2020's AMD vs. INTEL processors - Which is better?
In recent years, AMD has been on the rise when it comes to desktop processors, as well as graphics cards. It stepped up on the ladder and turned from a company that sold affordable processors that were known to be hot and weaker than Intel's, into a company that gave us a lineup of seriously impressive CPUs. They're just as fast in single-core performance and even faster than Intel's in multi-threading, while also staying cool and consuming less energy. On the other hand, although Intel seems to struggle to keep up with AMD, their latest 10th generation Intel Core processors look like strong competitors for AMD's Zen 2 Ryzen line-up. The question is: which one is better? Should you buy a Zen 2 AMD Ryzen processor or a 10 Gen Intel Core one? Read on and find out:
AMD vs. Intel processors: Manufacturing process, heat, and power consumption
Both AMD and Intel have capable processors, there's no question about it. However, when it comes to specs, there are plenty of differences between them. While in the past, Intel was almost always first in technological advances, nowadays, the tides have shifted, with AMD taking the lead.
First of all, AMD has switched to the 7-nanometer manufacturing process for its Zen 2 processors, while Intel is still using the 14-nanometer lithography even for the 10th Generation of its Core processors. That leads to a series of benefits for AMD's Ryzen processors compared to their Intel counterparts.
Because of the smaller manufacturing process, Ryzen CPUs have an increased density of transistors per mm² (a bit more than twice), generate less heat (lower TDP), and require less electricity than comparable Intel CPUs.
AMD vs. Intel processors: Performance
Intel has a tradition in managing to deliver desktop processors with great single-core speeds, and that's true for the 10th Gen Core lineup too. Still, because of the smaller manufacturing process, AMD processors reached the same speeds and performance on single-core, while also offering more cores and threads than corresponding Intel CPUs.
On the same page, the 7-nm lithography allows AMD to bundle much more cache memory on the Ryzen processors than Intel can. For the most part of the AMD Ryzen lineup, we get 32 and 64 MB of Level 3 cache memory, and only the Ryzen 5 3500 and entry-level Ryzen 3 3100 and 3300X stop at 16 MB. On the other team, Intel's 10th Gen Core processors come with 20 MB of Smart cache memory on the high-end Core i9s. Core i7 CPUs get 16 MB (half of Ryzen 7 CPUs), Core i5 processors come with 12 MB, and on Core i3 you get 8 MB or even as less as 6 MB of cache memory.
In a similar fashion, another thing that makes the Zen 2 AMD Ryzen processors stand up from Intel's Core 10th Gen equivalents: the PCI Express version supported. All these AMD Ryzen processors come with PCI Express 4.0, while Intel only goes with PCI Express 3.0. That means a whole lot more bandwidth available on AMD CPUs. You can get the highest speed from PCIe 4.0 solid-state drives if your computer has an AMD Ryzen processor. You can't have that with an Intel. Soon, next-gen graphics cards will also launch with support for PCIe 4.0. So, if you want to futureproof your computer, you'd be better prepared with a Zen 2 AMD Ryzen processor than with a 10th Gen Intel Core.
AMD is also in a better spot when it comes to the type of supported RAM. Zen 2 Ryzens natively support DDR4 RAM running at 3200 MHz in dual-channel. Intel's 10th Gen Core CPUs only go as far as DDR4 at 2933 MHz in dual-channel. That's another win for AMD.
On the other hand, many Intel Core processors also have integrated graphics chips, while AMD Ryzens don't. That can be handy in some computer configurations built for office work, for example.
AMD vs. Intel processors: Price and value
Finally, one of the most important questions on anyone's lips is probably which processors offer a better price per value? The thing is, although, for regular daily work, both AMD and Intel processors are excellent choices, entry-level and mainstream AMD Zen 2 processors usually have lower prices than Intel's.
However, if you plan on building an office computer, many Intel processors also come with built-in graphics, so, in the end, they may be a cheaper alternative. On the other hand, AMD's processors come with bundled stock coolers, so that may make them attractive too, although they don't have integrated graphics chips. So, if you want to build a computer for office work, neither AMD nor Intel is better.
When it comes to productivity, AMD's Zen 2 CPUs are definitely a better choice in terms of price per value. The mainstream Ryzen 7 and the high-end Ryzen 9 processors offer more cores and threads than similarly priced Intel CPUs, lower TDPs, and all the other goodies such as PCIe 4.0 support, faster RAM support, and more cache memory. The conclusion: for productivity and multithreaded applications, we'd say go with an AMD Ryzen 7 or Ryzen 9. They offer better value for money than Intel's options.
If you'd like to compare the lineups of new processors from AMD versus Intel's, check the following table. We tried to cover all the essential details of both companies' current processors, including prices, so we hope it can help you make an informed decision.
Finally, for gaming, things are mixed again: Intel's single-core performance is great and sometimes a bit higher than what you get from AMD. However, that usually means just a few frames more, in only some games. Considering that, for the same prices, you can get AMD processors that are very close in terms of single-core performance, but also have more and up to double the number of cores, so we'd say go with AMD. More and more games can benefit from multi-threading, so more cores is surely a good choice for the future.
What desktop processor will you choose for your next computer? AMD or Intel?
In our opinion, these are the essential things that differentiate AMD's Zen 2 Ryzen processors from Intel's 10th Gen Core processors. Which one do you like more, and why? Also, regardless of where your brand loyalty sits, which company do you think makes the best desktop processors these days? AMD or Intel? That is the question. :) Use the comments section below to get in touch with us and let us know what you think.