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AMD vs Intel: Which Makes the Better CPU?

Thinking about buying a new laptop or PC?

From hard drives to screen sizes, there are lots of things to consider. But most important is the brain of the computer – the processor or CPU.

Two CPU manufacturers dominate the industry: AMD vs Intel.

Intel is most associated with the PC. Its history dates back over 50 years and the brand continues to produce CPUs like the vPro and Core ranges.

AMD seems like a newer alternative but the company was established shortly after Intel. Its CPUs compete for market share but traditionally aimed at a lower budget.

The question is which should you choose?

This article asks who makes the better CPU. You’ll discover if Intel has the edge with speed. Or does AMD dominate in performance?

Let the war commence!

Intel Processors

Intel Corp. began trading in 1968. The name stands for Integrated Electronics and they targeted the fledgling CPU processor market.

It may sound strange but Intel didn’t create their own initial CPU chip.

They purchased the rights from a Japanese firm and used it as the foundation for their microprocessing products. Now, the company designs and manufactures its own chipsets for users around the world.

Intel’s CPU Family

Intel has led the way in marketing their CPUs to the mass market. Brands like their Pentium range accompanied the launch of Windows 95 to worldwide fanfare.

Their current processor family includes:

  • 8th Gen Intel Core m3 Processors for mobile devices
  • Intel Core i3, i5, i7, 19 ranges
  • Intel Core X-Series for high-performance computers
  • Intel Xeon for Cloud servers

The Celeron and Pentium brands still exist with Pentium Gold CPUs targeting budget systems. Yet the Core iX range is marketed as the better laptop and desktop experience.

AMD Processors

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. was founded one year after Intel by a fellow employee of their previous company.

It started making computer chips in the mid-’70s and even assisted Intel in manufacturing its microprocessor. That partnership ended in 1986 and since then AMD has gone on to create the first 1-GHz processor.


AMD’s modern processor range includes:

  • AMD Ryzen series
  • AMD Athlon and Athlon Pro
  • G and R Series embedded processors

Their processors are designed to work with most operating systems including Windows 10. They also perform well in Chromebooks.

AMD vs Intel War

Choosing the CPU affects the basic architecture of a computer.

Motherboards hold processors, fans, and input devices and are designed for one type of chipset only. That means selecting an Intel processor requires you to also purchase an Intel-friendly system.

That won’t mean much to most computer users but for others, it’s led to a long-lasting ‘war’.

Only five years ago, AMD was on the brink of financial collapse. Intel was winning and AMD’s reputation of being ‘second-best’ saw their shares slide.

It took a new CEO and a new attitude to pull AMD around. Now, the company’s known for producing high-quality CPUs. And many believe they outclass Intel’s in most areas.

Who Will Win?

If you’re considering purchasing a new laptop or desktop PC you need to make a choice.

Should you choose an Intel processor and if so will it be a Core iX range? Or should you go for the AMD equivalent?

Which processor brand runs faster? Which is more productive? How do they compare in price and are they any good for gaming?

The remainder of this article breaks down the Intel vs AMD debate to help you decide.

Setting Expectations

Before continuing, ask yourself what you need from your new computer and what will it be used for?

Will you need it for the workplace? Does it require mobility? What types of applications will you run?

Also, consider your budget.

Low-cost laptops start from $360 while gamers choose high-performance machines in the thousands. How much can you afford and is speed the main priority?

If you use legacy software then factor that into the equation. Some applications only work with Intel-compatible devices.

Graphics cards too must align with the correct CPU. AMD’s own range will only work with an AMD processor, for example.

AMD vs Intel Processor Performance

A computer’s performance isn’t just affected by its CPU. Hardware like RAM, hard drive type, and graphics cards weigh in on how it runs.

However, the processor communicates with all these devices. It’s therefore essential that you choose the right tool for the job.

Budget Users

AMD’s Ryzen 3000 and Athlon processors offer excellent performance at a low-cost.

Athlon CPUs target mobile devices like laptops and perform well on a budget machine. The Athlon 3000G chip retails around $65 and has a 3.5GHz base clock.

The Ryzen series is a little more expensive but offer better performance, especially for desktop PCs. The latest version is the 3000 series but budget users can pick up a bargain from the 2000 range.

