AMD vs Intel: Which CPUs Are Better? – The Ultimate Guide

CPUs have been a major part of PC gaming in recent years. With the release of the 9th generation Intel Core CPUs, we’re going to be taking a look at just how well they perform in comparison to the latest AMD Ryzen CPUs, including the new 3rd gen Ryzen CPUs released earlier this year.

One thing that makes comparing CPUs complicated is the sheer amount of options available. With everything from clock speed to cores and threads, there are lots of variables that can make one CPU perform vastly different than another. The goal of this article is to explain all those variables as well as provide an appropriate level comparison between the two CPU brands, helping you decide which might be best for your system.

Threads and Cores – What’s The Difference?
Clock Speed – Fast is Better, Right?
What About Hyper-Threading?
What about Turbo?
What About Cache Memory?
How Many Cores Do I Need?
What About Simultaneous Multithreading?
How Fast Does The CPU Clock?
Price And Budget
Which CPU Brand To Pick For Gaming?
What Is The Difference Between AMD Ryzen CPUs And Intel CPUs?
What To Do Next?

Threads and Cores – What’s The Difference?

Both AMD Ryzen CPUs and Intel Core CPUs can come in either one or two core variations, each with its own advantages. A single core is great for people who want fast speeds but don’t use their computer for more than surfing the web, watching videos, or playing casual games. A single-core CPU doesn’t have any extra cores to handle other tasks, which means it can access your RAM at nearly full speed without having to wait for information from other cores. This makes single-core CPUs ideal for people who want a ton of power for their money but don’t play many games or use their computers heavily.

Multi-core CPUs, on the other hand, are designed to handle more complicated processes that require calculations carried out simultaneously. A game or video editor that uses multiple cores can benefit greatly from a multi-core CPU since they can use each of those cores at once instead of waiting for information to travel between cores. Having more cores also means that you can do multiple things at once, like watching videos while surfing the web.

Cores and threads are not to be confused with one another. While they’re similar in function, each is different in how they perform their task. A thread is like a specific command given to your CPU, which tells it to complete a certain task (like rendering a color or carrying out specific commands). Cores, on the other hand, are like virtual threads that can process multiple tasks at once. Both cores and threads work together to help your CPU do more things at once, which is why it’s important to have both when you desire higher performance.

Clock Speed – Fast is Better, Right?

Clock speed is probably the most well-known CPU spec. It’s what everyone thinks of when they think about how fast a CPU will perform, and for good reason. Clock speed refers to the rate at which your CPU calculates instructions. This is essentially how many commands it can carry out per second and in turn helps determine the speed at which tasks are completed. That’s why faster clock speeds mean faster overall performance and could be what you should base your CPU buying decision on if all other specs seem relatively equal.

However, not everyone should choose clock speed as their first concern when finding a CPU that meets their needs. This is because CPUs are not all made equal. While you likely wouldn’t know the difference between a 2.3 GHz CPU and a 3.6 GHz one when surfing the web or playing casual games, something like rendering video will see drastically different performance based on clock speed. Rendering is just one of many tasks that can utilize hyperthreading to take advantage of the extra cores and threads on a multi-core CPU.

With all this said, clock speed is still very important and can significantly affect how well tasks like rendering, encoding, and gaming perform. Luckily, there are many CPUs to choose from at many different price points of varying speeds, making it easy for every type of PC user to find a CPU that best fits their needs.

What About Hyper-Threading?

Hyper-threading is a technology in Intel CPUs that lets each core handle two different threads at one time, effectively doubling performance for tasks that can benefit from it. While hyper-threading itself does not necessarily increase the number of cores in the CPU, it helps deliver an overall performance boost by taking better advantage of the cores that are there.

Hyper-threading is very common in Intel’s CPUs, but it isn’t used in any AMD products. Hyper-threading can be beneficial for gamers who do more than just games, like video editing or encoding. However, since the technology is not available in AMD products, if all you do is play games you likely don’t need it.

What about Turbo?

Turbo is a clock speed setting that can be activated when the CPU senses that the power being used at a certain time is low enough to allow for higher performance without exceeding temperature restrictions. While this can be helpful for certain situations, on average it shouldn’t be a very big factor in your decision.

Turbo speeds are typically not consistent, so you shouldn’t rely on this feature to boost performance during normal usage or anything that doesn’t require intense processing power. The only time turbo should have an effect is when the CPU is being used to do something that requires a lot of processing power (like rendering video).

What About Cache Memory?

