Intel and AMD Processor: 15 Differences

By Dominic Chooper on September 01, 2020

In the world of computers, Intel and AMD are the major manufacturers of processors, both for desktop computers and laptop computers.

Though the purpose of these processors is the same, there are several differences between Intel and AMD processor.


15 Differences Between Intel and AMD Processor

Differences between Intel and AMD Processor

1. Speed and Power

When it comes to clock speed, a measure for the performance of the processors, the Intel processors excel.

This is also called the clock rate and expressed in GHz or gigahertz. If you want a power efficient processor that operates at high speed, Intel is the one you should go for.

On the other hand, the AMD processor has a clock speed nearly close to Intel but it is more power hungry. Therefore, it will consume much more power as compared to the Intel Core processors.

2. Overclocking

Overclocking is the speed that is more than the recommendations of the manufacturers. AMD processors outperform the Intel processors in overclocking. This is because all of their processors come unlocked.

The Intel Core processors are locked and will not allow overclocking except the chips that come with a letter ‘K’ at the end of the processor number.

3. Cores

The AMD processors come with more cores. This means that it will be able to receive, process and execute more instructions in a short time and in a much better way.

On the other hand, the Intel Core processors have fewer cores so that it can accommodate more hyperthreading. Therefore, the physical cores are divided into virtual cores or threads.

This means that fewer numbers of cores will work just as the higher number of cores in AMD processors due to hyperthreading technology.

4. Performance

The AMD processors can perform better than Intel Core processors. It will help in multitasking. Tests have proved that the AMD processors can perform a task in just about 47 seconds.

The Intel chips, however, can execute only single thread instructions in a better way. As for completing intensive tasks the Intel Core processors can render it at about 60 seconds, max.

5. Price

You will get AMD processors at the best price. The company follows a more aggressive pricing strategy than Intel which is their unique selling point, apart from offering more cores and a better performance.

Intel, in comparison, has the tendency and power both to markup their price being the market leader in computer components and peripherals market. Therefore, you will get Intel Core processors at a premium price.

6. Gaming

When it comes to gaming, the difference between the two processor brands is more clearly noticeable.

Due to the high-end graphics cards, the Intel processors will be faster than the AMD processors by at least 5 to 10%. For high-end games, this difference can be as high as 15%.

The AMD processors may seem to be slower in gaming primarily due to the fact that most of the games do not make use of all the cores available in the processor.

Ideally, games do not use more than four to six cores. This means that a number of cores in the AMD processor will be idle, most of the time.

7. Security

The Intel processors are considered to be more vulnerable to side channel attacks. This happens more frequently now. This is because it has a wider market than AMD and therefore more usage.

The company is making tweaks to overcome this issue. However, with the constant tweaks and fixes made, the Intel Core processors may fall behind the AMD processors at one point of time.

In comparison, the AMD processors do not have such high vulnerability due to a smaller market and, therefore, considered to be more secure.

8. Specs

The Ryzen 9 3950X processor, for example, comes with 16 cores and 32 threads, 64 MB cache, 3.5 GHz clock speed and a Max Boost clock at 4.7 GHz.

This means that it will be able to handle multitasking and other workloads. It will also provide higher frames per second both in 4K and full HD gaming settings.

The Intel Core processors will have a lower number of cores and most of the times the instructions will be executed by a single core. For example, the Intel i9-9900K processor will have a base speed of 3.6 GHz and a Turbo clock speed of 5 GHz.

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9. Power Consumption

The Intel Core processors will consume less power, ideally performing at 95 watts. However, it will not affect the performance of the processor.

The AMD processors, in comparison, will consume more power, which is 105 watts, but you will get half the performance as compared to the Intel Core processors.

10. Support

When it comes to technical and customer support AMD seems to be lacking a bit more than Intel. It has a full page in their website dedicated for this purpose.

You can check the latest drivers, product warranty, full specs, and even ask questions to other AMD users on a devoted forum, but responses may not come fast.

Intel also offers the same features and supports with the only difference of chat and live phone support along with it, ensuring prompt support.

11. Future Speculation

Over the years, AMD had massive success with their processors, especially the Threadripper and Ryzen variants.

Offering their processors with twice as many threads and core, it has given Intel some competition and something to worry about.

Intel, on the other hand, over the years have experienced some notable and embarrassing failures as such with their processors, especially after the release of Cannon Lake.

They have learned their lessons from their failures and are now more cautious with their future releases.

12. Market share

Intel is known to be the largest producer in the world when it comes to x86 based processors. According to the market report, Intel has more share of the x86 processor market, in fact, more than three-fourths of it.

AMD, on the other hand, is considered to be number two in manufacturing these processors and have a much lower market share compared to Intel, in spite of the fact that these processors come cheaper than Intel.

13. Drivers and software

AMD processors have always been affected by software support, processor drivers and graphics drivers. It has limited resources to deal with these issues or provide prompt support.

Their rivals Intel, on the other hand, is much more reliable because its drivers and software are more stable.

The graphics drivers have also become much more reliable of late. It has helped them to earn the reputation of being the leader in the processor market.

14. Processor lithography and architecture

Success of a processor depends on power, performance, denser process nodes, and PPA or area characteristics.

It is also required to have a robust microarchitecture. Based on such lithography and architecture factors, AMD proves to be more reliable.

Intel, in comparison may not have processor architecture and lithography as good as AMD but the fact that Intel manufactures its own processors and AMD does not, make Intel a tad more favorable.

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15. Interconnects

The architecture of AMD processors ensures better and stronger interconnects with the microarchitecture.

It impacts its scalability and performance per dollar ratio. This is because Infinity Fabric of AMD allows tying the multiple dies together into one single and cohesive processor.

Intel, however, stuck to its 14 nm architecture which is specifically designed for the nodes that are built on.

Therefore, the Intel microarchitecture can only perform on smaller 10 nm processors. This means that Intel needs to woefully focus more on productizing the 10 nm products.

Which is Better – Intel or AMD Processor?

It is not really easy to choose any one processor between AMD and Intel as the better one.

Both these companies offer different models and versions of processors that differ in several aspects such as core counts, clock speeds, and other specs.

Therefore, to make your selection process a bit easier, you should know:

For several years Intel dominated the market and outperformed AMD processors.

However, it was only after AMD released their Ryzen 7 series, it had the power and ability to compete with Intel, especially the Intel Core i7 processors.

However, the processor design and features are ever-changing and it is clearly noticed that one brand is moving faster than the other.

While AMD is making rapid advances, Intel is still stuck to and known to follow its five-year-old Skylake microarchitecture since 2015, and the result shows.

Nevertheless, AMD still has got some work to do to expand software optimization and its ecosystem. In spite of that, if you consider performance, price, and value, AMD may prove to be a good choice.

Ideally, the AMD processors are a good choice for beginners and mid-level users. On the other hand, the Intel processors, that come at a premium, are best suited for the professional computer users.

If you want more speed and power efficiency, Intel processors are the right ones for you.

Wrapping It up

When it comes to deciding between Intel and AMD processors, it is your needs and preferences that will play a more significant role than the differences.

Therefore, focus on your budget and specific use and follow the rule of thumb.

This is, Intel is the brand to choose if you want expensive but energy efficient processors.

On the other hand, if you want low cost and mid-range chips, go for AMD processors.