Intel’s low-cost offering is the Pentium range.

Now in its 10th generation, the Pentium processor provides decent performance at a lower price. However, if you can find a bargain Core i3 like the Core i3-10100 then it’s a better investment.

Business Users

Business users require more performance from their computers due to running multiple applications. Often they require email, Internet, CRM apps, databases, etc. to all work at the same time.

Many of Intel’s Core i5 processors offer hyperthreading which means it doubles its cores for better performance.

For example, the i5-8265U Processor runs up to 3.90GHz with Turbo Boost. It has 4 Cores which double to 8 threads and it has a 6 MB Cache. Lenovo currently offers the CPU in its ThinkPad L390 ultra-portable range over at this website for just $699.

Not to be outdone, AMD offers a similar level of performance through its Ryzen 5 and 5 Pro series.

The AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 4650U Processor maxes at 4.00 GHz. It has 6 Cores and 12 threads with an 8 MB Cache. Prices compare well to the i5 but offer greater performance overall.


With gamers, it’s all about performance.

Lower-end CPUs have built-in graphics cards but every decent gamer buys their own. Therefore the CPU should concentrate on producing a crisp, blur-free experience on high FPS games.

Intel’s Core i7 10700K has 8 cores and 16 threads. Its base clock is 3.8GHz but when turbo-boosted, reaches 5.1GHz. It also offers overclocking which is discussed below and is a steal at under $450.

Intel also offers the Core i9 which provides even more performance but at a higher price.

AMD’s equivalent is the Ryzen 9 3900X. With 12 cores that double to 24 threads. And it boosts to 4.6GHz.

This CPU also ships with its own cooling system and is capable of overclocking. The price is $544 compared to the Core i9 at $719.

AMD vs Intel CPU Pricing

Benchmarking compares value versus performance. PassMark’s Daily CPU Value Chart uses hundreds of benchmarks to see what processor provides the best bang for your buck.

At the top of the leaderboard is the AMD Ryzen 3 3100 with a score of 98.1. The price is $119.99.

Intel’s Core i3-10100 offers the same 3.6GHz. It has a score of 77.7 but it’s five dollars cheaper.

On average, AMD offers better value than an Intel CPU as it claims the top six spots on PassMark’s list. However, the i3-9100F is one of the least expensive chips at $85 but ranks at number seven.

Budget users can opt for the Pentium range which hovers around $70-80. But for high-performance, AMD ranks the best.

Intel vs AMD Overclocking

Overclocking allows users to make their CPUs run faster than they were designed for.

The technique increases the component’s clock rate. That means it performs more operations every second. It squeezes out more performance but has the downside of generating extra heat.

Some processors allow overclocking and some don’t.

To know if Intel offers overclocking, look for the special ‘K’ in the component name. For example, the Intel Core i9-10900K at 3.6GHz can overclock to 7GHz!

Google the specs of the processor before you buy to see if allows it.

However, overclocking is dangerous if the computer overheats. Use a water cooling system if possible and don’t overclock if you don’t need to.

AMD vs Intel Winner

Five years ago, Intel was the clear winner in the war of microprocessors.

AMD struggled to keep pace and Intel’s Core series ruled supreme. Then came the Ryzen series and the landscape changed.

Today, Intel still has the lead in market share but the margin narrows for desktop PCs. Many gamers prefer AMD’s performance, especially when twinned with their high-end graphics cards.

Laptop buyers tend to veer towards Intel.

Their Core i5 series offers excellent value and performance. And with enough RAM and an SSD drive, the laptop acts like an i7 equivalent.

In summary, in the war of AMD vs Intel gaming and high-spec desktops, AMD wins. But for laptops and servers, Intel has a commanding lead.

More Tech Debates at Tech Edge Weekly

The war between AMD vs Intel will continue as both companies expand their product ranges.

Both Intel and AMD offer a selection of processor types to suit all budgets and needs. Each excels in different areas so choose the one that best matches your requirements.

To read more famous technology rivalries check out our other articles.

From Apple vs Microsoft to Android vs iOS, we offer a range of interesting features for you to enjoy. Remember to check out our archives for advice on software, hardware, gadgets, and more.