AMD Ryzen vs. Intel chipsets - which is better?

Thursday, May 18, 2017 by Shira Caldie

With the much anticipated release of AMD’s highly disruptive Ryzen chips, it appears as if the underdog is giving Intel’s Core i5 and i7 a run for its money. With eight core central processing units (CPUs), AMD promises high-quality and top-performing products with strikingly cheaper prices than its competitor, Intel.

AMD Ryzen vs. Intel Chipsets and Core CPUs

Taking a closer look at Ryzen 5 1600X chips, AMD is showcasing these with 6 cores / 12 threads.  Because Ryzen chips focus on multithread performance, it makes them ideal for 3D rendering, virtualization, and video editing.  The threat to Intel isn’t just with processors, AMD is also challenging Intel’s midrange chipset designs, which consists of the G41 chipset.  This is considered to be Intel’s dominant chipset. Not long after AMD’s challenge, Intel quickly responded by introducing the P55 chipset and the i5 CPUs.  Intel Core i5-7600K has 4 cores / 4 threads and is considered to be the most advanced chipset on the market for PC buyers.  When paired with a DP55KG motherboard, the combination proved to maximize performance and not fall short on features.  AMD does not compete with single-thread tests, but multi-thread is where AMD outshines Intel.

Ryzen 5 Pricing

Ryzen 5 is specifically targeting Intel’s pricing and position in the processor market.  The 1500X, with a suggested price of $189, offers SMT, a feature that Intel’s desktop Core i5 chips have struggled to capitalize on.  The 1600X, priced approximately at $249, carries six cores and SMT to directly compete with Intel’s Core i5 product line, as well as the Core i7-7700K.

Not only are the prices more affordable, but investors are encouraged to buy shares with AMD.  The company’s shares have quadrupled in the past 12 months in anticipation of the Ryzen processor chips and it does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

An in-depth comparison of Ryzen 5 1600X vs Intel Core i5-7600K below shows the neck and neck performance and pricing data between the two.

Scaling Up

Intel has since decreased prices significantly with the Core i5 and i7 processors in an attempt to properly compete with AMD.  The extra processor cores offered by Ryzen mean that certain capabilities will run much faster than the Intel chip.  In reality, an expensive eight-core Intel Core i7 6900 CPU performs at a similar speed as the AMD Ryzen 1800X CPU, but the Ryzen costs less than half as much.

This is what is referred to as disruptive technology.  What AMD did was strategic.  Instead of chasing Intel with the same price points, they chose to focus on the sub-$200 market which bodes well with those looking to keep system costs low and who want to open room for a more expensive graphics processing unit (GPU).

Whether AMD’s strategy will prevail is yet to be seen, but it has taunted competitors for certain.  On the heels of Ryzen pre-orders, Intel slashed its prices significantly, bringing the Intel Core i7-770K desktop processor down to $300 at some stores.  Nvidia has also announced several products that will compete directly with the Ryzen.  Both Nvidia and Intel are not accustomed to having competition.  AMD is the only other option to Intel and Nvidia, thus, all parties benefit when it does well.  Competition pushes markets and helps consumers and also forces companies to continue to innovate their product lines.

Performance comparisons

Breaking down the performance of AMD vs. Intel, the two seem to go back and forth when it comes to quality.  While AMD seems to have the price competition won, all heads seem to turn towards Intel when it comes to performance.  In particular, Intel processors contain hyper-threading, which results in the processors drawing less heat.

However, if you are building a gaming PC, you would ideally want the highest quality graphics.  For this, AMD comes in first; a foreseeably better option for integrated graphics.  Intel could compete but they would have to team up with a GPU.

When it comes to overclocking, AMD takes the cake yet again.  With an AMD system, you can get more out of a mid-range A-series accelerated processing unit (APU) for a decent price of $67, whereas Intel’s unlocked configurations start at $200.

Now What?

So, which processor is better?  Both rank in their own way.  Single-core performance shows Intel’s i7-7700K scoring higher than the Ryzen 7 1800X, but with multi-core performance, the Ryzen 7 1800X outdoes the i7-7700K.  For typical day-to-day usage, consumers will be better off purchasing the Intel 7th Generation processor, like the Core i7.  If a consumer is heavily focused on 3D rendering or video encoding, gaming, heightened overclocking, then the Ryzen is the way to go.  Assess your needs and select a processor that will give you what you are looking for.

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