The central processing unit (CPU) is the heart of any device, be it your phone, tablet, router, laptop, smart TV, and desktop PC. It’s what handles all the tasks put forward by the operating system (OS) to function properly and allow you to do incredible things. It is in charge of how quickly your whole computer operates from the system memory to the SSDs holding your games, which is why it is all so important to pick the best gaming CPU for your rig.
Are you also looking at a new CPU brand, should you choose Intel or AMD?
Much like the discussion surrounding the OS, AMD vs. Intel has been a heated debate for decades.
Buying a processor for a gaming rig is not as hard as it used to be. When it comes to desktop CPUs, there are two names in town: Intel and AMD. These are the desktop processor behemoths that dominate the market. When you want to build or buy a new gaming PC, it will have an Intel or AMD CPU powering your games.
So, is AMD or Intel better for gaming? What CPU should you choose for your new gaming rig?
Let’s look at the comparison of AMD vs. Intel gaming processors.
AMD Ryzen VS Intel – Introduction:
- AMD Ryzen Introduction:
AMD officially announced a new series of processors, named “Ryzen“, during its New Horizon summit on December 13, 2016 and introduced Ryzen 1000 series processors in February 2017, featuring up to 8 cores and 16 threads, which launched on March 2, 2017.
Ryzen is a brand of x86 – 64 microprocessors designed and marketed by Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) for desktop, mobile, server, and embedded platforms based on the Zen microarchitecture. It consists of central processing units (CPUs) marketed for mainstream, enthusiast, server, and workstation segments
- Intel Introduction:
Intel Core are streamlined midrange consumer, workstation, and enthusiast computers central processing units (CPU) marketed by Intel Corporation. These processors displaced the existing mid – to high-end Pentium processors at the time of their introduction, moving the Pentium to the entry-level, and bumping the Celeron series of processors to the low end.
Intel Corporation is an American multinational corporation and technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, in Silicon Valley. As of June 2017, the lineup of Core processors includes the Intel Core i3, Intel Core i5, Intel Core i7, and Intel Core i9, along with the X – series of Intel Core CPUs.
AMD Ryzen VS Intel – Specifications:
AMD Ryzen Specification:
- Launched at: February 2017 (Released March 2, 2017)
- Marketed by: Advanced Micro Devices.
- Manufacturer: TSMC GlobalFoundries.
- Micro architecture: Zen, Zen+, Zen 2, Zen 3.
- Cores: Mainstream: Up to 16 cores HEDT: Up to 64 cores.
- Predecessor: FX.
- Launched at: January 2006.
- Marketed by: Intel.
- Manufacturer: Intel Cooperation.
- Brand: Core, Core 2, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, Core19
- Microarchitecture: Nehalem, Sandy bridge, Ivy bridge, Haswell, Broadwell etc
- Cores: Mainstream: 2 – 10 HEDT: Up to 18
- Predecessor: Pentium.
AMD Ryzen VS Intel – Features:
- AMD Ryzen Features:
- Performance: AMD Ryzen Series processors power the next generation of demanding games, providing one-of-a-kind immersive experiences and dominate any multithreaded task like 3D and video rendering3, and software compiling.
- Brilliant Technology: With great processing power comes the bleeding-edge technology to support. All AMD Ryzen Series processors come with a full suite of technologies designed to elevate your PC’s processing power including Precision Boost 2, Precision Boost Overdrive X4, and PCIe® 4.0.
- Build with Confidence: AMD Ryzen™ processors are easy to configure and easy to customize.
- Graphics: AMD Ryzen™ processors and Radeon™ graphics enable the ultimate gaming platform for any gamer, across any setting and any resolution.
- Instruction per cycle: The Zen architecture delivers more than 52% improvement in instructions per cycle (clock) over the prior-generation Bulldozer AMD core, without raising power use.
- Intel Features:
- C – States and P – States: Intel includes idle states (C-states) and performance states (P-states). C-states are used to minimize consumption when a processor can be idle; P-states prevent the processor from consuming too much when work is being done.
