD-powered machines and have invariably been frustrated by their poor performance – slow doesn’t even begin to describe it. AMD CPUs were well-known to be inferior to Intel equivalents and that was largely down to major differences in architecture. Intel chose to focus on IPC (instructions Per Cycle/Clock) improvements while AMD focused on parallelism. Intel’s approach equipped processors with fewer but extremely powerful cores while AMD’s approach included more, but far weaker, cores.

IPC governs the number of instructions that can be executed in a single clock cycle and an IPC uplift improves a CPU’s efficiency by a considerable margin. AMD finally caught on and, with the introduction of its Ryzen series of processors in 2017, managed a 50%+ improvement in IPC, finally closing the gap on Intel.

(Credit: PassMark CPU Benchmarks)
CPU Market Share

As you can see from the above graph, the market share for desktop PCs has gone from 80% Intel/20% AMD in 2016 to roughly 50% each in 2022. A quite remarkable turnaround.

I have always been an Intel man myself, there was a time when I wouldn’t touch an AMD processor with a barge pole. However, times change, especially in the world of technology, and I would now have no qualms about buying or building a machine powered by a Ryzen series processor. When formulating the idea for this article, I had originally intended to include a number of benchmarks for comparison purposes. However, I hit a couple of stumbling blocks:

  1. There is such a variety in Intel and AMD models that getting a handle on exact equivalents is very difficult
  2. There are way too many different benchmarks, each measuring different aspects of a processor’s performance

That said, you will find lots of information relating to processors at PassMark Software-CPU Benchmarks, including performance ranking charts and a feature where you can directly compare one CPU with another.

Which Is The Best CPU For You

Intel vs AMD

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve long been an Intel man – all my machines have been fitted with a high-end Intel i5 series quad-core processor. I’ve always found that the i5 provides the perfect performance:value ratio for my particular purposes. That said, my latest machine is running an Intel i7-11700. I’ve never been a fan of the Intel i3 series – I do not believe the i3 provides a very good performance:value ratio and, if a client is looking for an entry-level machine and working to a budget, I’ll always recommend a high-end Pentium rather than going with an i3. If you’re not happy with a Pentium series CPU, I strongly recommend skipping the i3 and going with an i5 series.

Choosing a CPU is very much a matter of horses for courses. For example, keen gamers are always going to want a high-performance CPU whereas the average home user, who is merely using the PC for email and the occasional browsing, will get by with a less powerful and less expensive CPU. When it comes to the question, Intel or AMD? I’m of the opinion that the two are so close in terms of performance these days, it’s a matter of a coin toss.

Are you an Intel or AMD person? And, if you’re an Intel person, would you consider going with a Ryzen series processor, especially if the price is right? Let us know in the comments.

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10 thoughts on “Which Is The Best CPU – Intel vs AMD”

  1. Hi Jim,

    The last PC I bought (a laptop about 1 year ago) is an AMD Ryzen 7 5700U. Prior to this, everything was an Intel. AMD seems fine.

    JD

  2. GenuineIntel
    Model name: Pentium(R) Dual-Core CPU E6700 @ 3.20GHz
    I also like using Intel. It is old but it is still running well.

  3. I have always been an AMD guy. It started back in the single core days when AMD was the King of CPU’s. When dual cores came along, AMD fell behind for reasons I still don’t get. I stuck with them though. My last single core desktop CPU was the Athlon64 3500+ which was one the best CPU’s of it’s day. My first laptop had the Turion64 ML-34chip which was also pretty good. I used laptops exclusively from 2006-2014 and the second one had the first generation Llano APU in it. Specifically the A8-3500M which had the best integrated graphics of it’s day and was why I chose it over Intel. In 2014, I bought a gaming Desktop that had an FX-6300 CPU. Many people dump on the FX chips but they weren’t all that bad in my opinion. The 6300 was roughly equivalent to the i5-2400. That desktop got upgraded about a year ago with a Ryzen 5 5600X and is a 1080p gaming beast with it’s RX 6600XT GPU. On the laptop front, in 2018 I got an Acer Nitro 5 with a Ryzen 5 2500U CPU and an RX 560X video card. 6 months ago, I got an ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 with the Ryzen R9 6900HS CPU and the RX 6800S graphics card and it’s a beast.

    AMD did fall behind for a time with multicore CPU’s but now are right back up there with Ryzen. I know people pronounce it as Rye-Zen but I have always said Risen as in risen from mediocrity back to prominence.

    So you can tell I’ve been an AMD guy with all my systems having their CPU’s and GPU’s. I have never owned a computer with Nvidia Graphics. My very first PC was bought in 1999 and had a Pentium 3 CPU and an ATI graphics card. I have had nothing Intel since then.

    1. I grew up with privacy minded family and all the computers (desktops) primarily I purchased I chose AMD because although I am not techie Intel was known (or so I read in many articles) on those that had their CPU so I always went w AMD.

  4. Intel 11700K for me Jim and despite some initial negative and incorrect reviews on release about excess heat I have been very happy with it and the AIO always keeps it at a very respectable 60 degrees even running burn-in software at 100%. Have always stuck with Intel because I have built many systems and never had any issues with any of them – at least related to a problematic CPU. I am sure AMD are just as good but I stick with what I know and what has worked for me.
    Cheers
    Reg

    1. No overheating issues with my i7-11700 either Reg. I’ve always been happy with an i5 previously but must admit, the uplift in performance with the i7 is well and truly noticeable.

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