Intel vs AMD: which chipmaker does processors better?

Updated: Intel vs AMD: which chipmaker does processors better?


Building – or simply buying – a PC isn’t an easy task. With a seemingly endless list of components to consider, there is evidently a lot standing in the way between you and powering on that hardy rig for the first time.

Among these necessities is the CPU, the central processing unit, or just the processor for short. The processor is an integral part of your computer, so much so that it’s often referred to as the brains of the operation.

However, like with the graphics card space and the war of Nvidia vs AMD (or Advanced Micro Devices), there’s an incessant battle between the two major processor manufacturers as well: Intel and AMD. With AMD beset on all sides, let’s look at how its processors stack up to Intel’s.

Gary Marshall originally contributed this article


For bargain shoppers, the most common misconception is that AMD chips are more affordable than those powered by Intel. Truth be told, AMD does its best CPU work at the entry level, which could explain this mistaken belief.

An Athlon X4 860K, for instance, boasts a 3.7GHz frequency (4.0GHz with Turbo Boost) for only $75 (about £52, AU$103; as of this writing). Even for a dual-core processor, that’s not a bad deal if you aren’t expecting much as far as integrated graphics are concerned.

Updated: Intel vs AMD: which chipmaker does processors better?

If you want, though, you can get something like the AMD A6-5400K for about $40 (about £27, AU$55; as of this writing). However, you could say the same about Intel’s comparable Celeron series.

The truth is that both Intel and AMD processors typically retail at about the same price; AMD is only known for being cheaper because its chips are much less popular once you reach the $200 mark.

Being known for cores, AMD will give you more for less, but Intel is notorious for consistently outranking “The Red Team” in many cases due to hyperthreading, but I’ll gloss over that in the next section.

That said, processor prices fluctuate constantly. Wait a few months after launch, and you’ll quickly find that the Intel Core i7-6700K you were eyeing has dropped in cost. Understandably, patience is a virtue that’s easier said than followed – especially when you’re distracted by the prospect of shiny, next-gen processors touching down within a few months.


If you want the best of the best performance with little regard for price, then turn your head towards Intel. Not only does the Santa Clara chipmaker get persistently better ratings in CPU benchmarks, but Intel’s processors draw less heat as well, blessing them with lower TDP (thermal design point) ratings across the board.

Much of this is owed to Intel’s implementation of hyperthreading, which has been incorporated in its CPUs since 2002. Hyperthreading keeps existing cores active rather than letting any of them remain unproductive.

Updated: Intel vs AMD: which chipmaker does processors better?

AMD, on the other hand, takes pride in its focus on increasing the number of cores in its chips. On paper, this would make AMD’s chips faster than Intel’s, had it not make a hugely negative impact on heat dissipation.

While cooling an Intel processor is a rather straightforward process, because AMD likes to shove as many cores as possible into a single processing unit, its chips tend to run hotter much to the discomfort of the more affordable cooling solutions. (As a result, you could say this makes AMD chips equally as or more expensive than their Intel counterparts.)

Take AMD’s $259 (about £179, AU$357; as of this writing) FX 9590 for example. It clocks in at 4.7GHz, or 5.0GHz with AMD Overdrive installed. Oh, and did we mention it has eight cores?

That’s twice the number of cores bolstered by the Core i7-6700K. But, according to PCMark tests conducted over at CPUBoss, Intel’s rigid beast still comes out on top in terms of overall performance.

Even though AMD’s processor technically has a faster clock speed, as you can assume, with more cores comes a heavier workload. The clock speed doesn’t mean much when carrying out the same tasks requires more effort from the CPU, and that’s why – for now, at least – Intel’s chips bring objectively better performance.


If you’re building a gaming PC, truthfully you should be using a discrete graphics card rather than relying on a CPU to run The Witcher 3, for instance. Even though we’re finally reaching a point where integrated CPU graphics are packing enough power to allow for the existence of a gaming-centric Intel NUC, there’s undoubtedly room for improvement.

