The best processors from AMD and Intel in comparison

The market for processors is highly competitive. We compared the current models from AMD and Intel and selected the three best CPUs for each purpose.

Coffee Lake, Coffee Lake Refresh, Cascade Lake-X, Ice Lake Ryzen, Threadripper: the market for processors is becoming increasingly confusing. With the start of the Ryzen processors, AMD has shaken up the tech world and forced Intel to launch new models on the market within a very short time.

The Ryzen processors, which have finally created competition between Intel and AMD with many computing cores and affordable prices, were answered by Intel with the Coffee Lake processors, which distinguish themselves through their excellent gaming performance. But which processor is right for me, and what are the differences between AMD and Intel? The great TECHNOLOGY BUTTON advisor explains.

AMD or Intel?

There are a few fundamental differences between AMD and Intel processors that you should consider when purchasing:

  • In a direct comparison, AMD’s processors have more computing cores and thus also higher performance for tasks that are optimized for more cores, such as video editing. Intel’s processors have higher clock frequencies for this, which has a positive effect on the performance in PC games.
  • Intel processors support some technologies such as Apple’s Thunderbolt 3 interface, for which AMD does not yet have licenses.
  • All Ryzen processors from AMD have unlocked multipliers and can therefore be easily overclocked. Overclocking means: The processor is operated with a higher clock frequency than specified by the manufacturer in order to achieve higher performance. However, laypeople should be careful here: the processor can get hot quickly! If you don’t have adequate cooling on your computer, you should stay away from overclocking. With Intel processors, when overclocking you have to be careful to buy a model with the suffix “K”, as only these have unlocked multipliers.

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Which processor is right for me?

To begin with, here is a brief summary of which CPU from which manufacturer is the best choice in which price segment:

The best processors 2021
Price for a complete system AMD Intel
> 4000 euros Ryzen Euro Core Euro
> 2000 euros Ryzen Euro Core Euro
1500 Euro Ryzen Euro Core Euro
1000 Euro Ryzen Euro Core Euro
700 euro Ryzen Euro Core Euro
500 euro Ryzen Euro Core Euro
300 Euro Ryzen Euro Core Euro
Prices from 01/15/2021


CPU comparison 2020Q1

For those who are still unsure which CPU is actually the best, we looked for the three best processors in the categories “Gaming”, “Price-Performance” and “Budget”. To do this, we compared the recommendations of the tech portals AnandTech , Tom’s Hardware and Techradar as well as the tech YouTuber Gamers Nexus and Hardware Unboxed and came to this conclusion:

Best high-performance CPU: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X

Best all-round CPU: Intel Core i9-10900K

Best gaming CPU: Intel Core i7-10700K

CPU with the best price-performance ratio: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

Best entry-level CPU with graphics: AMD Ryzen 3 3200G

Best entry-level CPU without graphics: Intel Core i3-9100F

Best budget CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 1200

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X

 Who needs that? Film studios, game developers, YouTubers, and architecture firms that need a lot of power to edit and convert videos and create 3D graphics can do their jobs much faster with such powerful processors. AMD also offers other Threadripper processors that have up to 64 cores, but are also considerably more expensive. The price of the 3960X has already dropped 100 euros since it was released at the beginning of December 2019 and thus offers the best price-performance ratio among high-performance processors. Those who need the absolute highest performance are served with the Threadripper 3990X, which with its 64 cores, however, brings it to a proud 3900 euros.

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The Intel competition lags behind AMD when it comes to the number of cores. The strongest model is the Core i9-10980XE with 18 cores and 36 threads, which is cheaper than the 3960X at 980 euros, but does not even come close to its performance. After all, Intel now offers its high-end processors for significantly less money. The predecessor i9-9980XE came onto the market with an RRP of almost 2000 euros.

Intel Core i9-10900K

The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X should actually be at this point. The latest generation of Ryzen processors is a perfect example of how AMD has now outstripped Intel. In terms of single-core performance, AMD has now caught up, which the comparison with the Intel Core i9-10900K shows. This has a particularly positive effect on gaming performance. In addition, the Ryzen 9 5900X offers significantly higher multi-core performance more than makes up for it. It’s no wonder, after all, the Intel processor “only” has 10 cores, while AMD’s lineup has 12 cores.

The Ryzen 9 5900X thus represents the ideal interface between productivity and gaming performance. In our opinion, it is currently the best all-round CPU – not only for streamers, but also for professional users who like to gamble in their free time – if it weren’t for the price. Because the processor is currently sold completely overpriced. Instead of € 549 RRP, retailers sometimes charge more than € 800. For this reason we cannot currently recommend the CPU. Buyers should use the significantly cheaper Intel counterpart i9-10900K instead.

Intel Core i7-10700K

The CPU is essential for anyone who wants to play games absolutely smoothly and wants to tickle the last bit of performance out of their PC with overclocking. But the i7-9700 (without “K”) is not a bad alternative either. It doesn’t have the overclocking potential of its big brother, but it is 50 euros cheaper and still offers buttery smooth performance in all imaginable PC games.

As far as gaming performance is concerned, AMD now has hardware of equal size, especially the Ryzen 7 3700X comes dangerously close to Intel. The two gaming CPUs are only separated by a few percentage points in the single-digit range. And while the number of threads is limited to 8 on the Intel model, the AMD CPU has 16 threads. This means that the chip achieves around 30 percent more multi-core performance. Especially when it comes to rapidly developing technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR), the Ryzen 7 3700X is an excellent safeguard for the future.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

The Ryzen 5 3600X can do a lot more: With 6 cores and 12 threads, it represents a solid basis for entry into the world of professional work. Those who want to spend a little less can also go to the Ryzen 5 3600 or the still solid predecessor Ryzen 5 2600X, which are also good value for money.

With the i5-9600K, Intel has a good alternative that is a bit more expensive. With its 6 cores, it delivers roughly equivalent gaming performance, but does not come close to the work performance of the Ryzen 5 3600X. If you can do without the integrated Intel UHD graphics, you might be interested in the i5-9600KF, which is completely identical, but does not have its own processor graphics. At just under 200 euros, the i5-9600KF is even a bit cheaper than the Ryzen 5 3600X.

Intel Core i3-9100F

But since even the Core i3 series is now equipped with 4 cores, even beginners benefit from the higher performance in games and productivity. Thanks to the improvements of the 9th generation Intel Core, the i3-9100F can even compete with the older i5-8400, which is still sold for significantly more money today. The only restriction with the i3-9100F: The CPU has no integrated graphics unit.

If you absolutely need a processor with integrated graphics, you will find it at AMD. Team Red also has attractive offers in the price bracket under 100 euros. The Ryzen 3 3200G, which replaces the older Ryzen 3 1200 and delivers significantly more performance thanks to its higher clock frequencies, is most likely to come into question. The processor also has 4 cores, but cannot quite compete with the i3-9100F.

AMD Ryzen 3 1200

Although it is no longer the youngest, its price has fallen over 25 percent since its introduction. The processor has 4 cores, the performance is sufficient for an entry-level PC with gaming ambitions. Even an Nvidia Geforce GTX 1660 Ti or even an RTX 2060 are not slowed down by the processor, although a GTX 1650 is the best choice given the budget.

Intel no longer has a comparable product in its portfolio. Only the Pentium Gold G5400 is in the same price segment and comes close to AMD’s CPU by a few percentage points. The fact that it only has 2 cores is at least overridden by the fact that the processor supports Hyper-Threading technology and thus has just as many threads as the Ryzen 3 1200.

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