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AMD vs. Intel: Who will win in 2022?

Buying a new PC or upgrading your PC’s core is an important decision: Should you go with an AMD or Intel CPU? Like MacOS versus Windows, AMD versus Intel is one of the hottest debates among PC enthusiasts, and now we’re in a head-to-head competition that’s bound to get even more intense.

Now that AMD has launched its Ryzen 7000 CPUs, it’s time to revisit the dynamics between AMD and Intel in 2022. Both companies have next-generation products, but neither has hit shelves yet, so there’s a lot more to this story that will unfold by the end of the year.

Desktop Processor

The Intel Core i9-12900KS box sitting in front of a gaming PC.
Jacob Roach/Digital Trends
In the past, AMD CPUs were only the best option in the budget and entry-level segments of the market, but around 2019. Now, Intel is actually offering slightly better value at a cheaper price overall on its 12th Gen Alder Lake CPUs. But that doesn’t mean Intel lost to AMD. In fact, its Core i9-12900KS is widely regarded as the fastest overall CPU you can buy. The most affordable AMD or Intel chips cost between $40 and $60 for a few cores and power-efficient clock speeds. The best mid-range CPUs cost between $200 and $350, while the top gaming CPUs are around $600. If you want to speed up intensive tasks like video editing and transcoding, you can spend anywhere from $600 to nearly $1,000.

A group shot of Ryzen 7000 CPUs.

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Intel and AMD have great processors for gaming and productivity tasks like video editing and transcoding. However, neither Intel nor AMD has a CPU that performs the best in both areas. Intel’s Core i9-12900KS is great for productivity and gaming, beating the Ryzen 9 5950X in both categories, but AMD’s gaming-focused Ryzen 7 5800X3D is much faster in gaming. However, you don’t need to buy the best CPU to get a great gaming or work CPU. At around $250-300, Intel’s Core i5-12600K is certainly a worthwhile CPU to buy. It’s fast for gaming and productivity, beating even AMD’s Ryzen 5 5600X, our previous favorite midranger. Intel also released a number of budget CPUs in the $100-$200 range, such as the Core i5-12400 and Core i3-12100. In fact, Intel could easily dominate this segment with its new 12th Gen CPUs, as AMD has been grossly neglecting the budget segment. AMD finally refreshed its budget offerings in April with CPUs like the Ryzen 5 4500 and Ryzen 5 5500, but those CPUs weren’t well received due to price and the use of older architectures. If you’re going to build a cheap system without a discrete graphics card, Intel is really your only option. AMD’s lineup of modern Ryzen 5000 APUs starts with the nearly $200 Ryzen 5 5600G. While Intel’s integrated graphics are generally slower than AMD’s, the Core i3-12100 with integrated graphics is cheap, fast enough, and pairs well with future midrange GPUs.

Looking ahead, AMD confirmed that its next-generation Ryzen 7000 CPUs will arrive on September 27. They bring features like DDR5, the new Zen 4 architecture, and a massive increase in clock speeds. AMD claims they’ll be the fastest CPUs on the market, but we’ll have to wait for third-party reviews to find out if that’s the case. Meanwhile, Intel is preparing a 13th Gen CPU based on Raptor Lake, which currently looks like a more powerful version of Alder Lake. Intel doesn’t talk much about architectural improvements, but it says Raptor Lake won’t be on a new process, meaning the new CPUs may not be as aggressive as the Ryzen 7000.

High-end desktop

Threadripper processor in a motherboard.