Updated: Intel vs AMD: which chipmaker does processors better?

Be that as it may, if all you’re looking to do is play League of Legends at mildly impressive settings or relive your childhood with a hard drive full of emulators (it’s okay, we won’t tell), the latest Intel Skylake or AMD A-Series APU processors will likely fare just as well as any top-end graphics card. At one time, for low to mid-tier gaming, AMD’s Radeon chips were far superior to anything offered by Intel. With the arrival of Intel’s Iris Pro graphics, however, that sentiment is becoming more and more refutable.

On the high end, where you’ll be pairing your CPU with a powerful AMD or Nvidia GPU, an Intel processor is the better option. In this case, using an Intel Core i3 or i5 CPU rather than an AMD equivalent can be the difference between 15 and 30 frames per second.

While there is no clear winner in the graphics department, survey says AMD is the better option for integrated graphics (for now), while Intel works best when coupled with a GPU.


When you buy a new computer or even just a CPU, it’s typically locked at a specific clock speed as indicated on the box. Some processors ship unlocked, allowing for higher clock speeds than recommended by the manufacturer, giving users more control over how they use their components (though, it does require some precautionary expertise).

AMD is normally more generous than Intel in this regard. With an AMD system, you can get more juice out of a mid-range, A-series APU for a modest price. Meanwhile, Intel’s easily overclockable, unlocked configurations don’t start until at least the $200 (£200, AU$300) range, beginning with the Core i5-6600K.

The unlocked chips Intel does offer, however, are delightfully faster than their AMD counterparts. If you’re shopping on a budget, AMD offers the most bang for your buck in terms of overclocking, assuming you know what you’re doing. Otherwise, where money is no object, Intel’s exhibits the best clock speeds around with its unlocked CPUs.

Availability and support

In the end, the biggest problem with AMD processors is the lack of support with other components. Specifically, motherboard (mobo) options are limited as a result of the differing sockets between AMD and Intel chips. While there are plenty of options for both brands of chips, the fact of the matter is there are abundantly more mobo choices with Intel sockets.

With that in mind, AMD’s chips make a little more sense from a hardware design perspective. With an AMD motherboard, rather than having metal connector pins on the CPU socket, you’ll notice those pins are instead on the underside of the CPU itself. As a result, any processor issues you might run into are less likely to be inflicted by the motherboard’s faulty pins. On the downside, replacing a high-end processor is usually a lot harder on your wallet than a shelling out the cash for a new mobo.

Updated: Intel vs AMD: which chipmaker does processors better?

Ultimately, deciding on a CPU is up to personal preference. Where an Intel processor shines most when married to, say, an Nvidia GTX 1080, AMD’s chips are surprisingly capable on their own, at least at low-to-mid settings. And, in some cases that’s all you need. In others, not so much.

Which brand of processor works better for you: Intel or AMD? Let us know in the comments below.


50 thoughts on “Intel vs AMD: which chipmaker does processors better?

  1. Just want to point out in this whole discussion, that if AMD (or intel) for that matter died out, leaving only one main cpu creator that would royally suck, they need to continue these one up man ship games of trying to make better products then their competitor, because otherwise they can just decide to make a worse product then they are now and we would be stuck with it.

