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As a gaming enthusiast, the most important decision you have to make is choosing the ideal central processing unit. The difference between enjoying your gaming performance and having a terrible experience may be made by the type of CPU that you settle for. Choosing hardware components for your pc determines the type of motherboard that you will need.
Consequently, your choice has an impact on the compatibility of all the other components. If you are looking to enhance your gaming performance, then choosing the best brand comes first before settling on any CPU model.
Currently, the two companies or rivals for gamers are AMD and Intel. Over the past few years, AMD seems to have been pushing back and giving serious competition to a seemingly dominant Intel. AMD developers have ensured that the brand takes up high-end performance as well as the value per dollar that users can enjoy.
Before the first Ryzen product was released, Intel had enjoyed a continuously growing market share as a result of its Tick-tock enhancement cycle of their core series of microprocessors. In 2011, AMD released its Bulldozer microarchitecture which saw the brand significantly fall behind their competitor Intel.
This continued until when AMD redesigned their products to see a superior Zen+ microarchitecture that was able to compete with Intel products. Since then the market share for AMD CPUs has significantly increased while Intel seems to have remained stagnant.
The first major improvement was the AMD Ryzen CPUs that came with 8 core and 16 threads alongside price superiority. The second wave of advanced Ryzen CPUs was the Ryzen powered current-gen Threadripper 2 that came with an impressive 32 core and 64 threads.
The third generation of the Ryzen CPUs was recently launched and features more improved designs and a shrink to the 7nm process. This article is designed to help you learn a little more about both brands i.e. Intel and AMD Ryzen and hopefully help you choose the best brand for your gaming performance.
Factors to look out for when comparing AMD and Intel
- Overclocking: Check out which processor is unlocked or locked for overclocking and what action you need to take whether for AMD or intel
- Value: Which brand offers the best terms in terms of value for your money whether AMD or intel
- Specs: The specifications of each processor.
- Upgradability: There motherboards and Ryzen processors that can be used by single generations while others can accommodate multiple generations if upgraded.
- Gaming: This is the main aspect. Be on the lookout for which processor is likely to give you the best gaming performance and experience across a wide variety of games.
Acronyms that you will come across in this article include:
- Clock speed. Clock speeds refer to the number of cycles that your preferred processor runs and is measured in Gigahertz (GHz). Higher clock speeds of these AMD chips automatically translate to better performance. It is important to choose a processor with a higher clock speed.
- Cores and threads. These are the components of a processor. The core handles tasks and the higher the cores, the more commands that can be simultaneously handled. Threads basically help in handling more data.
- Socket. This is the simplest aspect of a processor. It works like regular sockets. CPUs fit into motherboards supporting their type of socket.
- Thermal Design Power. Measures the amount of heat that is expected from this component, it will help you in knowing the amount of cooling that is needed by your device.
What is AMD Ryzen?
Ryzen is a brand of CPUs developed by Advance Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) for embedded and mobile platforms as well as for desktops. The Ryzen is a class of x86-64 microprocessors that are targeted at enthusiast, mainstream, and workstation segments as well as Accelerated Processing Units (APU) that are meant for entry-level and mainstream segments as well as the embedded applications.
The first generation of the 14nm Ryzen products was announced in December 2016 during AMD’s Horizon Summit. They were then introduced to the market the following February. The next generation of this entry-level model was introduced in April 2018 and featured the Zen+ microarchitecture that was built on 12nm process technology. The most recent generation was introduced in July this year and is based on a reduced TSMCs 7nm process technology and has significantly more design enhancements.
AMD has added a range of high -end core performance Ryzen processors for a high-end desktop that is meant for the workstation market with their Ryzen Threadripper branding. While most of the Ryzen products operate with the Socket AM4 platform, these new high range desktop processors operate using the TR4 Socket platform which is larger than the previously mentioned platform. They do support more PCI Express lanes as well as extra memory channels.
The extra cores offered by the current Ryzen AMD CPU models facilitate the quick running of certain tasks. If you are interested in mostly 3D video games, then these models with multiple cores are worth investing in.
Things to look out for in AMD Ryzen for gaming.
