When you decide to build a PC for the first time, or the first time in a long time, you are embarking on an epic journey into the unknown. There are hundreds, even thousands, of different components to choose from, but the first and most important question you should ask yourself is a simple one: AMD or Intel?
One of these two companies, these two purveyors of finely-wafered silicon, will produce the beating heart of your new PC. Intel and AMD are just as different from one another as the products they produce, however, so let’s dig into the details to find out which one would be the best choice for your new PC.
Okay, which company is going to give you the best bang for your buck? Well, that depends on how you look at it. Just looking at price, AMD’s chips are generally cheaper than comparable Intel chips. The least expensive AMD Sempron, Athlon, and A-series dual-core processors start at about $30, while Intel’s Celeron G1820 dual-core processor starts at about $45.
You’ll find similar pricing as you climb the performance ladder, with Intel’s offerings almost always coming in a little higher than AMD’s — and providing a bit of extra power.
So what about the new Ryzen chips? That’s where things get interesting — the typical Intel-AMD dynamic flips around. At the top-end of the AMD spectrum, the new Ryzen 7 1800X stands out. It’s an eight-core behemoth clocked at 3.6 GHz, and even for $500, it’s among the least expensive eight-core processors on the market today. The Ryzen 7 1700 is even more affordable, at $329.
By comparison, Intel’s octa-cores typically retail for upwards of $1,000, but the direct competition to the Ryzen lineup is Intel’s 7th-generation Core i7 lineup. The Intel Core i7-7700K is a quad-core processor clocked at 4.2 GHz, with a retail price of around $350. Nonetheless, it keeps up with the Ryzen 7 1800X in most of our tests.
Looking at single-core performance, the i7-7700K scored 5482 on Geekbench while the Ryzen 7 1800X scored 4289. Multi-core performance is a slightly different story, with the Ryzen 7 1800X scoring 20,385, to the i7-7700K’s 17,782.
What does that mean for you? In short, it means AMD and Intel are relatively competitive for the first time in several years, which is great news for users. Both companies are producing processors that are within striking distance of one another on nearly every front — price, power, and performance.