AMD vs Intel CPUs
Performance, security, and everything else you need to know about which CPU is right for you.
AMD vs Intel CPUs, which is the best CPU for you? Technology buffs have been debating this for years. Intel, has by tradition, had the advantage, but AMD's Ryzen processors are shaking up the market. We’ve put together a quick snippet to help you decide which is right for you. Mainly focused on the pros and cons of each, and everything related to performance and security. Because let’s be real, that’s really what matters here.
AMD vs Intel: The battle over performance
For a majority users, the difference between any of the current generation AMD and Intel CPUs is minor, if at all noticeable. They’re all perfectly capable of surfing the web, streaming your favorite shows, running office applications, multitasking between all of those, and more. The only true way to reveal their differences is to run demanding workloads.
For multithreaded application workloads, the AMD Ryzen 7 compares nicely with the Intel Core i7. This AMD Ryzen is actually a bit slower in some cases, but faster in others. Most users would likely never notice the difference between the two. Now if we step up a level and compare the Intel i9 and AMD Ryzen 9. The AMD Ryzen 9 appears to be roughly 25 percent faster in multithreaded workloads, thanks to having 50 percent more cores. For this, AMD is looking extremely attractive in the realm of content creation.
When moving over to the gaming world, the differences between Intel and AMD are more noticeable. The fastest Intel CPUs usually lead AMD's best Ryzen parts by 5-10%, and in some games the gap can be as large as 15%. Some of this gap is due AMD's earlier Ryzen CPUs being a bit slower in games because games don't usually make use of more than four to six CPU cores, resulting the extra cores remaining inactive. However, that's starting to change. The other part of the comparison is latency. Latency refers to the time to access and process data. AMD's Ryzen parts have higher cache and memory latency than Intel's, causing a slightly worse overall performance in sensitive workloads like games.
AMD vs Intel: Who has top notch security?
Security is an ambiguous term that can be difficult to explain in the CPU world, as most problems track back to software, not hardware. Intel processors and platforms used to be thought of as more secure than AMD processors. Then Meltdown and Spectre transpired.
Technology security researchers discovered side-channel attacks that compromised the security of data. Meltdown affected AMD and Intel platforms in different ways, where variations in firmware and operating systems were needed to address the problem. Spectre was a bit more abstract and mostly targeted Intel CPUs. Since the earlier security holes were made known, several new holes have come about.
The latest set security holes includes RIDL, ZombieLoad, and Fallout. These were classified as Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) attacks, that target Intel CPUs, but don’t affect AMD processors. Solutions are in the works, with some improvements already in place via OS and firmware updates. Intel's 9th Gen CPUs also include some hardware changes to help address some of these exploits.
Intel's processors have been compromised by side-channel attacks far more often than AMD CPUs, but it’s still unsure what the future holds. Because Intel CPUs hold a larger market share, and each set of fixes slightly reducing performance, some are beginning to speculate whether Intel CPUs will fall behind AMD CPUs.
Looking to sell your old CPUs and upgrade?AMD vs Intel: Who should you chose?
When dealing with an everyday workload, the highest end AMD CPU and the highest end Intel CPU won’t deliver totally different outcomes. There are clear differences in certain scenarios, but the CPU isn’t the foundation of PC performance that it once was.
That being said, AMD CPUs, offer remarkable value and performance throughout the whole range of chips produces. From the low 3600 models right up to the high end 3950X model, the ROI is fantastic with AMD CPUs, even for gamers. Not to downplay the quality of Intel CPUs, but if they want to stay competitive with AMD innovations, they need to lower prices. Although, there are those users who will hold out because they’re brand loyal and only interested in buying Intel products.
When choosing your next CPU upgrade, it is best to look at the individual performance of the CPU you want to buy. AMD Ryzen processors offer the best bang for buck throughout almost the entire value range. Intel does hold a slight edge in gaming at the very top end, but AMD promises existing motherboards will continue to work with new AMD chips in 2020, guaranteeing an upgrade path. In the end, it's really up to what you prefer.