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What is the difference between AMD and Intel processors?


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November 11, 2014 7:01PM

Here are some very simple things that are different between them:

  • INTEL processors: Intel was the first major brand for desktop CPUs, they survived a lot of competitors. The CPUs they manufacture are always a bit more expensive than AMDs. Because of their market shares, Intel was able to force some "gadgets" onto the market. Until 2002, all CPUs were classified by the speed (for example 2GHz - so 2000MHz). Intel lost some influence on the desktops CPU market because of AMDs techniques - they used not only pure speed but a more specific command kernel. By that the CPUs (i.E. AMD Athlon XP) were slower, but provided the same results as a faster Intel CPU (remember? AMD at 1.666GHz was the same as a INTEL on 1,8GHz). Intel provides most of the "normal" server CPUs today. Private users often choose AMDs for their machines to save costs. Intel supports the classification by the pure speed of a CPU no more. The introduced new numbers for the CPUs which represent the speed, the advanced features, the cache etc. for a certain CPU (and the best for them: you cannot compare them to AMD any longer as easily as it was before ...)
  • AMD: AMD concentrated on the PC and consumer market and cut the costs for their CPUs in order to be more competitive. Nowadays the AMD CPUs are hotter than Intel CPUs, therefore you will need a better cooling and your system will be a bit louder. AMD provides a dual core CPU for PCs longer than Intel and I guess they have more experience with these features.

For gaming systems it is more a question of taste and money than a real difference. Both platforms have their advantages:

  • You cannot do anything wrong, as long as you try to get a CPU with a big cache (1mb at least! - so NO CELERON or SEMPRON) and the rest is a question of RAM and the used video card.
  • Both chips are very similar, but due to marketing, they seem very very different from each other. The primary "marketing" difference is the way they claim their speeds.
  • The Intel chipsets (Pentium, celeron) use MHz as a speed factor. IE "This Pentium 4 chip runs at 3000 MHz" (IE a Pentium 4 3.0).
  • The AMD chipsets do not use a MegaHertz rating for speed because they believe doing so would make their chips seem slower than their Intel counterparts. This is due to the difference in instruction set handling that AMD uses, and is too technical to really get into here. Instead you may see an AthlonXP 1600, etc. Apply the following formula to determine the "Pentium" equivalent MHz speed. MHz = (XP rating/1.5) + (500/1.5) For example, with an Athlon 1600, the math would break down like this: MHz = (1600/1.5) + (500/1.5) MHz = (1066.66) + (333.33) MHz = 1399.99 Which would be equivalent to the last incarnation of the Pentium 3 (at 1400 MHz).
  • Because Intel has enjoyed longer commercial success than AMD, you can typically find comparable AMD chips for half the cost. This has to do with brand loyalty and advertising costs as well as the types of memory used in both chips. Intel uses more expensive RDR RAM while the AMD chips use DDR RAM. That said, the RDR RAM is faster (533 MHz versus the 333 MHz of the DDR RAM) and helps to soften the blow of the cost of the chips to the consumer.

Another user said:

  • The main difference between AMD and Intel processors are that AMD processors have a 10 step execution process which doesn't allow as fast of a clock but AMD's counter that by being able to do more operations per clock cycle. Intels on the other hand have a 20 step execution process which allows much higher clock speeds but they have fewer operations per clock. That's why a 2.08 Ghz AMD barton can perform at levels like a 2.8 GHz Pentium 4. Another difference between the processors are the sockets they use. AMD's generally use Socket A (462 pins) while Intel generally uses Socket 478 (478 pins). Other differences include supported chip sets, AMD motherboards generally use SIS, VIA, or N force chip sets while Intel motherboards use Intel, SIS, and most recently ATI chip sets. AMD is a favorite for over clockers because with minor modifications the FSB multiplier can be unlocked while Intel multipliers cannot be unlocked (Not to say that AMD is used exclusively by over clockers, because it is not, but this ability to be unlocked is a plus). Also as of now Intel processors have the largest L3 cache at 2mb while the largest for AMD is 1mb.

Intel processors have a more diverse library of CPUs than AMD, and have higher-end models too, they also have "hyperthreading" which theoretically doubles the amount of cores in your CPU.