The cache is like having extra memory that the CPU uses to store frequently accessed info, which allows it to access certain sets of data without taking more time to look for them on the RAM. This speeds up processes and can even help with tasks that are typically slow. For example, if you were to play a game with low FPS despite having enough RAM for it, consider checking to see how much cache your CPU has.

However, don’t just go by this spec alone either since cache levels can be very different based on what the individual cores are being used for. Some games, for example, are poorly optimized and don’t need as much cache compared to other tasks that are processor intensive. Ultimately, this spec should only be one piece of your decision-making process since it isn’t very important on its own.

How Many Cores Do I Need?

For the average PC user, even gamers, the number of cores is typically not that important. Most CPUs (even some with only four cores) can handle modern games just fine. The most significant difference in speed will be felt when using resource-intensive tasks like rendering video or encoding them for streaming.

However, if you are looking to upgrade your CPU and plan on doing more than just gaming, or if you’re looking to do intensive tasks like video editing and rendering, then the number of cores becomes much more important.

If you fall into this category, it’s best to look for a CPU that has at least four cores. Even if you don’t need that many cores right now, you might in the future, so it’s better to go with something that will provide you with room to grow later on.

What About Simultaneous Multithreading?

Simultaneous multithreading is a technology used by Intel CPUs that allows them to handle certain processes at once instead of consecutively so it appears like there are more cores than there actually are. This can provide an increase in performance, but it isn’t very useful for things like gaming since they don’t usually require intense processing power to run smoothly.

Another result of this technology is that it increases performance when the CPU goes into idle mode by making sure processes are paused so they don’t use resources when they are not needed. This is perfect for laptops, but it isn’t something that should have much impact on your decision since most people won’t be moving their desktops around too often.

How Fast Does The CPU Clock?

Clock speed has little to no effect on performance in video games because games are not processor-intensive enough to require a faster clock speed for them to run smoothly.

If you are doing intensive tasks like video editing or rendering, however, then this is where the importance of clock speed can come into play. This spec will essentially determine how fast your CPU can process information while using the same amount of power (which allows for lower temperatures).

CPU clock speed is typically measured in GHz (gigahertz) and the higher it goes, the more expensive the CPU becomes. If this spec is important to you, consider getting something with a high base frequency so there’s no lag when it comes time to crunch some numbers.

Price And Budget

Typically speaking, the more cores, cache memory, and clock speed your CPU has the more expensive it will be. It’s also worth considering that certain brands are typically pricier than others (Intel vs AMD).

If you already have a high-end or mid-range GPU, there isn’t much of a need to upgrade your CPU since they both use the same type of technology and your GPU is what will provide you with the biggest boost in performance.

Do note that modern CPUs typically come as overclockable, meaning you can increase the clock speeds if needed so it doesn’t become a limiting factor later on down the road. If this sounds like something you might want in your CPU, be sure to look for an LGA 1151 socket that supports this feature.

As you can see, there are plenty of specs that go into helping determine which CPU is best suited for you. Keep these in mind when making your decision and don’t just follow the buzzwords since they typically won’t mean much when it comes to gaming.

Which CPU Brand To Pick For Gaming?

If you’re looking for the best overall deal in terms of specs and performance right now, then AMD has something special in store for you in their latest Ryzen CPUs. Not only are they cheaper than Intel CPUs, but also outperform them in many tests.

Intel is still good, but they seem to be stagnating a bit with their 9th generation Core CPUs. They’re nothing more than just higher clocked versions of the 8th generation CPUs. If you have no experience with either brand and are looking for something that will give you value for money, then go with the latest 3rd generation Ryzen CPUs.

What Is The Difference Between AMD Ryzen CPUs And Intel CPUs?

There is a big difference between using mundane tasks, but are just as good in multi-threaded performance too. the two regarding how they work and what they are capable of. While both have been more or less neck-and-neck in recent years with their respective releases, it’s still good to know the difference if you want to make the most informed decision.

Here’s a brief breakdown of what each brand offers so you can decide which one might be best suited for your needs:

AMD Ryzen CPUs have a major emphasis on processing power and multi-threading performance. This means that you will get the most out of them when running intensive tasks like video editing or rendering.

Intel CPUs are more about power efficiency and resource management. They are better at raw clock speed when it comes to price/performance are better suited for those who need to conserve as much as possible.

What To Do Next?

In this blog, we’ve discussed the benefits of Intel processors for high-end gaming and workstation PCs. For mainstream gamers looking to purchase a CPU, AMD is also an option that has some advantages over Intel. If you want to know more about how CPUs impact your PC and what factors to consider when purchasing one, read our next article where we discuss What To Look For In A CPU: 9 Factors to Consider!