AMD Ryzen vs Intel: Which CPU Brand To Pick For Gaming?

by Mike Jones

If you are a gaming enthusiast, you already know that the performance of your system is everything. In order to rise to the top of your game you must have a reliable system that performs well at the most crucial moments of the game. This is why the CPU you select for this gaming system is so important.

In the current gaming landscape, two CPU manufacturers are head and shoulders above the crowd: AMD and Intel, which respectively produce the AMD Ryzen CPU and the Intel CPU. So which of these should you choose for your system?

This is the question we will explore in the article below by first explaining why the right CPU is so important to gaming. We will then look at both the AMD Ryzen and Intel CPUs in more detail, and explain how they both stack up in terms of a few rubrics we have created: compatibility, core count and gaming.

Why Is the AMD or Intel CPU so Crucial in Gaming?

The CPU is the beating heart of your computer system, especially when building a system specifically for gaming. And when it comes time to build this system, the only two CPUs you should ever consider are the ones created by the AMD and Intel companies, respectively.

Although very different, both the AMD Ryzen and the Intel CPUs are widely known to offer the best in gaming performance. For decades, Intel was the premium choice for a CPU. The reason for this was simple: because the CPU offered everything gamers look for, including better technology and overall performance, especially in the high-end. AMD was a minor player in the game at this time, mostly due to its affordable solutions, which primarily relied on a lot of power to at least somehow compete with Intel's solutions.

The CPU and gaming landscape changed drastically after AMD released its FX series of processors. This series, according to the manufacturer, was "offering a unique number of cores, a higher overclocking potential and a higher base clock speed." This leveled the playing field with Intel, which had dominated in the CPU market for years.

Today, the main competition in terms of CPUs is between the high-end AMD Ryzen and Intel's i7 model, the newest and best CPUs on the market today. These are the two CPUs we will compare below in terms of compatibility, core count and gaming..

Which CPU Offers the Best Compatibility: AMD Ryzen or Intel?

Which CPU Offers the Best Compatibility: AMD Ryzen or Intel?
Which CPU Offers the Best Compatibility: AMD Ryzen or Intel?

The compatibility of a CPU relies on two main factors with regard to the motherboard. These factors are the socket and the chipset. To be compatible with the motherboard, a CPU must be compatible with both the socket and the chipset. The socket is crucial because it connects the CPU to its other components via the motherboard. Once that connection is made the central processing unit will communicate to its other components via the chipset. With this being said, which CPU-the AMD Ryzen or the Intel processor-offers the best in compatibility and future-proofing? Let's take a look.

According to its website, the AMD Ryzen central processing unit utilizes the latest types of sockets and chipsets-sockets and chipsets that are specifically designed for those CPUs. On the flip side, the Intel processors use sockets known as LGA1151 sockets, which were first introduced about three years prior. Since that time, every new CPU generation has brought about the introduction of new chipsets, including those made by both AMD and Intel.

Because of this, the sockets and chipsets from AMD Ryzen are considered future-proof, while those made by Intel are not. When you purchase a new Intel central processing unit you will also require a newer version of the chipset. Thus, if you later want to upgrade your system and add the latest Intel CPU, you will also need to upgrade your motherboard for that CPU to be compatible.

Which CPU Offers the Best Core Count: AMD Ryzen or Intel?

In terms of physical cores, the AMD Ryzen central processing units have-and have always had-more physical cores than the Intel CPUs. Prior to AMD Ryzen's arrival to the marketplace, Intel was tops in this regard and was doing well when it came to hyper-threading, a process by which a single physical core was used to function as two logical cores known as threads.

Today, however, AMD Ryzen takes the prize in terms of core count. Their core count ranges from 4/8 to 8/16. It is this core count that gives the AMD chips a clear advantage in the mid-range to high-end systems. However, because the core count does not completely determine the performance of a CPU, it does not mean that the AMD CPUs are better, even if this core count does give them a certain edge in the market.

Which CPU Is Better for Gaming: AMD Ryzen or Intel?

When choosing between the AMD Ryzen and Intel processors for gaming you really can't go wrong with either choice. Both stand up very well in terms of performance, and both offer gamers the power and speed they need.

As far as the Intel processors go, including their newest Intel Core i7 processor, they all include what is known as "on-die integrated graphics." With that being said, these on-die integrated graphics are not as good performance-wise as the discrete, stand-alone graphic chips or add-in graphics cards that many gamers opt to go with when building these types of systems. The AMD Ryzen processors do not include integrated graphics. Instead, the AMD Company combines its processor cores with its Radeon-branded graphics cores in order to create a chip called an Accelerated Processing Unit, or APU.

AMD Ryzen's Accelerated Processing Unit tends to perform better than the on-die integrated graphics on the Intel processors. This is especially true when it comes to AMD's new Vega powered models. However, even this graphics solution does not compare with the discrete, stand-alone graphic chips or add-in graphics cards that many gamers choose.

Because the elite and very serious gamer usually prefers an add-in graphics solution or discrete GPU rather than integrated graphics, we would have to go with the Intel processors for gaming thanks to their performance. The AMD Ryzen processor tends to outshine them all in multi-threaded scenarios, however, and is terrific at running applications that can support multiple cores. Intel's chips work in a totally different way, and as such do not do very well in multi-threaded situations. Still, they really show their dominating performance when the thread situations are more restricted.

In the gaming landscape today, more and more games are becoming multi-threaded than in the past, but because they only tend to use between 2 and 4 threads, Intel's processors remain the better option for gaming, even when you consider the incredible optimizations that come with the AMD Ryzen central processing unit.

About Mike Jones

As a child of the 80's, my fondest gaming memories are playing Pitfall, Frogger, Kaboom! and Chopper Command on our old Atari 8600. These days I've been rocking the Nintendo Classic and learning some new card and board games with the family."

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