Intel or AMD Ryzen: ​Which CPU is best?

Which processor is better in 2021? Can the AMD Threadripper compete with Intel's Core i9? Which should you buy?

Credit: Photo 169531891 © Petrsvoboda91 | Dreamstime.com

AMD Ryzen and Intel Core CPU Specs Compared

Here's a quick table allowing you to quickly and easily see how each AMD Ryzen CPU compares to their Intel counterparts when it comes to hardware specs.

Intel Core i3 (10th Gen) vs Ryzen 3

Desktop

Intel Core i3 (10th Gen) vs AMD Ryzen (3rd Gen) desktop CPUsCredit: IDG
Intel Core i3 (10th Gen) vs AMD Ryzen (3rd Gen) desktop CPUs

Mobile

Intel Core i3 (10th Gen) vs AMD Ryzen (3rd Gen) laptop CPUsCredit: IDG
Intel Core i3 (10th Gen) vs AMD Ryzen (3rd Gen) laptop CPUs


When it comes to desktop CPUs, Ryzen has something of an edge against i3 CPUs - especially if you’re opting for a model with one of AMD’s Vega GPU hardware. In addition, entry-level Ryzen CPUs deliver both greater power efficiency and support for faster memory modules. That being said, the top-line i3 103200 is capable of higher maximum clock-speeds than anything else on the table here. 

Then, on the mobile front, AMD’s Ryzen CPUs emerge as a clear winner. As with the desktop i3 CPUs, Intel’s TurboBoost tech helps them hold onto the crowd for maximum clock speeds. However, beyond that feat, AMD takes front after front here. The current crop of Ryzen 3 mobile processors boast additional cores and a Vega GPU that’s easy to envy.

Intel Core i5 (10th Gen) vs Ryzen 5

Desktop  

Intel Core i5 (10th Gen) vs AMD Ryzen (3rd Gen) desktop CPUsCredit: IDG
Intel Core i5 (10th Gen) vs AMD Ryzen (3rd Gen) desktop CPUs

Mobile

Intel Core i5 (10th Gen) vs AMD Ryzen (3rd Gen) mobile CPUsCredit: IDG
Intel Core i5 (10th Gen) vs AMD Ryzen (3rd Gen) mobile CPUs


The Ryzen 5 Desktop CPUs aren’t quite as power efficient as their mobile counterparts and they lack the integrated graphics found in Intel’s Core i5 chips. However, they do offer higher thread counts, larger cache sizes and - in some cases - faster clock speeds. 

One area where they can fall short, however, is in memory expansion. Ryzen 5 CPUs support faster memory modules but they sometimes only support up to 64GB where Intel’s i5 chips are able to go up to 128GB.

On the mobile front, again, Ryzen excelled when it came to power efficiency and graphics rendering. However, it clearly lagged behind Intel when it came to both base and boosted clock speeds and cache size.

Intel Core i7 (10th Gen) vs Ryzen 7

Desktop  

Intel Core i7 (10th Gen) vs AMD Ryzen (3rd Gen) desktop CPUsCredit: IDG
Intel Core i7 (10th Gen) vs AMD Ryzen (3rd Gen) desktop CPUs

Mobile

Intel Core i7 (10th Gen) vs AMD Ryzen (3rd Gen) laptop CPUsCredit: IDG
Intel Core i7 (10th Gen) vs AMD Ryzen (3rd Gen) laptop CPUs


Though a few caveats apply, we found that the scales really begin to tip in favor of AMD here. Though they might not reach the same highs as Intel’s i7 10700 and i7 10700K, the Ryzen 7 3700X, 3800X and 3800XT all boast significantly higher base performance. 

As opposed to previous generations of Ryzen chipsets, the third generation hardware here also surpasses previous limits to match Intel for 128GB of supported memory. Factor in the cache advantages inherent to AMD’s architecture and the case for choosing a Ryzen 7 CPU over an Intel Core i7 isn’t hard to hear.  

Things were a little closer when it came to Ryzen Mobile. The latest in Ryzen 7 mobile processors can’t match the thread and core count allowed for by Intel’s own Core i7 processors, nor can they keep up when it comes to clock speeds. 

That being said, the Vega graphics processing grunt that comes integrated with Ryzen 7 easily eclipses what you’re going to get out of Intel’s own in-house GPU. If the laptop you’re looking at also features a dedicated graphics card, that’s not necessarily going to be a big deal but, if it doesn’t and you’re keen to squeeze in some gaming, then it’s going to probably be worth siding with AMD here.

Intel Core i9 (10th Gen) vs Ryzen Threadripper

Desktop  

Credit: IDG


If you’re the kind of high performance power user that AMD and Intel are looking to woo with the Threadripper and Core i9 respectively, your preference is ultimately going to come down to whether you think the higher clock speeds available with Intel are worth the higher the thread count, cache size and memory support you’ll get AMD.

Of course, it should also be noted that even the cheapest ThreadRipper consumes twice as much power as its i9 counterpart and that while the latter does include integrated graphics, they aren't any better than what you'll get out of the closest Intel Core i7 processor. 

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Tags intelprocessorsAMDcpuCore i7CPUsprocessorRyzen

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