AMD processor brackets
- AMD Ryzen 3- has quad-core desktop processors
- Ryzen 5- has a quad and hexacore processors
- Ryzen 7- hexacore desktop processors
- Ryzen 9 3900x or the AMD Ryzen 9 3959x-this one has 16 and 12 core performance processors
- Threadripper- this one may have either 8, 12, and or 16 core performance processors
In each of the above brackets, processors are named using the model number. That is to say that the higher the number of the model, the more powerful and faster your CPU is Putting it into context you can say that a Ryzen 3 12000 is weaker than the Ryzen 3 1300X. Suffix X indicates that the particular model is a little fast than the previous version of the model. It is therefore indicative of a small increase in the factory clocking speed.
How to select the best Ryzen model for your PC?
Depending on a few factors such as budget and your computer’s adaptability you can settle for either of the following Ryzen series.
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This particular model is ideal for low budget PCs and for a consumer who does not work with intensive applications. The AMD Ryzen 3 3000 series and Ryzen 3 3100 series has quad-core processors and sports four physical cores that do not slouch, therefore enabling you to build a gaming rig that is capable of handling bug games.
For example, the Ryzen 3 2200G can facilitate the processing of the integrated graphics card. For this series, you will require an external Integrated graphics card machine. The Ryzen 3 3100 series comes with 4 cores and 8 threads.
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This particular CPU model is aggressively priced in order to effectively compete with the Intel Core 5 series. The Ryzen 5 series is incredibly good for gaming. They are a combination of hexacore and quad-core processors that have more power-packed for intense workloads as well as video editing.
The best series for you as a gamer, in this series, is the Ryzen 53600. It is a mid-range processor. The 3600X series, however, has a higher TDP and better factory clocking speeds.
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This model maybe a little bit of an overkill for you, it does however provide advanced computing at a reasonable price. For a gamer with a capable GPU, the Ryzen 7 series will be the best selection for you. The AMD Ryzen 7 3700X is an impressive combination of 8 cores and 16 threads and eases work seeing that majority of the tasks are performed by the CPU. This current-gen processors is great for content creation and productivity. This series is unlocked for overclocking thus providing extra headroom for adequate cooling.
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This is the latest Ryzen series and This Ryzen 9 3900x holds up to 12 cores and 24 threads. This AMD’s Ryzen 9 3900x and the Ryzen 9 3959x are very much ideal for handling intense workloads and retails at a premium price.
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While this AMD’s Ryzen 9 3900x or the Ryzen 9 3959x series may not be as necessary to you, having one can be quite convenient. If you want to push your system beyond limits then the thread-ripper with its 32 cores and threads of 64 will definitely do that for you. A good example is the high-end AMD Threadripper 2920X which is the high-end amongst are AMD CPUs series. It is an entry process and is conveniently priced.
Your choice of the particular series relies on the kind of activities you need to perform, games as well as your budget. While the more expensive a component is, the better the performance, it is not necessarily mandatory. This current-gen Ryzen processors are great for content creation and productivity. You need to put into consideration some aspects such as the price and the ability of your computer to accommodate these components.
The Zen+ processors have speeds of 4.0 GHz and above hence making the ideal choice for you as a gamer. Another positive aspect of the AMD’s Ryzen 9 3900x series is that they still use am4 Sockets that are more adaptable as they allow backward and forwards compatibility. This particular aspect of the AMD’s Ryzen 9 3900x model, allows you to upgrade your motherboard and or your processor independently rather than having to upgrade them at the same time in order to match the sockets.
What is Intel core?
The Intel core is a brand of mid-range to high-end workstation, enthusiast, and consumer Central Processing Units developed by the Intel Corporation. This particular brand displaced the previously available mid to high-end Pentium Processors. By the year 2017, the series of Intel Core processors that were available included; Intel Core i9 10900k, Intel i7, Intel Core I5, and the Intel i3.
Reports indicate that some security flaws such as the meltdown and specter aspects were found in practically all Intel Core processors. These flaws meant that fixes within windows would be required as well as in other operating systems such as Linux and macOS. Similarly, still in 2018, another defect known as the Foreshadow was detected, this type of flaw undermines the Software Guard Extensions aspect of the processor.
The first Intel Core processor for desktops originated from the Conroe Iteration. This design was a 65nm dual-core that was launched in July 2006. It was based on a new Intel Core Microarchitecture that had significant enhancements in its micro-architectural performance and efficiency. It outdid the Pentium 4 in all aspects while utilizing very low clocking rates. The model maintained a high rate of instructions per cycle on a highly resourced and pipelined out of order execution.
