AMD or Intel: Which is the right desktop processor for you?


You're in the market for a new desktop processor, but you're not sure which is the best processor for you?

Read on!

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Before we go any further, I feel the need to point something out. There are a lot of processors out there, and the market is rapidly changing, so it's impossible for me to tell you the exact processor you need. All I can do is offer pointers and guidance based on your needs.

Let's break down the market into four segments:

Budget

This territory is a fight between AMD's Ryzen 3 and Intel's Core i3 chips.

Right now my recommendation goes to AMD and the Ryzen 3 chips the budget segment. You can pick up a Ryzen 3 1200 for $110. For that price you get quad-core/four threads, an unlocked multiplier for overclocking, and a fantastic cooler.

And if you don't feel the Ryzen 3 1200 offers enough power, then for an extra $20 you can have the Ryzen 3 1300X which has a faster clock speed and boost.

And on top of that all AMD Ryzen chips are VR-ready, which gives you some future proofing.

If you are on an ultra-low budget, then an Intel chip such as the Pentium G4400 or G4560 (which retail for around $55 and $79 respectively) are worth considering.

Mainstream

At this price point we're looking at AMD's Ryzen 5 squaring up against Intel's Core i5 silicon.

While the mainstream is currently dominated by Intel Core i5 chips, many of Intel's offerings in this bracket don't have hyperthreading, which means you get one thread per core, as opposed to AMD's Ryzen offering which all offer two threads per core (if you're confused by threads, just think "more threads = better").

This means that a chip such as the quad-core/eight-threads Ryzen 1500X priced a $189 a better choice than the similarly priced Intel Core i5-6400 which doesn't have hyperthreading.

At the higher-end of the mainstream market, again, AMD's six-core/12-thread Ryzen 5 1600X stands head and shoulders above anything that Intel has to offer in the same price range, although at $249 (cheaper if you shop around) it's at the very high end of mainstream.

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