  2. I have used both processors and I currently run an i5 3570. I used Intel back in the old days. My 1st was a 486 dx2 66mhz with 8 megs of ram. I had a cd-rom drive that cost a lot of money back then. It was 4x speed. I then went to a p 166mmx cpu and 32 megs of ram. Then to a 233mmx cpu with 64megs of ram. When the 1st slot 1 cpu’s came out I was going to get the 233mhz version. It was the kalmath cpu i believe. A friend of mine asked if I had heard of AMD, I said no. He asked me to try them out with a promise that if I did not like it he would buy my amd components back for what I paid form them. I said ok and never looked back. I decided to try the Intel cpus on a small challenge from my nephew, and I was having frame issues with my current AMD seup. I currently run a 3570, 16 megs of ddr3 1600mhz ram, AMD Radeon 7950 3 gig card, OCZ SSD, and 5 terabytes of platter drive storage space. I am waiting for the steamroller cpu to hit the market, and thats when I will go back to AMD. The Intel I have is nice but it was not worth the extra money I spent to get it. I have noticed no real difference between the 2 cpus. I found out that the frame problem I had came from an issue with the motherboard I had. I guess it is up to the person as to what they want to run. Some people like to brag about what they have and those folks usually buy the latest and greatest. I like to look at cost because I have a family to take care of. I think each cpu has a place in the market, and I am glad both are there. I think it is silly to be fanboys and such for just one company as both have made great improvements in the cpu field. I hope both of them stay in the field for a long time to come. take care, dave

  3. Seriously? Why don’t you include the prices in your comparison table? I smell Intel influence on this

  4. That’s because it’s a new AMD. An 2009 AMD is only a minute slower. I don’t think that’s bad

  5. generation over display. generation is the daddy. daddy is always stronger. simple rule analogy. To add to the conversation at hand. I have only been able to look at intel in a non-gaming environment(work,library, etc etc). I have always had to go with AMD because of the price(at first). Now I buy because of the reliability. The low price has just become an added bonus to being loyal to AMD. 20 years of gaming and AMD has NEVER held me up or back. Thanks AMD!!

  6. AMD is overrun in all segments sadly i got new HTPC machine and i take G3258 processor and he is insane (its in rank whit i3 and can easy be oc from 3.4 up to 4.3 ghz whit stock cooler (max is 4.8 and that’s only for water cooling and i really don’t see point of buying 70 dollars cpu and 100+ dollars water cooler for hem) by performance and cost only 70 dollars) i sadly don’t see any segment where amd CPU-s are close to intel … only point where amd is better is in APU … thers graphic is stronger but i personally don’t care cos i using dedicated GPU in all 3 my rigs (gtx460,gtx660 and gtx970) … whit new skylake processor at end of 2015 i think intel will kill amd …. hope im wrong cos, really don’t favor any of the .. simply good competition is healthy for market and best for us costumers at end

  7. There is room for such people, but this simply isn’t the case. I see no reason to think that my mind is so much better than yours, I’ve simply taken 2 high level college classes pertaining to this subject and so I have a much more precise knowledge than you. My quibble isn’t that you have failed to say please and thank you, but that every time you’ve received an answer you didn’t fully understand, you’ve presumed that the issue was with the answerer and then gone on to lecture them.

  8. Like most men of virtue (though not as high as yours), I thank you now for saying:

  9. You have a serious black box understanding. The algorithms used for 3D gaming and 3D modelling are not the same, not even close. And that means that they use different operations right down to the machine language. You may think that it’s all the same because it’s just all nand gates, but you’re wrong. Different architectures are optimized to be able to preform common complete calculations with a single clock cycle that may take other architectures multiple cycles. AMD has focused on the common operations used in 3D gaming, but not 3D rendering. And not all stability necessarily has to refer to the processor’s hardware preforming consistently. It’s entirely possible that a specific set of commands on a specific architecture will result in things that the software does not expect, while working as expected on another architecture. And if I appear rude, it’s because you approached this discussion with the arrogance of a sophomore, pretending to ask questions when what you actually want to do is show off your overestimation of your own intelligence. I can tell this because after being given both an answer and an avenue to pursue further knowledge if you should seek to do so, you responded not with thanks but snark. And like most men of virtue I find that sort of behavior distasteful and so I called it out.

  10. Mr Booch, a processor is a number cruncher. 3D gaming and 3D modelling both are the same. If a processor can handle 3D in gaming, it will do the same in 3D modelling. My question was about stability. A processor is unstable when overclocked, overheated or has over/under voltage. I hope this is below your head. Do not be rude on social media if you have a biased opinion. I own Intel but will not say NO to AMD because someone says it is unstable without any proof. The true performance for any specific application does not come solely from processor. That is why we have GPUs, RAMs, etc.