Choosing the best Intel CPU
There are various series from the Intel Core family that you need to learn about for you to be able to make a better choice from amongst them
Intel Core i3
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The Intel i3 is a dual-core processor that can be used both on a desktop and a laptop. It is available in multiple speeds ranging from 1.30GHz to 3.50GHz. The Intel Corei3 features a Cache capacity of 3-4 MB. While most are dual-core, there are a few i3 processors that are quad-core. The Intel i3 processor is commonly paired with a DDR3 1333 or DDR3 1600 RAM.
Intel i3 processors with slow speeds of between 1.30GHz and 1.80GHz can use either 11.5W, 15W, or 25W of power. The medium-paced Core i3s require between 28, 35, or 37W of power to efficiently run. On the other hand fast-paced i3 processors i.e. 2.90GHz-3.50GHz require a minimum of 35-54 W of power to run smoothly. This series of processors are mostly used for laptops since they generate moderately lower heat.
Intel Core i5
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When we compare Intel vs AMD, the Intel i5 is also quad-core and can be used on both a desktop and a laptop. Speeds of the i5 range from 1.90GHz to 3.80GHz. The Cache capacity ranges from 3 to 4 to 6MB. This Intel series utilizes the LGA 1155 or LGA 1150 socket on a motherboard.
They are mostly quad-core though there some high range i5 processors that have 6 cores. The component is commonly paired with the DDR3 1333 or DDR3 1600 RAM. You can upgrade the RAM if the device’s motherboard is capable of supporting a higher RAM.
Slow-paced i5 processors, 1.60GHz to 2.30GHz, require a minimum of 15W of power while the medium-paced, 2.60GHz to 3.10 GHz, require between 15w, 25w, 28W, and 37W of power. The fast speed i5 processors may require between 35W to 84 W of power for them to run smoothly.
This particular series is most suitable for desktops as they require high-performance processors. When at a lower speed, the battery can go for up to five hours. On the other hand, high speeds contribute to higher battery usage.
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When we compare Intel vs AMD, the i7 processor has both dual and quad-core features. Its Cache can support up to 4-8 MBs. It features a turbo boost of up to 4.30GHz frequency. This series allows you to multitask and therefore it is very convenient for gaming as it supports the processing of intensive data and or tasks. The Intel i7 is suitable mostly for your desktop and can easily run applications that need more horsepower.
Reading Intel’s model numbers
Most model numbers are usually followed by one or combination of the letters below
U; Ultra Low Power. The U is only meant for laptop processors. The processors tend to use less power compared to other series.
Y; Low Power. Mostly found in older laptops and mobile accessories
T; Power Optimized this is meant for desktop processors.
Q; Quad-core. The rating is only for Intel processors with 4 physical cores
H: High-Performance Integrated Graphics. The chipset has one of Intel’s better Integrated graphics units in it.
G: Includes Discrete Graphics. Typically found on laptops, this means there is a dedicated GPU with the processor.
K: Unlocked. This means you can overclock the processor above its rating.
Once you understand the numbering system and the letters, you will be able to know the specific features of a processor without having to read them. It will help you in choosing the right processor for your gaming needs.
If you decide you want to go with Intel CPUs, there are a few technical terms that are necessary for you to grasp as they will help you determine which Intel series to settle on.
When we compare Intel vs AMD, this Intel technology helps your processor to dynamically increase the clocking speed if need be. The maximum amount of turbo boost that is capable of increasing the clocking speed depends on the estimated consumption of power, processor temperature, estimated current consumption as well as the number of active cores.
For example for a core i5-4570T, the maximum processor frequency allowed is 3.6GHz. Since the Core i3s do not have a turbo boost, the i5 series can easily outrun them whenever the need arises. All Intel i5 processors are equipped with the latest turbo boost technology i.e. turbo boost 2.0 and thus can outrun any Intel i3.
Once an Intel CPU registers that it often uses a similar data set over and over, it saves it in its cache. The cache is similar to the RAM but quite faster since it is built into the Intel CPUs. Both the Cache and RAM serve as holding components of frequently used data. Without these two the central processing unit would have to always read data from the hard drive which would be more time-consuming.
The RAM minimizes interactions with the hard disk while the Cache minimizes interactions with the RAM. The larger the Cache, the more the data that can be quickly accessed. Haswell 4th generation Core i3 processors have 4MB or 3MB of Cache. Haswell Intel i5 processors have either 6MB or 4MB of Cache while all the Core i7 Intel CPUs contain 8MB of Cache with the exception of the i7-4770R with 6MB.
