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Since AMD emerged as a major player in the processor game, the question of which CPU to buy has come down to AMD vs. Intel, with the AMD Ryzen series giving Intel a serious run for their money. Tough competition means more choice than ever, so here’s how to find the best CPU for your needs. And no matter which CPU you choose, use specialized cleanup software to keep your computer in top shape.
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The AMD Ryzen 9 7950X has redefined market expectations for power and performance thanks to its Zen 4 architecture, 5nm cores, and the added support of PCIe 5.0 and DDR5. But that doesn’t necessarily make it the best value. Unless you use advanced 3D rendering software, you likely won’t get the most out of this CPU, and most users will balk at the $699 price tag.
The more affordable AMD Ryzen 7 7700X ($399) offers a better balance between price and performance. But at this lower price-point, AMD’s chip is outpaced (in multi-thread tests) and outnumbered (in cores) by the Intel Core i7-12700K. And with the release of the Intel Core i7-13700K, which packs 16 cores and supports up to 24 threads, Intel is set to extend their mid-market dominance.
Intel’s top-end chips compete with AMD’s Zen-based processors.
The title of Best CPU likely belongs to AMD at the moment. But that doesn’t mean it’s the best CPU for you. AMD may have the edge for top-of-the-line processors, while Intel may be a better bet in the mid-tier range, but it ultimately depends on your needs and preferences.
The fierce competition has seen both manufacturers make rapid improvements in recent years, with Intel increasing the number of cores in their chips, and AMD achieving major breakthroughs in transistor technology.
Unless you’re a serious gamer who likes to boost FPS to the triple digits, both the Intel i7 and the AMD Ryzen 7 line of chips are great options, with clock speeds and thread counts pretty even. Often, the final decision comes down to price, but if you’re serious about getting the absolute best CPU for your needs, then it’s time to dig into the differences between AMD and Intel chips more deeply.
Although both AMD and Intel are descendants of Fairchild Semiconductor, the main difference between the two companies is that Intel has much stronger revenue streams and higher R&D budgets. That financial advantage, along with the efficiency and sophistication of Intel’s chips, has often left AMD struggling to compete.
Having supplied the microprocessors for IBM’s first personal computer in 1981, Intel cemented its position in the following decades, becoming a multi-billion dollar behemoth and the undisputed CPU market leader. Their dominance has even led to accusations of industry monopolization, resulting in hefty fines and lawsuit settlements.
AMD managed to innovate and started to compete with Intel despite these challenges, and their CPUs shared enough parallels that both AMD and Intel chips suffered from the Meltdown and Spectre hardware vulnerabilities. But by the early 2010s, AMD had fallen so far behind that they were forced back to the drawing board. Recognizing the difficulty of competing with Intel, their new strategy focused on budget chips, where performance aligned with price.
That led to an ingenious design approach that could be easily scaled, along with an emphasis on chiplets to reduce waste. Before long, AMD was putting out chips with power comparable to that of Intel’s, but at the same lower price as before. As the performance gap closed, the cheaper option began to make more sense for mid-market consumers.
The 2017 launch of AMD’s Zen architecture changed the situation drastically, and today that architecture threatens Intel’s supremacy more seriously than ever before. While AMD still can’t match Intel’s single-thread speeds, the number of cores and multi-thread capabilities of its chips means increased clock speeds and greater efficiency.
Intel CPUs usually offer better performance and value for gamers than AMD processors. When calculating complex AI in a video game, you need higher instructions-per-clock (IPC) and single-thread clock speed, areas where Intel shines. AMD chips’ core architecture is generally more suited to multitasking workloads rather than high-performance gaming.
But, AMD chips are generally more flexible than their Intel counterparts when it comes to overclocking. So if you’re into boosting your CPU to squeeze out extra processing power to run the latest and most demanding games, AMD is an excellent choice.
Only Intel CPUs with a “K” in their model number support overclocking. And these K-models, like the Intel i9-12900KS, which is generally understood as the best Intel processor for gaming, are not cheap. Of course, Intel’s clock speeds are already so high that overclocking usually isn’t necessary.
Intel's ultra-fast i9-12900KS is often described as the best processor for gaming.
If you’re building a gaming PC, you need to decide whether to go with AMD or Nvidia for your GPU. It can be a tough decision. Thankfully, choosing between AMD or Intel for your gaming CPU is a bit more straightforward.
Some AMD CPUs like the Ryzen 5800X3D offer clock speeds comparable with their Intel counterparts. So if you find a good deal for an AMD CPU, you might want to jump on it. But generally speaking, if you’re looking to optimize a Windows 10 PC for gaming, an Intel CPU’s ultra-powerful single-thread throughput can’t be beat.
When it comes to video editing and other high-intensity multimedia applications, the more cores the better. AMD's highest-end chip currently offers incredible content-creation and productivity performance by splitting up tasks across several powerful cores.
When you’re video editing, both audio and video have to be encoded simultaneously. If one core does both, it has to keep switching between the two, which slows the export down considerably. By splitting up the work across multiple cores and multiple threads, the complex work of a 3D model render can be completed much more efficiently.
