​Which CPU is best: Intel or AMD Ryzen?

Which processor is better in 2019? Intel's Core i7 vs AMD’s Ryzen? Which is the best gaming processor and which CPU should you buy right now?

AMD's Ryzen is an impressive entry into the processor market. But is it the CPU to buy?

AMD's Ryzen is an impressive entry into the processor market. But is it the CPU to buy?

How does AMD’s Ryzen CPU compare to Intel’s Core CPU for performance?

Here's how each AMD Ryzen CPU compares to Intel's Core CPU on paper.

Intel Core i3 (8th Gen) vs Ryzen 3

Desktop

Intel Core i3 (8th Gen) vs AMD Ryzen (2nd Gen) desktop CPUs
Intel Core i3 (8th Gen) vs AMD Ryzen (2nd Gen) desktop CPUs

Mobile

Intel Core i3 (8th gen) vs AMD Ryzen Mobile CPUs
Intel Core i3 (8th gen) vs AMD Ryzen Mobile CPUs

Our conclusions

When it came to desktop CPUs, we’re inclined to give Ryzen 3 the edge against Intel’s Core i3 CPUs. The Ryzen 2300X was able to match Intel’s top-line i3 8350K tit for tat while also being both more power efficient and capable of supporting faster memory modules.

Then, on the mobile front, AMD’s Ryzen CPUs emerged as significantly more power efficient than their intel counterparts - which is particularly important in a mobile CPU context. Ryzen also had a slight edge when it came to the GPU side of things. Otherwise, the two were pretty evenly matched.

Intel Core i5 (8th Gen) vs Ryzen 5

Desktop  

Intel Core i5 (8th Gen) vs AMD Ryzen (2nd Gen) desktop CPUs
Intel Core i5 (8th Gen) vs AMD Ryzen (2nd Gen) desktop CPUs

Mobile

Intel Core i5 (8th gen) vs AMD Ryzen Mobile CPUs
Intel Core i5 (8th gen) vs AMD Ryzen Mobile CPUs

Our conclusions

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.

Unfortunately, one key area where they fell short was memory expansion. Ryzen 5 CPUs supported faster memory modules but they 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 (8th Gen) vs Ryzen 7

Desktop  

Intel Core i7 (8th Gen) vs AMD Ryzen (2nd Gen) desktop CPUs
Intel Core i7 (8th Gen) vs AMD Ryzen (2nd Gen) desktop CPUs

Mobile

Intel Core i7 (8th gen) vs AMD Ryzen Mobile CPUs
Intel Core i7 (8th gen) vs AMD Ryzen Mobile CPUs

Our conclusions

When it comes to desktop CPUs, we found that the scales tipped in favor of Intel here. Ryzen’s CPUs are more power-hungry and don’t reach the same higher clock speeds that Intel’s i7 chips offer. They are also capped at 64GB of RAM. That said, they do offer some advantages when it comes to cache size.

Things were a little closer when it came to Ryzen Mobile. Again, it can’t be stressed enough how important the reduced power consumption here is. In comparison, the more powerful Vega graphics tech is just icing on the cake.

That said, it should be noted that many of Intel’s i7 mobile chips managed to beat out AMD's Ryzen 7 CPUs when it came to core and thread count - which is important if you’re reliant on an application that can make use of those extra cores.

Intel Core i9 (9th Gen) vs Ryzen Threadripper

Desktop  

Intel Core i9 (9th Gen) vs AMD Ryzen Threadripper (2nd Gen) desktop CPUs
Intel Core i9 (9th Gen) vs AMD Ryzen Threadripper (2nd Gen) desktop CPUs

Conclusions

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.

Although Intel do offer some laptop-friendly versions of their i9 CPUs, AMD has yet to unveil any sort of mobile equivalent to their Threadripper CPUs.

Which CPU price is best: Intel or AMD?

As always, it should be noted that component pricing can sometimes be quite elastic. The below comparisons have been put together using PCPartsPicker.com.

Intel Core i3 (8th Gen) vs Ryzen 3

Depending on where you’re buying them from, Intel’s current crop of i3 CPUs currently range from approximately $199 on the low-end to $299 for the i3-8350K. In comparison, AMD’s Ryzen 3 2200G can be had for about half that (we’ve seen it as low as AU$138). And when you compare the two, it’s easy to see the value.

Even if it does fall short on clock speed and cache size, Ryzen offers significantly better on-board graphics plus reduced power consumption.You can find it on Amazon here.

Intel Core i5 (8th Gen) vs Ryzen 5

Depending on where you’re buying them from, Intel’s current crop of i5 CPUs currently range from around $299 for the i5-8400 to $399 for the i5-8600. In contrast, you can grab a Ryzen 5 2600X for $299 or Ryzen 5 2400G for $218 respectively.

Again, the Ryzen counterparts to Intel’s i5 chips are almost half the price - so, even if they do fall short on certain fronts, there’s a lot of value here. You can find it on Amazon here.

Intel Core i7 (8th Gen) vs Ryzen 7

Depending on where you’re buying them from, AMD’s Ryzen 7 CPUs float between $350 and $450. As usual, Intel’s CPUs tend to be slightly more expensive. We’ve seen the I7-8700 go as low as $488. We’ve seen the 8700K go as high as $598.

Still, as noted in our theoretical comparison above, the ability to reach 5Ghz clock speeds and go beyond 64GB of RAM might be worth the premium - depending on your individual needs.You can find it on Amazon here.

Intel Core i9 (9th Gen) vs Ryzen Threadripper

This is the one front where AMD doesn’t have the edge on price. Depending on where you buy from, you’ll probably be able to Intel’s high-end i9 CPUS for as low as $750 and as high as $815.

In contrast, AMD's mighty Threadripper CPUs start at around $939 and we’ve seen them go as high as $2495. They offer a level of performance that Intel’s i9 hardware can’t match, to be sure. But no matter how you swing it, that’s higher pricing is a pretty bitter pill to swallow. You can find it on Amazon here.

Next Page: How do AMD Ryzen and Intel compare in practice?

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags intelprocessorsAMDcpuCore i7CPUsprocessorRyzen

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Nick Ross
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?