At any given time, a single core can only be served by one thread per core. Therefore if your Intel CPUs are dual-core, then it means that two threads can be served simultaneously. The Intel CPUs have a technology known as Hyperthreading that enables multiple threads to be served by a single core.
For example, a Core i3 (dual-core) Intel CPU is able to serve two threads per core. Therefore there will be a total of four threads being run simultaneously. Most Intel i5 is dual-core and do not support hyperthreading with the exception of the i5-4570T, the maximum number of threads that they can run is similar to those served by the Core i3 models.
When we compare AMD vs Intel, the aspects of hyperthreading make the Core i7 processors superior and more efficient than their counterparts. They are quad-core processors that also support hyperthreading. They therefore can run a total of 8 threads simultaneously. Combined with the features of the Turbo Boost Technology and 8MB Cache, the Core i7 is distinctively set apart from other Intel processors.
The Core i5 and i7 are suitable for you if you spend a lot of time gaming. More programs are being released with the ability to multithread and hence can execute a single task using more than one Intel CPU thread. Some of the video editing and photo editor programs support multithreading hence making the core i5 and core i7 the more suitable choice.
When we compare AMD vs Intel, Intel has three major graphic levels i.e. HD, IRIS PLUS, and IRIS. Since the developer integrated the graphics onto the processor it is important that you review the different graphic models available before settling for any processor. Since it might not be easy to interpret the naming system the best thing is to rely on the letters at the end of the numbering system. If it ends with an H, then you know it is a high graphic performance and that that ends with a G has a dedicated GPU.
Important tips to keep in mind When we compare AMD vs Intel.
Now that you know a little about both AMD and Intel processors, here are a few factors that you might need to consider before settling on any device.
- The clocking speed is more important than the core number of your processor. Generally, it is the clocking speed that determines timely performance when it comes to gaming, more cores only help with time-consuming workloads
- Ensure your budget caters to a full system. A strong CPU paired with weak storage and or RAM, will not quite give you the desired effect. Therefore consider having enough money to invest in the whole system for better performance as well as enhancing your gaming experience.
- Consider purchasing the latest generation components to get value for your money.
- More expensive devices do not necessarily translate to the best performance. For example, Intel i9 9900k being highly-priced does not offer better performance compared to other models such as the 8700k.
- Consider whether you want to use your device for both play and work. In the event that you want your device to be multi-purpose, the AMD model is likely to give you better performance with its extra cores and threads that provide a significant improvement in performance.
- Consider the Thermal Design Profile (TDP), which is the highest heat amount that is generated by the chip. This will help you get a cooler that is able to handle the heat. Keep in mind that overclocked CPU’s are able to put out more heat compared to those that are not overclocked.
- The device is used, if you are using a laptop choose a processor that draws less power to promote longer battery life.
When we compare AMD vs Intel, the AMD Ryzen seemingly has more edge over processors. If using a high-end desktop, the Ryzen X is able to match the Core i3K from Intel but it has more efficiency when it comes to power usage and supports a faster memory module. As a gamer, you need a processor that is quite a fact and efficient to enjoy a smooth gaming experience as well as increase your reaction speeds.
Intel i5 (8th generation) vs Ryzen 5
When we compare AMD vs Intel, the Ryzen 5 is quite inferior compared to the Intel i5 since it does not hold the same level of power efficiency. The Ryzen processor does however give a higher thread count, sometimes a higher clocking speed, and larger Cache capacity. While the Ryzen processor supports a faster memory module, it, unfortunately, can only support a maximum of 64 GB while the intel processor can hold up to 128GB of memory.
Intel i7 (8th Gen) vs Ryzen 7
When we compare AMD vs Intel, in this category, the Intel processor does better compared to the Ryzen processor. The latter is quite power-hungry and cannot attain the same clocking speeds that the Intel chips are capable of attaining. It is important that you note, when it comes to the thread and core count, Intel i7 processors scale better compared to the Ryzen counterparts. The core and thread count are very important for a gamer since most graphic intensive games require additional components to run efficiently.
Related Reading: 10 Best Motherboards for Intel i7-6700K
Intel Core i9 10900k (9th Gen) vs Ryzen Threadripper
When we compare AMD vs Intel’s core, for this category, the only consideration you would have to make is between Ryzen’s higher Cache sizes, thread count, and memory capacity and Intel’s higher clocking speeds. On this one, the determining factor can be the power consumption since even the lowest level AMD Threadripper can consume two times the power a Core i9 10900k with 5.3GHz consumes and is much better than the Intel i9 9900k.