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What are the differences between Intel and AMD processor? The Intel processors are better known as Intel Core processors. It comes in different numbers that indicate the generation to which the specific processor belongs to.
Every new generation of Intel Core processor family comes with some additional features apart from the already existing features in its predecessors.
Just as the wide variance in the naming, Intel Core processors also comes in a wide variety as well. Here is the list.
- You will get an Intel Core X-Series processor. This is the first processor that comes with 18 cores that ensures high performance for desktops. It supports high-end gaming, multitasking and top-class content creation.
- The Intel Core i9 processors are another type that comes with Intel Thermal Velocity Boost technology that operates at a speed up to 5.3 GHz to ensure a more responsive gameplay. It comes with the most sophisticated connectivity such as Intel Wi-Fi 6 and 2.5G Intel Ethernet Connector. Apart from that, users will have additional flexibility for performance tuning with the new overclocking 123 controls.
- The Intel Core i7 processors, on the other hand, is designed for the next-gen desktops, laptops, and two-in-one computers. The processor will help in multitasking, high-end gaming, and content creation at a high speed and highest level of performance.
- The Intel Core i5 processors are designed for home and business computers. It supports 4K displays for video and gaming. It comes with unique features, speed on demand and a fast startup.
- The Intel Core i3 processors come with built-in mobility and designed for performing everyday tasks on the computer. It is known for its quick chargeability and a longer battery life.
- The processors that come with Intel vPro technology are different from the others and are designed for the modern workplaces. It ensures high performance along with better manageability and hardware-enhanced security.
- The 8th generation Intel Core m3 processors will perform extremely well for mobile devices. It also comes with built-in security, longer battery life and ability to respond quickly.
Finally, the latest generation of Intel Core processor family is the 10th generation processor and has distinct features as well. These processors are specifically designed to be used in laptops and two-in-ones. These are thin and light and are fit for everyday usage.
Intel Core processors have two different naming conventions. You will know the type of processor when you look at its nomenclature closely.
The processors that come with a ‘G’ in the number just before the final digit indicates that it includes the new graphics technology and is augmented for graphics-based usages.
Apart from that, the naming will contain:
- A number to indicate the generation
- A two-digit SKU and
- A two-character alphanumeric suffix.
This suffix actually designates the level of graphics presented by the processor. A higher number such as G7 indicates that it will be much better in graphics performance as compared to a G1 processor.
Intel Core processors that come without a ‘G’ will also start with a number to indicate the generation of the processor. This will be followed by a 3-digit SKU. This means that there will be five digits in total in a row.
After these five numbers come a single or double letter suffix. This can be similar to the naming convention of the previous generation.
This suffix indicates several things about the processor such as the type of device it can be used in, the level of power consumption and more.
However, all families or generations of the processors may not come with product suffixes. The most common types of product suffixes and its respective meaning are:
- G1 to G7 – This indicates that it is a graphics level processor that comes with the latest integrated graphics technology only.
- F – This indicates that the processor needs discrete graphics.
- G – This means that the processor includes discrete graphics.
- H – It indicates that the processor is optimized for high performance in mobile devices.
- HK – This also indicates that the processor is unlocked and optimized for high performance in mobile devices.
- HQ – This denotes that it is a quad core processor that is designed for mobile devices and optimized for high performance.
- K – This indicates an unlocked processor.
- S – It indicates a special edition processor.
- T – Indicates power-optimized lifestyle.
- U – It indicates mobile power efficient.
- Y – It means an extremely low power processor.
The AMD processors, on the other hand, are designed by Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Manufacturing of most of the AMD processors are outsourced though initially they manufactured their own processors. The list of AMD products includes:
- Embedded processors
- Motherboard chipsets and
- Graphics processors.
Their processors are used primarily by the servers, workstations, embedded system applications and of course, personal computers.
AMD became the second source licensed manufacturer of 8086 and 8088 processors after signing a pact with Intel in February 1982. Later on, under the same contract with Intel, AMD also produced the Am286 processors.
In 1993, AMD came out with its first version of its own processor family, the Am486. Later on, in November 1995, it came up with another, the Am5x86. This was a fast and cost-effective processor.
The first in-house x86 processor of AMD was launched in 1996 and was named K5.
The letter ‘K’ in the name indicates Kryptonite, (yes, the one that affected Superman, the comic hero), and the number ‘5’ indicated that the processor belonged to the 5th generation of x86 processors.
In 1996, AMD started reworking on the NexGen design of Nx686 and in 1997 came up with the K6 processor.
The K6-3/450 processor especially was much faster as compared to the Intel Pentium II 6th generation processor, in spite of the fact that the design was based on Socket 7.
Then on June 23, 1999 they came up with the 7th generation x86 processor, and named it K7. This is the time when it made its debut as Athlon, a new brand name. It used a Slot A connector instead of Slot 1 connector of Intel.
After the release of Duron and Sempron, Athlon XP was released on October 9, 2001 moving up to new sockets, the AM3.
On February 10, 2003, it revamped the Athlon XP and released the new version that came with 512 KB L2 cache.
Some other notable development in the AMD processor family includes:
- The K8 processor, which is a major revamp of the K7 architecture and included a 64-bit extension to the x86 instruction set and was named AMD 64, or x86-64, or simply x64.
- On April 21, 2005, it released the first x86 based server processor that came with dual core Opteron.
- In May, 2005, AMD released Athlon 64 X2, the first dual core processor for the desktop computers.
- In September 2007, the company released Opteron K10 processors for the servers and in November the same year, they released the Phenom CPU for desktop. The K10 processors came in dual, triple, and quad-core versions, all of them on a single die.
- Phenom II was released by AMD in January 2009 using the 45 nm procedure. It also had dual, triple and quad-core on the same die but the dual and triple core versions were disabled.
- In April 2010, they came up with a Phenom II Hexa-core processor called ‘Thuban’ that was designed with Turbo Core technology of AMD.
AMD in fact has a processor for every computer and for every sector. You will get both consumer and business processors.
As for the consumer processors it includes:
- AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors used by professionals and elite gamers as well as serious content creators. It has 64 cores and 128 processing threads, and
- AMD Ryzen processors with Radeon graphics.
The business processors include the AMD Ryzen PRO desktop processors and AMD Athlon PRO desktop processors.
All these processors, Intel or AMD, come with different features and functionality, making one different from the other.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- What each of the company has on offer and
- What you want to do with the processors.
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.