- Hyperthreading: Intel processors support hyperthreading, which makes them faster and more powerful even with a smaller number of cores.
- Integrated Graphics: You can achieve better performance by using Intel processor and discrete graphics if money is not a problem.
- Power Consumption: The Intel’s processors consume less power as compared to ADM’s processors due to which it potentially spends less on power bills
- Turbo Boost Technology: Turbo Boost is Intel’s terminology for overclocking CPUs allowing them to run faster than their base clock speed. Both Core i7 and i5 processors support Turbo Boost.
AMD Ryzen VS Intel – Performance:
No doubt, Ryzen is the leader in terms of multitasking, while Intel Core CPUs can still offer slightly better single – core performance.
So, which one is more important for gaming?
Well, there is not really a straightforward answer to that.
AMD Ryzen Performance:
AMD Ryzen Master Advanced View provides for up to four profiles to store custom user-defined configurations for both the Ryzen™ CPU, integrated Radeon™ graphics, and DDR4 memory. You can adjust performance parameters for the active cores, integrated graphics frequency and adjust memory timings.
You can optimize for general performance or fine tune the settings for your favorite applications.
AMD Ryzen takes that budget – minded stage of performance to a new level, with increased IPC (instructions per clock) performance, along with a higher clock speed – while staying at the same price point.
Intel used to hold the ultimate in gaming performance with its most expensive desktop processor, the Core i9-10900K, and the Core i5-10600K was not far behind. Naturally, the Core i7-10700K slots in right between the two, and offers the lion’s share of the 10900K’s performance, but at a much lower price point and power consumption.
You can see how these chips stack up in our CPU Benchmark Hierarchy, but be aware that these chips still fall behind AMD’s potent Ryzen 5000 chips.
However, the exact performance benefits will inevitably vary from model to model and from game to game, so it’s impossible to make generalizations in this respect.
AMD Ryzen VS Intel – Overclocking Capabilities:
There’s no debate when you compare AMD vs Intel CPU overclocking. AMD offers the most overclocking headroom, meaning you can gain more performance over the baseline speed with AMD’s Ryzen processor than you can with Intel chips.
- AMD Overclocking:
Back then, AMD wasn’t even in the running. Today, AMD tends to offer better value to overclockers. AMD processors used to be known for their overclocking capabilities.
Sure enough, all Ryzen CPUs are unlocked and can be overclocked, provided that the motherboard chipset actually supports overclocking.
You can overclock a whole host of AMD CPUs.
- Intel Overclocking:
In contrast, not all Intel CPUs are unlocked. Only the models marked with a “K” at the end of the model number can be overclocked safely.
It is true that Intel CPUs can usually run faster with their Turbo Boost technology, however. The i9-9900K can go up to 5 GHz from a base speed of 3.6, compared to the Ryzen 7 3800’s max speed of 4.5 GHz from a base of 3.9.
If you are looking for a great budget gaming solution, which you can overclock to your heart’s content, AMD is the company for you. They are dominating the overclocking market and crushing Intel’s value.
AMD Ryzen vs Intel – Power Consumption and Heat:
When comparing AMD vs Intel CPU power and heat, the former’s 7nm process node makes a huge difference. Power consumption comes as a byproduct of design choices, like lithography and architecture.
However, higher power consumption often correlates to more heat generation, so you will need beefier coolers to offset the heat output of greedier chips.
- AMD Ryzen Power Consumption and Heat:
AMD has the benefit of TSMC’s 7nm node, which is more efficient than Intel’s 14nm. AMD does lose some of that advantage in its Ryzen 3000 and 5000 series processors due to a large central 14nm I/O die that comes as part of the package.
Still, in aggregate, AMD’s 7nm chips either consume less power or provide much better power – to – performance efficiency.
As a result, you will get more work done per watt of energy consumed, which is a win – win, and AMD’s cooling requirements aren’t nearly as overbearing.
