Is AMD or Intel Better for Gaming?

One of the questions we get asked a lot, especially with the recent renaissance AMD has been having is, “Is AMD or Intel better for gaming?”. Not going to lie, this is a controversial topic for some pc builders, there are some people who are strictly Intel and there are some who are strictly Team Blue (Intel) or Team Red (AMD). Let’s see what team you’re playing for or if you think it’s time to maybe switch teams. Side note, I will not be talking about AMD’s Thread Ripper chips, only the Ryzen 3rd gen chips, because that wouldn’t be fair to Intel.

Intel’s Success and Failures

As far back as I can remember Intel has been dominating the CPU space and has always been on the bleeding edge of innovation. Apple even abandoned the production of their Power PC’s and converted over to Intel chips back in 2006, which coincidentally was when I purchased my first Mac computer with the Core 2 Duo CPU. Since then, Intel, like clock work has put out a new chip what seems like every year. Now we’re at the 10th generation “Comet Lake” series chips which tops out at 10 cores. 

From a gaming stand point, I’ve always been told that Intel was the better CPU developer because it could handle the high loads that games put on it better than AMD could. Basically AMD has always been second fiddle to Intel and it wasn’t even close. To this day there are still die hard believers that believe that but due to recent events and mishaps within the walls of Intel, a new story is arising. Intel announced in it’s Q2 2020 earnings call that it has delayed the 7 nanometer architecture by another 6 months. This news comes shortly after Apple announced they are going to start building their MacBooks and Macs with their own proprietary ARM chips and migrating away from Intel. Now, they’ve lost one of their biggest contracts and delaying their innovation leaving many asking “What’s going on over at Intel. Because of this delay Intel will be relieving their chief engineering officer of his duties and splitting up his team between 5 other top level executives. There’s no telling what’s going to come of this.

AMD’s Renaissance 

AMD has seen a HUGE improvement in their chips, starting with their generation one zen technology, name the Ryzen series. Which is fitting because it marks the rise of AMD coming out of second place, in my opinion. The Ryzen processors have been able to closely compare to the latest Intel chips and, in some benchmarks, even surpass the performance of a comparable chip. What’s more, they’re able to accomplish this at a much lower price point. This makes choosing the right CPU now, a bit of a more difficult choice. AMD is doing so well now, that they’re starting to get more eyes from OEMs like HP, Dell/Alienware, MSI, and ASUS to power their prebuilt desktops and laptops.

Here’s were AMD is still lagging a little bit behind Intel, multi threaded core processes. Intel still performs slightly better than AMD as shown below in the screen grab from UserBenchmark. And I’m using 2 chips that have the same core count as a comparison.

As you can see Intel’s latest i7 chip that is comparable to AMD’s latest Ryzen chip only slightly out edged AMD in the performance category. Now let’s look at something else…

Comparing Intel’s Apples to AMD’s Oranges

Intel’s latest top tier consumer grade chip, the i9-10900K, boasts a whopping 10 Cores, 20 Threads @3.7GHz, which is currently the max core count offered by Intel consumer grade chip line. The i9-10900K at the time of this writing is currently going for $550 USD on New Egg and $815 USD on Amazon. While the next comparable AMD chip is the Ryzen 9 3900X, which boasts a nice 12 Cores, 24 Threads @3.8GHz. The Ryzen 9 3900X at the time of this writing is currently going for $430 USD from both Amazon and New Egg. Let that sink in for just a moment. You’re getting 2 more cores, higher speeds, for at least $130 USD less than the top tier Intel chip. The crazy thing is that’s not even AMD’s top tier Ryzen chip. The Ryzen 9 3950X currently holds that title with 16 Cores, 32 Threads @3.5GHz which goes for $700 on New Egg and $690 on Amazon.

Pick Your Side

So… Is AMD or Intel Better for Gaming? Which team are you going with now that you’ve seen the numbers side by side? Personally, I’m sticking with AMD. More performance per dollar, they’re being innovative, and they’re simply doing it right, for now. Things could change, something could click at Intel, but for now, you can see me swinging and rooting for team red.