Intel is the world’s most instantly known chip manufacturer, with its i9 desktop processors the latest in a long generation of chips installed in PC desktops and laptops from all different computer manufacturers. However, 2019 was a rocky year for Intel, with sales and revenues down, and competitor AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) becoming stronger overall in the market.
But what’s the scoop for gaming? If you’re trying to decide which chip to use in your new build, then what’s going to be the best option?
AMD: Reigning kings of the gaming market
The Ryzen line of AMD processors has been a gaming powerhouse of late, topping the charts of many gamers due to their specs and stability in game playing. But that doesn’t mean that Intel isn’t out of the market – exactly the opposite. The two go head to head when it comes to a better bet in the current gaming landscape. If you’re choosing between the two in 2020, there’s a lot to consider.
Intel: Diversity in chips and intent
Intel has a huge range of CPUs available for consumers, with i3, i5, i7, and i9 chips available across 8th, 9th, and 10th generations, the X-Core series (designed specifically for media/gaming creators), m-series (for lightweight activities), and more.
This diversification of chips makes it trickier for gamers to decide what’s the best CPU to choose for their system. You really need to drill down into benchmarking to see which is the better choice for the type of games you want to play.
For instance, if you’re talking about the desire to play free online games in the form of slots games based on HTML5, then you aren’t going to need a heavy-duty CPU to do so. However, if you’re planning on streaming yourself playing slots then it’s a whole different ball game, and you may want to purchase a ‘creator’ style CPU to handle the power you need to do streaming. If you want to play top of the line PC games, then you’ll need a top of the line gaming-optimized (and probably overclocked) chip to do that.
One of the key issues at play for gamers is the relative amount of security vulnerabilities that are targeting Intel chips. This is an issue, as when a vulnerability is identified, a BIOS update is required, which potentially impacts the performance of your PC.
For some, this is too annoying and with the impact on performance, it will be enough to make them swap to a different manufacturer in 2020.
In terms of performance, it really depends on what game you’re playing as to how well your CPU is going to perform. We see this time and again when we check out benchmarking tests.
For instance, Intel’s i9-10980XE (especially when overclocked) outperforms the Ryzen Threadripper 3960X PBO when comparing frames per second on Civilization VI, however, the reverse is true when playing Ashes of Singularity: Escalation. This is despite the Threadripper series being a far more powerful, CPU-heavy, multi-threaded beast.
In reality, AMD’s Threadripper series is really for creators, rather than gamers, so if you’re in the development space then that’s certainly something to look into – otherwise it’s likely overkill.
In terms of the best out there at the moment, you have an Intel i9-9900KS up against the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X. While sometimes the Ryzen beats out the i9, you’re better off purchasing the i9 for the price.
In the fourth quarter of 2019, Intel switched up its pricing strategy, dropping the costs of i9 chips dramatically to remain competitive in the market. This is great news for consumers, as we get a better deal on their products.
Will Intel reign in 2020?
With great pricing points, competitive specs, and an ongoing fight in the gaming market, Intel may be poised for a comeback of sorts against AMD. It’s best to look at both the Intel and AMD range of CPUs and benchmarks across games, see where you can get a good deal, consider overclocking, and don’t forget about the extra cost of your heat sink and fan. Holiday deals may be a great time to pick up something you really want at a great price. Both companies have an excellent product range, so it really comes down to personal preference.