Why do people think Ryzen processors are better when Intel is obviously better for gaming and almost the same for multitasking? Because they are !
I’m neither an AMD or an Intel fanboy. I simply purchase what to me (at that particular point in time) is the best value proposition in terms of overall performance.
In the late 80s and 90s, I bought predominantly Intel, with the odd K5 and K6 from AMD and even a Cyrix 6×86. These were predominantly for gaming and coding so the choice was simple and based on availability. Intel was more ubiquitous.
Mid to late 90s and early 2000’s, I switched to AMD. They were excellent for gaming, had really good IPC and were competitively priced over Intel. I held on to my Athlon XP2700+ for a good number of years. This was my goto rig for gaming but I also had a relatively cheap Via C3 Samuel 2 processor for general coding and a main-non gaming machine based on an Pentium 4-520.
Late 2000s and I was focused more on development as well as gaming. I wanted the iMac 27 with it’s Core i7 first gen but couldn’t justify the price. I ended up with a Phenom II X-6 1090T and dual 6850s in crossfire. It gave me about 70% of the performance of the Intel based machine for a whole lot less. At this point, AMD was falling behind Intel big time. Their succeeding FX series gave not much to be desired in terms of performance against Intel. From here on forwards, Intel stamped its name as not only a productivity processor but also the ONLY processor when it comes to gaming. When games were predominantly relying on 1 or 2 cores then every bit of IPC advantage counts. This was harnessed further by a strong GPU that wasn’t held back by the processor.
From 2010 onwards, my computing needs increased and I was buying only Intel because it was far superior than anything else at that time. My first mini-workstation in 2014 had to be Intel. So I build a Xeon E3–1231V3 machine which was essentially an i7–4770/4771. It was fast enough for what I needed it to be and it was also portable enough to carry anywhere I needed to.
The following year (2015) I went all out an built a Dual Xeon E5–2670–0 desktop. Each processor was worth US$1500. The motherboard was another $1500+, 64GB of DDR3 memory wasn’t cheap either. Add two K40 Keplers and reduntant storage and you can quickly see that this machine was well beyond $25K. Not a gaming machine by any measure – but a pure render/3D/CAD/scientific number crunching machine. Each E5–2670–0 had 8 cores and 16 threads so the dual processors provided me with a total of 16 cores and 32 threads – almost unheard of in a home personal computer during those days.
Fast forward another 5 years to 2020. I built a Ryzen machine using a 3950X, a Titan Card, 64GB of memory, 2x2TB ultra fast NVMe storage, 8TB WD Gold Enterprise grade hard drive in a MINI-ITX format. This machine was not bigger than a lunchbox. I now have a really portable 16C/32T machine that should “rival” the older Intel Xeon.
Rival? This below is the passmark/cpu score comparison between the E5 and the R9:
In a perfectly SCALED world, two Xeon E5–2670–0 would score 18,440 while consuming about 230Watts of power (cpu only). A single R9–3950X scores more than double at 39321 while consuming only 105Watts of power. In real world, this translates to a 60–75% reduction times in what I do (pure cpu processes only). This new machine cost me around $5000 or a substantial fraction of what I spent on my high end Intel rig just 5 years ago.
Maybe from an entirely gaming perspective, an Intel machine today running a i9–9xxxK or an i9–10xxxK would beat a Ryzen by a minimal margin but at what cost? Building a $3000–4000 “toy” for gaming just doesn’t cut it for me. I would rather spend $7-10,000 on a more flexible setup. A jack of all trades computer so to speak. If you truly think that multitasking for an Intel processor is comparatively the same (and even better) vs a Ryzen 9 now, then you are not using your computer to the fullest. When you have 32 cores and your GPU running at full bore with computational scientific tasks without breaking a sweat you will appreciate the strides that AMD has done these last few years.
Now this is JUST Ryzen. It’s a mainstream processor line. The R9 can be considered an Enthusiast chip. It’s not even HEDT (but can easily play with the big boys). Not everybody games. Not everybody has the same requirements for computing and not all Intel builds will be better than Ryzen.
Besides, if I was just a gamer, I would buy a cheap 3300/3600/X which has been shown to not even bottleneck a 2080Ti.
If we go a step further and go far beyond HEDT and workstations, AMD is still winning not only in performance but also in price. You could get a TR3990X that performs twice as fast as a Xeon W3275M for half the price.
Am I saying that Intel is bad? No. Absolutely not. They are simply not as competitive now as they were before, both in price and performance. I would definitely not mind paying $7K for a processor if it performs twice as fast as a $3500 processor. A computer is a tool and just like anything else, you would want the best tool at the best price. These tools also have a limited working lifespan. Changes in software and architecture could easily sway the balance back to the blue side away from red.
Would I buy Intel again? Absolutely. Will I buy one now? No. Why? Because I want the best tool I can get for my money. Intel has more money spent on research alone than what the entire AMD (as a company) is worth. I am pretty sure they will rebound and come up with something new, improved and a clear performer, but until that glory day returns, Ryzen is my goto for now.