When you’re building a computer, or trying to upgrade once that time comes, you’re getting ready to make a very difficult decision. There are hundreds of different parts and components you can purchase, but first and foremost, you must ask yourself a simple question: Intel or AMD?
Like all the famous debates, such as Windows vs. Mac, PC vs. Console, and of course AMD vs. Intel. AMD vs. Intel is most likely one of the biggest debates among all computer builders. One of these two companies will be the brain and heart that runs your computer. AMD and Intel are just two sides of a coin, but either way you flip it, you’ll have to choose in the end. Let’s take a look at each company as well as weight the differences between each processor, such as Price, Performance, Support and Compatibility, Overclocking, and Graphics.
Up until recently, it was believed that AMD’s processors were cheaper, but now that Ryzen processors have proven AMD’s worth on the high-end, the prices have shifted. Now Intel is rated slightly higher in terms of budget, with its ability to offer far better performance than AMD for lower prices. This is largely due AMD’s reluctance to go beyond simply iterating on its old architecture and onto adopting the next generation standard that they have introduced with their higher end CPUs.
On the lower end of the prices in terms of the processors they offer, they’re fairly close, but once you reach that higher price point, things get trickier. High-end Intel chips can have anywhere from 4 to 18 cores, while AMD chips can have anywhere up to 16 cores.
Just remember, CPU prices are constantly fluctuating. If you hold off on buying it upon release, you'll see that that new Ryzen CPU or Intel i9 CPU has dropped in price a pretty good amount. That being said, it’s understandable if you wanted to purchase it the very day it came out.
If you want the best possible performance with little regard for price, then you should definitely be looking into grabbing an Intel processor. Not only does Intel consistently rank better in CPU benchmarks, but their processors draw less heat. This gives them better thermal design point ratings, as well as power consumption.
A large part of this is due to Intel's implementation of hyper-threading, which they’ve used to build their CPUs since 2002. Hyper-threading keeps existing cores remaining active rather than allowing any of them to sit and remain idle.
Even though AMD’s simultaneous multithreading (SMT) included in Ryzen is actually quite similar to hyper-threading, Intel is still the big dog when it comes to clock speeds. On the other hand, AMD seems to be more interested in adding more cores to their chips, rather than boosting frequencies.
Despite AMD’s sometimes nasty reputation for their processors overheating, their newest Ryzen chips have lower overall TDP (thermal design point) ratings than their previous chips. If you have a decent cooler in your computer, then you really shouldn’t have to worry at all about your Ryzen processor ever overheating or catching fire.
Support and Compatibility
A major problem with AMD's processors is that the compatibility with other components is lacking. The biggest issue is with motherboards and limited amount of cooling options for your computer. These options are limited because of the different sockets AMD and Intel chips provide.
Most CPU coolers always recommend that an AM4 bracket should be used, but the major problem is that very few of motherboards sold have compatibility with AM4 chipset. Intel chips have a larger variety kit to choose from and often have lower costs.
AMD is very compatible from a hardware design perspective especially with an AMD motherboard holds the metal connector pins on underside of the CPU. This allows for less malfunctions due to the pins that other motherboards. Due to the shortage in graphics cards from cryptocurrency, most CPUs on the market can be found below sticker prices.
When you buy a new PC or just a processor by itself, it will typically be locked at a specific clock speed. This speed should be indicated in the name or somewhere on the box. Some processors are manufactured and left unlocked, allowing you to manually set it to higher clock speeds than recommended by the manufacturer. This gives users a lot more control and customization over how they use their components, but you should know how to overclock properly before dabbling with this. Helpful tips and guides on that subject can be found here.
This is one category that AMD takes the lead in. With an AMD system, you’ll be able to expect overclocking capabilities from even the low-priced Ryzen 3 1300X. Vice versa, you’ll only be able to overclock an Intel processor if it is a part of the “K” series. The lowest priced of these is the Intel Core i3-7350K.
Regardless of your choice, your warranty will become void if you brick your processor while trying to overclock, so it’s important to know what you’re doing. Again, you can refer to our article here for help on how to do this. If you don’t careful overclock, it will generate large amounts of heat, and can completely overheat and melt your CPU if you’re not careful.
Intel’s higher end K-stamped chips are extremely powerful as well. For example, the i7-8700K is able to maintain a 4.7GHz boosted frequency, as opposed to the 4.2GHz boosted frequency of the Ryzen 7 1800X. If you have a liquid cooled CPU, or a liquid cooling system in your computer, (you can see good systems for this here), it’s quite possible that you’ll be able to reach up to 6GHz using Intel’s top of the line 18-core i9-7980XE.
While building a gaming computer, it’s much more important to focus on a graphics card, rather than a CPU to make a large impact on graphics. Despite this, it’s possible to run less demanding games on an integrated graphics card if your processor already has one. In this category AMD wins by a long shot, largely in part due to the release of the Ryzen 5 2400G. This CPU has powerful Vega graphics that can perform better than Intel’s onboard graphics by a landslide.
Regardless, if you’re only playing games such as Dota 2 or League of Legends at mid-range settings, the latest Intel Coffee Lake or AMD A-Series APU processors will be more than enough for your situation. If you’re looking to play games on the higher end, you'll most likely be pairing your CPU with a high end Nvidia or AMD GPU. Intel’s processors are the preferred choice for gaming because of their higher base clock speed and boost clock speed. On the other hand, AMD provides the preferred choice for CPUs that are more capable of multi-tasking due to their higher core and thread counts.
Although there may not be an obvious better choice in the graphics category, it’s commonly stated that AMD is the better option for integrated graphics. Gamers with the extra money for a top of the line GPU believe that Intel is better solely for gaming. Others believe that AMD is superior for carrying out numerous tasks at once.