AMD vs Intel: which chipmaker does processors better?

 techradar.com  2/16/2018 5:17:00 PM   Gabe Carey

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 rank consistently (albeit only slightly) better in CPU benchmarks, but Intel's processors draw less heat as well, blessing them with lower TDP (thermal design point) ratings – and thus power consumption – across the board.

Much of this is owed to Intel's implementation of hyper-threading, which has been incorporated in its CPUs since 2002. Hyper-threading keeps existing cores active rather than letting any of them remain unproductive. 

Although AMD’s simultaneous multithreading (SMT) featured in Ryzen is generally similar to hyper-threading, Intel remains on top when it comes to sheer clock speeds. AMD, on the other hand, has been keen on adding more cores to its chips as opposed to boosting frequencies. 

Unfortunately, software has to be written with this multi-core advantage in mind, which explains why Intel maintains a steady lead in real-world applications.

Luckily, despite AMD’s reputation for overheating processors, the newer Ryzen chips have lower TDP (thermal design point) ratings than the AMD FX CPUs and APUs of the past. As long as you have a decent cooler, you shouldn’t have to fret about your Ryzen-laden PC ever catching fire.

This looks to remain the case on the mobile (laptops) front as well, wherein AMD has only recently brought forth its contributions. The flagship Ryzen 7 2700U (quad-core, 2.2GHz – 3.8GHz) will be most compared to the Intel Core i7-8550U (quad-core, 1.8GHz – 4.0GHz) and seems promising based on those numbers alone.

With AMD’s RX Vega GL and GH graphics helping power Intel’s ‘H-series’ laptop and NUC chips, the AMD vs Intel rivalry is coming to a standstill. At this point in time, we’re seeing the two companies collaborate as we’ve never seen them do before. What’s more, they’re both benefiting from the partnership. 

It’s unclear how long the friendliness will last, however. Because AMD recently launched its Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G APUs, you can now get ‘discrete-class’ graphics from an AMD chip alone, an effort that will inevitably translate to an increased volume of Ryzen-based laptops as well.

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