It’s the age old struggle of red vs blue, in recent history there has been no bigger rivalry within the IT market than that of Intel and AMD.

We live in interesting times, where you would be forgiven for thinking that Intel has gone back in time and decided to start making the 8086 again, whilst AMD now sells Opterons into mainstream systems for £150 each.

There is always a little truth behind the hype and fiercely fought forums and comment sections, the question is how much of it is true? Well, the aftermath of the 2nd Gen Ryzen Launch makes it more obvious than ever that AMD really does show that Intel have to put the pedal to the metal to keep up. For some this is a non-event, they are a diehard Intel fan, others are seeing this as AMD’s second coming.

Until recently Intel has kept the mainstream line of CPUs largely familiar with the i3/i5/i7 monikers which AMD has unashamedly ripped off with Ryzen 3/5/7. However the key difference now is not within the naming but with what those names now represent.

The Intel range now enters its 8th Generation and with that the Core i3 has been to the gym and stacked on two extra cores, pumping this rather measly dual core into a full fat quad core, now a serious consideration for entry level gaming. This is confusing, as Core i5 was the title usually reserved for quad cores, no matter as all of the Core i5’s have been on the protein shakes too and moved up to six core status.

Logic would now dictate that the Core i7 has followed suit and jumped to eight cores, wrong. The Core i7 instead double the hyper thread count to give it a total of six cores and twelve threads. Not as impressive as the Core i3 & i5’s gains for sure.

This is all great stuff however, anyone can read the Intel ARK website. So why am I talking about all of this? In enters AMD, back in 2017 when 1st Gen Ryzen erupted onto the scene Intel were caught with their trousers down, which is why you are seeing the Intel 8th Generation come out guns blazing.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one confused as to why Intel has had three separate generations of CPU on the same socket with three separate chipsets, I mean, why even keep the same socket type? At least the cooling vendors can benefit here! My view is that Intel were nice and comfortable having 99.9% (probably not a true figure) of the mainstream CPU market and really felt under no pressure to move things on.

Again we have to take our hats off to AMD for forcing change. However, let’s not discredit Intel entirely here, as any 8th Gen Intel CPU will beat down an equivalent Ryzen every single day with single Core performance in gaming, which for most is all that matters.  You now can have a little slice of nostalgia with the Intel Core i7 8086K, a hark back to simpler times. Yet in the present, this CPU has a 5Gz boost clock, which is before you absolutely smoke it with a questionable overclock profile, and that speed is something the average Ryzen owner will struggle to comprehend.

Speaking of Ryzen, Gen 2 confirms that once again, with faster clocks, smaller lithography, cheaper MSRPs (VS Gen 1) and backward chipset compatibility (I can hear the echo in Intel’s HQ here), AMD is really putting their foot down.

Now you could say that Ryzen has cheaper boards (true) no silly “locked” CPUs (also true) and offers more “overall” performance outside of gaming (true depending on application). Which is why it makes it the only CPU choice right now, but I would still disagree.

The absolute biggest thing in the whole picture is not which CPU has better FPS in Minecraft or how much faster I can lose a game of PUBG (quickly). It is 100% about the fact that AMD actually decided to wear the trousers and got Intel to make them a sandwich. AMD might not like what Intel are cooking up next, but damn it’s exciting to watch.

Nathan Proudfoot – Business Manager at Zoostorm & Stormforce