  11. He did… and he answered. Nobody’s fault but your’s if his answer was over your head.

  12. I meant that if a processor can run a 3D game with stability, what is the issue with 3D modeling? I hope you UNDERSTAND what I meant. 😉

  13. I use AMD with 3DSmax, Maya, Solidworks and Adobe CC. Never had any problems.

  14. 3D Modelling is the process used to create assets in 3D. Google

  15. Well gaming is 3D or am I missing the point? What does stability mean? Does it crash? Does it overheat? Does it die?

  16. Im not a pro. But Im into all these stuff, did research have classes etc and I was thinking the same thing. But as I do a little bit more research, I think I might just found the answer. I never have problems with Intel since I used Intel (i7 3770 though). Before this I used AMD. The answer is the technology Intel promotes. The smart response etc… I’ve seen a comparison from a pro. It’s been said, AMD is more to gaming while Intel support gaming as much or more than AMD BUT supports 3D modelling etc with more stable performance. And yes, in my perspective, both have good quality and their own tech. But the key here, is that AMD mostly design only until intense gaming instead of 3D etc which can be found in Intel. Dont get me wrong, AMD can do 3D etc just with less stability. And the pro said, if you want to build your own PC; first things first, what do you want to do? Only intense gaming (of course internet etc, but the most load will be gaming), then AMD. You saved tons of money. But if you do 3D etc, go Intel, it supports much better. And Shahmi, I live in Malaysia too… Agreed, price here sucks balls……

  17. I sense hatred towards AMD processors First of all, I must say that I am a neutral-guy lol. I don’t ship AMD nor Intel, but your comparison pal, was not great. In addition, worse. You should probably make a better comparison without the needs to insult those AMD processors. Sure Intel work great however, they costs too high. For US residents it might not be a problem, but as for my own self, I live in Malaysia. You won’t know how surprising expensive an object is if converted from USD to MYR. Here I imply, I will still back AMD up. Their processors might be the ones I will buy due to its cost. And it is pretty reasonable (the price and the quality) so why bother.

  18. Actually Intel is getting sued by amd for putting a code in there processer which makes it slower. A 2009 amd processer is only one minute an 2012 Intel processor for uploading the same YouTube video.

  19. Not in my experience… There are industry-standard benchmark routines out there — the Intel G or Celeron processors were cheaper — but didn’t have the performance of the

  20. you can always get intel G series or Celeron G series much much cheaper than amd but with better performance

  21. At the end of the Day, this article was written for pro wannabes (you know the guys who will pride themselve of having a powerful computer by mastering every spec of it and remind you every second now and then, while they barely utilize half of it) and not the usual normal user, whether you are using a cheap AMD or Celeron processor, most people notice the difference mainly and majority even don’t know which processor is in their PCs

  22. By the Bro I’m not a pro but i notice my DDR2 AMD Athlon 64bit dual 1.7 G and 2 gig of ram in the tropical country is so laggy with Win 10 so shift to Intel core-i3-4th gen and 4gig ram DDR3 is so smooth so i choose intel no more expensive cooling system thats all

  23. Well I didn’t wanna put it that harsh way it’s like everybody has the right to be dumm or else so I know ppl who I asked why do they think amd is garbage and they usually respond as they read it on a forum or heard it from others. And when they r facing the facts they can’t say a word because the realise their truth is not entirely the truth. It’s just as the same with cars. Some ppl would simply touch them self because they saw a German car, they don’t know why they like it they saw it’s cool cause it’s cost a lot must be better than that other Japanese cars. I disagree with them at that point. But all I can say is my experience with Intel was bad. It supposedly better for 3D rendering that maybe true but I have my doubts about it. And also I never rely on only the raw numbers. U can have a good cpu if the mb barely supports it cause you had to cut the budget somewhere. I dunno if actually that happens many times, but I met ppl like that. It’s another good thing to be a technician 😀

