Since you are reading this article, we are sure that you know the basics about a processor and its purpose in a computer. But as a short reminder — a processor is a circuitry which is responsible for performing control, logical, arithmetic and input-output operations in a computer as per the instructions passed on to it. It lies on the motherboard (Connected to the CPU socket) and is directly connected to Northbridge via FSB (Frontside Bus). Now, there are various components which work together to make your computer work but processor is the one which controls all of them.
What is the Difference Between Processors?
Before beginning to talk about Intel vs AMD we’d like to educate you a bit about processors and how do they actually work so you can understand what we would talk about later in this article. The power, performance or capability depends on a lot of factors other than its clock speed, number of cores, etc. Just like there is a lot more than megapixels in camera. And to understand that, you need to get the basics of processor’s work. Now we would not go too deep inside but this article will surely give you a basic idea about how processors work (With a certain level of abstraction).
Now, a microprocessor (That’s what we use now a days) have a set of functions it can perform which programmed in its control unit (It can be hardwired or microprogrammed) and all the functions have their own dedicated opcode. In each instruction cycle, a processor:
- Fetches the instruction and copies it into the instruction register
- Decodes it
- Fetches any operands from the memory (If required)
- And executes it
And this entire process is coordinated with the help of an internal clock. Modern processors can execute multiple instructions in a single clock tick. So when you overclock your processor, it increases the speed by which the processor execute instructions and if it is not able to handle the increased clock speed well, the data in the registers might get corrupt, ultimately affecting the system stability. The instructions which are regularly required are temporarily stored in Cache Memory for faster access. Having multiple cores allows a processor to execute multiple instructions simultaneously as each core acts as an individual processor. But having more cores and higher clock speeds does not always mean that a processor is better, the ability to execute instructions also depends upon the microarchitecture of the processor, cache size, etc. You should also know that different architectures execute different number of instructions per clock cycle so you cannot directly compare the clock speeds of two different processors.
What’s the Difference Between Intel and AMD?
Both of the companies are the top innovators in the processor industry and they often find themselves going up against each other on various fronts. Now, it is to be noted that each of these companies have their own perks and one cannot completely ignore any of them. Both of them offer various proprietary technologies in their processors such as:
Using Hyperthreading technology, Intel is able increase the multi-tasking efficiency of their processors (The ones which support Hyperthreading). What Hyperthreading basically does is – if there are 4 cores in a processor, they would appear to be 2x i.e. 8 to the operating system. At any point of time, there would be two threads allocated to a single core and in case there is any downtime in the first one, the core will switch to the second thread (You can consider it as some form of context switching) which will be already waiting. This does not increase the number of instructions executed per second but minimizes the delay caused due to downtimes. This form of context switching is much faster than what a computer normally does while multi-tasking. However, you would not notice much difference while doing light tasks such as web browsing, working on text editors, watching movies, etc. Hyperthreading shows a significant difference in case of demanding tasks such as video rendering, etc. where the processor is already running at its 100% capacity.
This is another technology that is supported by many Intel processors. Turbo Boost can be considered as a temporary overclocking mechanism that intelligently kicks in when you are performing demanding tasks, given that the processor is not operating at a temperature, current and power exceeding a certain threshold. The increase in clock speed varies depending upon the number of cores active. If there are fewer cores active, then the frequency of those cores can get a higher boost than a situation where all the cores are active.
This is AMD’s alternative to Intel’s Turbo Boost. It mainly does the same thing – Overclock the cores when there is a demand for more processing power. But there is one major difference i.e. — it can only overclock half the amount of cores in a processor. So, if a processor if having 8 cores then only 4 will be overclocked by Turbo Core.
When it comes to Integrated Graphics processor, AMD wins from Intel. So if you are not planning to get a dedicated graphics card then you might want to consider AMD. You can have a look at the following benchmark:
Performance per core of Intel processors is far better than AMD’s so if you wish to use software which doesn’t not make much use of multiple cores then you have better off with Intel. AMD tend to put more cores in their processors while Intel prefers to do with fewer but more powerful cores. So gaming performance of Intel processors is far better (If you have dedicated Graphics Card) as games are not really optimized to use many cores.
If you are going for bang for your buck, then AMD would certainly tempt you as their processors are cheaper than equivalent Intel counterparts. You can have a look at this:
Now, I believe that you would have an idea about processors (in general) and which company to go for according to your requirements. If you wish to buy a mid-range processor and want bang for your buck then I would recommend you to consider AMD but if you want a high end processor and will not require integrated graphics then Intel is your way to go as AMD does not have a chance up there. Another thing which is to be noted is that Intel processors are generally more efficient in terms of power consumption and provide much better performance per watt when compared to AMD processors. I hope this article helped you!