If you want to use your PC to do heavy video editing at high resolution, perform intensive video transcoding, or do anything else you can benefit from better than the best For more power-intensive tasks that a mainstream CPU can provide, then a high-end desktop or HEDT CPU, might be what you need. AMD and Intel have more options in this area, with higher core and thread counts. However, AMD’s option remains the most powerful and cost-effective. Intel’s HEDT line goes up to 18 cores and 36 threads with the 10980XE, but even if you can find it in stock, you’ll still be paying the $980 MSRP even though it’s nearly three years old . While the 10980XE is several generations old now, it’s still a powerful CPU, but it’s hard to recommend when you consider AMD’s alternatives. AMD’s 5950X mainstream CPU already offers credible competition to the 10980XE for under $800, so it offers better value for money. But if you want extra performance, the sky’s the limit. AMD’s 3rd Gen Threadripper CPUs offer 24, 32 or even 64 cores, supporting double concurrent threads while maintaining clock speeds around 4GHz. If your software can take advantage of all those extra cores, AMD’s Threadripper CPUs can deliver unmatched performance outside of extremely expensive server CPUs, easily outpacing Intel’s competitors. They also support a higher number of PCIExpress lanes — 64 compared to 44 for the Intel alternative — making them more suitable for larger storage arrays. Typically, you can buy the 3960X, 3970X, and 3990X for $1,400, $1,850, and $3,600, respectively. However, on retailers like Amazon and Newegg, they sell for hundreds or even thousands of dollars more than that. How about Threadripper 5000? Well, those never started as standalone CPUs. Instead, you’ll only find them in the Lenovo ThinkStation P620, and these are the Pro WX versions. Professional-grade hardware tends to cost significantly more than consumer-grade products. So if you want to build your own HEDT, your options are not good: affordable but ancient Intel CPUs on the one hand, and modern but extremely expensive AMD CPUs pre-built on the other.

Laptop Processor

An Acer Swift 3 16 laptop sits on a desk showing its backside, angled to the right.

The laptop market is another story. You’ll find that most laptops are based on multiple generations of Intel processors and integrated graphics. As Dell reps once pointed out, Intel’s portfolio is simply enormous compared to AMD, and its current lineup of laptops and the CPUs within them are better than ever. Intel’s laptop CPUs are powered by Alder Lake just like their desktop CPUs, and you should be able to find laptops with 12th Gen CPUs in just about every market segment. Alder Lake is available in four models: a low-power U model, a mid-power P model, and high-power H and HX models. Generally speaking, the more power, the faster the CPU, but there are some H and HX CPUs that have fewer cores than P CPUs, so performance isn’t just a matter of power. In general, you’ll find U- and P-type CPUs in lighter, thinner laptops, with an emphasis on good battery life, decent integrated graphics, and generally satisfactory performance. H and HX CPUs are mostly used in gaming laptops, and they’re usually paired with powerful AMD or Nvidia GPUs (and soon, Intel GPUs). AMD recently launched its Ryzen 6000 CPUs, and while they’re good, they’re limited to competing in the low- and mid-range. In our review of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 with Ryzen 6000, Techspot found that while the Ryzen 6000 can certainly keep pace with lower-power 12th-gen CPUs, it can’t keep up with more powerful CPUs like the Core i7-12700H. AMD is even worse when you consider that the 12700H isn’t even Intel’s fastest mobile CPU. AMD’s biggest problem is that its fastest laptop CPUs offer only 8 cores, while Intel’s fastest CPUs have 16. Ryzen mobile CPUs come in different flavors, just like Intel’s:

  • C — Low Power

U — Efficient performance HS — High Efficiency High Performance H/HX — Maximum performance AMD uses essentially the same naming scheme as Intel, allowing for choices in things like thin and light laptops and high-end gaming laptops. The current generation is Ryzen 6000, but you can also find Ryzen 5000 CPUs in laptops. They’re all based on the same architecture, so while the Ryzen 6000 offers performance improvements, they’re not huge. Both AMD and Intel offer solid performance for work and play, and there are more factors to consider when buying a laptop than a CPU, so reviewing individual model reviews is a must. That’s especially important in 2022 as Intel tries to reassert its traditional position in the market against AMD, which is vying for more market share.

Which one is best for you?

For everyday web browsing, watching Netflix and answering emails, Intel and AMD CPUs will give you great performance out of the box. However, in some tasks, one firm’s choice performed better than the other firm’s choice. If you want to use your processor for intensive multi-threaded tasks like video editing or transcoding, or heavy multitasking activities with dozens of browser tabs open, Intel is the best choice, especially for laptop. On the desktop, AMD isn’t far behind.

If you are working and

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