  24. AMD or DIE !!! I have plenty of heartache with INTELs 00a0 NONE with AMD

  25. Well my experience with intel is the same as yours with AMD. I have/had plenty of both systems, and I found AMD much more reliable compared to Intel, and I also like to OC my stuff if possible, and since Im the type of person whos using crazy amount of resourses of a PC/laptop. I mean multiboxing multiple games at once, while rendering animations and running other stuff in background. This is the reason Im about to build an AMD rig, with FX-9370, and as for graphics, Im still doing my little research :)

  26. My first amd was an 800mhz athlon from 1998 or 2000ish I dunno I was little when my mom used it, after a few years maybe like 6-8 years I’ve put it together again and it was at the Same lvl of performance as the 1 year old 1.6 celeron

  27. Funny I had an Intel chip computer and it broke in one year. My AMD is running like a champ after several years.

  28. Well, i have a server with amd A8 and a laptop with AMD processor, no problem at all. My AMD graphics card sucks seriously though…

  29. Hi Bro, I am typing this using my AMD Athlon 64 x2 too! I got is on ’04 and upgrade to current CPU on ’06 Shopping for new CPC because tire to change my chip-set fan. They are the only thing that didn’t last for 10 your 😛 excep HDD

  30. I just upgraded my AMD Athlon64 x2 last week to an AMD FX8320 x8core processor. I’ve had my Athlon64 since 2008 and it’s still going strong. I’m not tossing this baby out. I’ll put it in another case and use it as my backup and secondary. I’ve built about a dozen AMD systems in my lifetime, about 5 for myself and about 5 or 6 for my customers, 1 for my brother, and 1 for my X. You can’t beat AMD for value. And I have never had any trouble with AMD chips.

  31. I’ve had no problem with my AMD Athlon 64 x2 dal core processor from ’05 so idk what your problem is

  32. Tim my first computer in 2003 was AMD i have used nothing but AMD processors since, never had a reason to change till today it never disappointed me and always reliant, you must be doing something wrong.

  33. My RMX 850 blew up in a month I now have a cooler master psu that i got for 2 thirds of the price and its working fine.

  34. learn to spell WITH….you 3rd year IT student, you.

  35. That’s interesting, i haven’t had any serious problems whit neither AMD or Intel(slight thermal throtteling annoyance on my laptop). My current desktop has ancient AMD Athlon X2 240 64 bit(my old laptop used to have laptop version of it too) and that CPU came out in 2009?. Its paired whit Nvidia 9800 GT Green Edition and 6 GB DDR2 Ram (yes, i am that ancient, and i am pretty broke, but i am studying IT third year,so i got that going.) i am planning to upgrade my system and buy fx8320 (lower power consumption(i have decent 550W modular PSU whit 2 year warranty(its now half year old).

  36. NCIX/linustechtips make pc’s in Canada they work better than yours.

  37. Agreed, unless he was somehow referring to the temperatures. I suppose as the AMD generates more heat, it could possibly be better in incredibly cold temperatures.

  38. As stupid as Tim’s comment was, you just one-upped him there bud. Let’s not generalize people based on their country of origin or residence.

  39. A Canadian building the machine explains your problem right there! Don’t you dare blame AMD!

  40. First-Sounds like you need to move. Second-I have 5-6 AMD rigs working fine. Always have. Building another next week. What are you doing wrong???

  41. dude get yourself an intel machine I have had nothing but bad problems with amd. p.s im from Canada your winters are nothing ares get below -60

  42. I’m not a pro, like it seems that you guys are… but I wonder if I really need a intel i5 if I’m only going to use it in school for word, excel, internet etc and maybe some games but not any heavy stuff. Shouldn’t it be enough with a AMD A6 or A8, I don’t want a expensive computer but still I don’t want it to be slow as a 95′ neither. Excuse the language but I’m from sweden, prepare yourself winter is coming.

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