Multiple cores enable parallel processing, each core’s bandwidth is limited.
But even if you’re not dealing with advanced video editing software, you still may be switching between programs quite a bit, especially if you’re using your PC to run other content creation or productivity tools. The principle remains the same: multitasking works best when you’re dividing up the work. You’ll have fewer problems with more processor cores doing the work.
AMD has also developed a reputation for producing the most energy-efficient CPUs on the market — a trend that has continued into their latest generation of chips. This helps to prevent the CPU from overheating, even when working under heavy stress.
No matter what kind of chip you have, it’s a good idea to check your CPU temperature and avoid computer overheating, which can damage performance, lead to data loss, and even permanentl;y damage your hardware.
You may pay more for an AMD chip and get less throughput per core, but when comparing AMD or Intel for office work or creative applications, AMD is still the winner. Make sure to check your PC specs and your graphics card for compatibility, and always choose the right CPU for your needs.
AMD used to be cheaper than Intel, and you generally got what you paid for. Nowadays, it’s pretty close. If you’re wondering if you should buy Intel or AMD in 2023, the answer is probably still Intel in most cases.
But while Intel CPUs generally offer the best performance at the mid-range price points, advanced users who demand a lot out of their machines and use specialized software should consider AMD’s top-end chips.
But cost isn’t just a single number. AMD prides itself on cross-generation compatibility, and this is priced into the higher costs of their top-end CPUs. You already have to spend around $500 to jump forward a generation, and with AMD, that’s a one-time purchase that integrates seamlessly with the latest hardware.
Intel’s products haven’t always been so adaptable, but their 13th-gen CPUs will be compatible with DDR4, meaning you can fit an Intel i9-13900K into a previous-generation motherboard. This top-of-the-line CPU is much cheaper than AMD’s Ryzen 9 7950X, which makes the Intel option look like quite a bargain.
But what about when you add wattage to the equation? AMD emphasizes energy optimization, and the max power draw of Intel’s latest generation of chips regularly exceeds AMD’s equivalents across the board.
For example, Intel’s Core i7-13700K tops out at 253W, while the AMD Ryzen 7 7700X only reaches 142W. Along with PC performance benefits, this kind of power-efficiency differential can bring significant savings from lower energy bills.
List price is often complicated. Ultimately, whether you should buy Intel or AMD depends on your specific needs and requirements. Most buyers won’t be going for the Ryzen 9 or i9 CPUs, and the fierce competition between AMD and Intel means there’s plenty of modestly-priced, high-performance chips to choose from in the mid-market range.
Intel still controls the laptop CPU market, and most laptops come equipped with Intel processors. But AMD has begun to challenge Intel’s dominance here too. Both companies offer great laptop CPUs with similar performance levels.
The best processor for your new laptop may end up coming from either company, and it’s fairly easy to get a laptop with their latest generation of CPUs. Everyday users are fine with mid-level Intel or AMD CPUs — for example, the i5s and Ryzen 5s — which will suit anyone who doesn’t use demanding or specialist software. Those who live their lives in a video editing suite or Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla would do well to go for a Ryzen 7 or i7.
Both companies’ highest-end chips are more powerful than most people would ever need their processor to be. When you compare the difference in performance and price tag of the i7 and i9, for example, ask yourself: Is it worth spending a few hundred dollars more for just a dozen more FPS?
But if you’re determined to get the very best processor for your laptop, you’re more likely to find an off-the-shelf machine with a high-end Intel CPU. You can’t go wrong with a whopping 24 cores in your brand new notebook, and that’s exactly what the i9 13900ks offers.
In our view, Intel makes the best CPUs for overall everyday use. High-end workstations usually perform a bit better with AMD thanks to their core counts. Otherwise, Intel probably has the best chip for you.
The CPU stress tests have spoken, and Intel’s clock speeds usually win out in all but the highest of high-end chips. Intel chips also tend to be more flexible and reliable, according to some reviews. You shouldn’t run into any problems with an Intel processor.
When shopping for CPUS, look for deals that match your preferred specs. If you can grab an AMD chip that meets your requirements at a better price than the Intel equivalent, go for it. The stiff competition between the two companies is pushing them both to produce excellent and innovative hardware.
To sum up:
Intel still leads the market for CPUs, offering the best balance between price and performance. Because of their unrivaled single-thread clock speeds, gamers will certainly want to go for an Intel CPU.
AMD is increasingly competitive, and their new Ryzen 9 chip is the most powerful consumer-grade CPU. With 8+ cores and multithreaded Zen architecture AMD’s new-gen chips perform particularly well in high-end workstations.
Even the most powerful CPU can only perform as well as your system. That’s why you need reliable cleanup software like Avast Cleanup to keep your PC running smooth and fast. A clean computer will ensure you’re getting the best out of your processor.
Avast Cleanup will automatically clear out junk files and bloatware, defrag your hard-drive, free up storage, and speed up your device. Unlock your computer’s full potential and keep it running smoothly with Avast Cleanup. Try it for free today.
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