- Intel Power Consumption and Heat:
In contrast, Intel has improved its 14nm processes to strengthen its power – to – performance ratio by more than 70% in the five long years it’s been on the market, but it’s no coincidence that Intel’s latest chips are known for high power consumption and heat.
That’s because Intel has had to turn the power dial up further with each generation of chips to provide more performance as it fends off the resurgent AMD. That leads to problems with some stock coolers and also requires robust power delivery on your motherboard.
No doubt, on the basis of power consumption and heat AMD is the winner. The latest Ryzen processors consume less power on a performance – vs – power basis, which in turn equates to less heat generation. That eases cooling requirements.
Which One is the Best?
As far as gaming is concerned, AMD Ryzen is the better option for gaming at the moment, but it remains to be seen whether the situation will change anytime soon.
So, why Ryzen?
Sure, they aren’t better at everything; but, while high – end Intel CPUs are mostly a better choice for enthusiasts and some professionals due to their overclocking abilities and superb single – core performance, Ryzen offers so much more for less money when it comes to gaming.
AMD’s collection of processors, especially the Ryzen 3000, offers far more value with more for your money. Whether you are installing a Ryzen 3 3100 or Ryzen 9 3950X, you will likely be scoring more cores and threads than the competing Intel CPU, without sacrificing too much on per – core performance.
AMD has far better support on older motherboards for newer processors. AMD’s development surge over the past years has closed the gap significantly. In many ways, AMD processors are better investments for the future, consistently delivering better multi – core performance scores.
AMD wins the CPU war overall right now, but an Intel processor could still be the better choice depending on your needs. If you want the best in overclocking or software support, or if you want productivity performance without buying a discrete GPU, then AMD is the better option.
But if you want the best balance of price and performance in the Intel vs AMD lineup, or just the plain old fastest performance possible, but in a power – efficient package, Intel is good for you.
The future is bright for the CPU market, and that’s better for all of us.
Intel’s value is under severe attack by AMD, and that’s a fantastic thing. Competition is good for business, and we, as consumers, can get a far better deal.
Intel has fought back by slowly adding features and cores across its product stack, but that has also resulted in negative side effects, like more power consumption and heat generation. These only serve to highlight the company’s struggles on the design and fabrication side of its operation.
For those looking to build a future proofed computer, AMD is the answer. It may run slightly slower in terms of single – core performance, but that’s not going to trouble many.
I wholeheartedly recommend grabbing an AMD chip for your new build.
AMD used to be something of a laughing stock. Not anymore. Today, their combination of sheer value has smashed Intel’s value as a gaming CPU into the dust.
They are powerful, cheap, and feature enough cores for anything you could care to do. If you’re building a new gaming PC, there is no alternative: the Ryzen is where it’s at.
Frequently Asked Questions:
) AMD takes the lead on the mid – range CPU bracket too, with the Ryzen 7 3700X smashing the Core i7 – 9700K in general. The Intel Core i7 – 9700K is by no means a slouch, and it is regarded as one of the best for gaming.
Despite this, the 3700X has twice as many threads and still comes out cheaper than its Intel counterpart.
Yes, the best gaming CPU is the AMD Ryzen 5 3600. The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 isn’t just a great gaming CPU with serious multithreading chops, it’s also incredibly good value.
It depends on what you are doing with your system, if you are gaming then technically an Intel processor could get you a couple of extra frames. However, if you are doing something like video encoding or rendering, those are multi – core intensive tasks and will benefit from Ryzen.
If you are after the absolute highest frame rates in your games, then the choice is clear: The i7-9700K is stronger in most games than a Ryzen 7 2700X.
AMD’s quad-core Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 processors are designed to beat Intel’s 8th Gen Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs while coming in at around the same price or possibly less.
Overall, the Ryzen Mobile – powered laptop impressed us by getting much – higher graphics scores than its competitor.
At least 16GB of RAM is needed to play modern games, and more if you are doing multitask.
AMD is cheaper because of brand name (recognition) in the CPU department, and cheaper in the GPU department because of a worse product.
If you are primarily interested in high – end gaming performance, you should opt for a mid – range Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 CPU with high clock speeds.