Intel Core vs AMD Ryzen CPUs (Benchmarks & Comparison)

Intel Core vs AMD Ryzen CPUs (Benchmarks & Comparison)

CG Director Author Alex  by Jerry   ⋮   ⋮   10 comments
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With the launch of Ryzen 3000 CPUs (3900X, 3800X, 3700X, 3600X, and 3600), AMD has closed the gap with Intel’s most premium offerings.

In fact, some of AMD’s CPUs seem to flat out beat their direct competition in every task imaginable.

I felt it was prudent to take a look at both the products these companies offer today and assess which is the best choice for a PC build this year.

Let’s answer the hotly debated question – Intel or Ryzen Processors in 2019?

Intel vs Ryzen: Recommendations for 2019

For those who want a quick recommendation, I got you. Here you go:

Category/TaskNo-Compromise PerformanceCG Director
Best Value
Budget Recommendation
Video EditingIntel Core i9 9980XEAMD Ryzen 9 3900XAMD Ryzen 7 2700X
Encryption/DecryptionAMD Ryzen 9 3900XAMD Ryzen 7 3700XAMD Ryzen 7 2700X
Viewport PerformanceIntel Core i9 9900KAMD Ryzen 9 3900XAMD Ryzen 5 3600
(CPU) RenderingAMD Threadripper 2990WXAMD Ryzen 9 3900XAMD Ryzen 5 3400G
General ProductivityAMD Ryzen 9 3900XAMD Ryzen 7 3700XAMD Ryzen 5 2600X

A Quick History Recap: AMD vs Intel

If you’re curious about how we came to these conclusions, read on!

AMD and Intel have been at loggerheads for nearly half a century now; the rivalry certainly isn’t new, and it isn’t going anywhere any time soon either.

While Intel maintained a tight grip on the CPU market for the past decade, AMD lagged behind it until the release of Ryzen in 2017.

The vast performance differential and better efficiency of Intel processors over their AMD counterparts made them an obvious choice for any use-case.

Whether you were building a gaming PC, workstation PC, or even an office PC, the best choice was undoubtedly Intel.

Intel IPC advantage and AMD Bulldozer

The performance differential stemmed from the radically different architecture approaches that these companies adopted in CPUs released around 2010-2011.

Intel opted to focus on IPC improvements; AMD focused on parallelism. One approach equipped processors with fewer, but extremely powerful cores and the other equipped CPUs with more, albeit far weaker, cores.

What is IPC?

IPC (Instructions Per Cycle/Clock) is the number of instructions that a processor executes in a single clock cycle. What does this mean?

Well, here’s an easy way to understand this.

We’ve had processors touching 3 GHz for over a decade now. However, if we directly compare the performance difference between a modern processor at the same clock as an older processor, we find that the modern processor is much faster.

How? IPC.

In a single clock cycle, the newer processors can execute more instructions compared to the instructions executed by an older processor in a single cycle.

Since it improves efficiency by a considerable margin, an IPC uplift is considered the best kind of improvement we can get when it comes to processors.

Bulldozer: Plagued by Low IPC

AMD’s Bulldozer CPU lineup (FX series) launched in 2011 and was a ground-up re-design. The problem? It was a fiasco.

The newly-launched products were, in some cases, even slower than the older counterparts that they were set to replace!

cb_11_5_singleThread

Source: AnandTech Vishera Review

Although Bulldozer (FX 4000 series) launched a few months later, it just couldn’t compete with Intel’s amazing Sandy Bridge processors.

Intel seized this opportunity and captured the market.

The next few years saw a similar story unfold, with both companies continuing to make incremental improvements to their processors.

ps_cs4_benchmark

Source: AnandTech

The result – Intel was crowned king of both single-threaded as well as multi-threaded workloads.

x264_benchmark

Source: AnandTech

Intel’s lead was bound to come to an end sooner or later. The engineering brilliance it showcased in 2011 helped Intel maintain a substantial lead over AMD for close to a decade.

A remarkable feat.

1st Generation Ryzen vs 7th Generation Intel

When AMD first announced Ryzen, people were skeptical. Even I was, to be completely honest.

After all, we’d been promised the moon by AMD before and got, well, Bulldozer instead – an 8-core disaster that couldn’t go toe-to-toe with a 4-core CPU from Intel even in heavily multi-threaded workloads.

Throw in operating temperatures that spawned a whole generation of ‘heater’ memes, and well, you get the picture.

However, Ryzen’s release took even the most vocal AMD fans by surprise. It offered a whopping 52% improvement in IPC compared to the Bulldozer core – positioning it pretty dang close to the 7th Generation Intel processors.

Of course, this uplift was more a testament to how far behind Bulldozer was more than anything else.

But still, AMD finally caught up.

Here’s a benchmark for Premiere Pro’s Warp Stabilize – a popular effect used to reduce shake/jitter in video footage.

warp Stabilize Benchmark

Source: PugetSystems

The Zen microarchitecture used core-complexes connected by the Infinity Fabric, making it easier, and cheaper, to offer more cores without increasing latency too much or giving up performance.

Hence, AMD’s 8-core, 16-thread offering was priced around the same as a 4-core, 8-thread part from Intel.

Unlike Bulldozer, Ryzen offered excellent clock speeds as well as stellar IPC. When this was combined with higher core counts, AMD Ryzen took the multi-threaded workload crown with ease.

AMD’s 8-core powerhouse was pitted against a 4-core offering from Intel because of AMD’s aggressive pricing. The results were hardly surprising at that point.

However, Intel had refined their architecture and clock speeds for years, and still maintained a lead in both clock speed and IPC – ensuring that it remained the best choice for single-threaded workloads.

Moreover, being a market leader for close to a decade does come with certain advantages. Applications were optimized to run on Intel processors, and some benchmarks confirmed this disparity.

For Gaming and Viewport performance and even a few production workloads, Intel remained the better choice due to snappier single-core performance.

Ryzen vs Intel in 2019

Everything changed with the launch of processors based on the Zen 2 microarchitecture – the Ryzen 3000-series of processors.

AMD knew precisely where they were lagging. A concerted effort at improving IPC has brought its newest range of processors on par with Intel’s 9th Generation CPUs.

In fact, if not for Intel’s clock speed advantage, this wouldn’t even have been a contest.

Benchmarks: Intel vs Ryzen

We build PCs for all sorts of purposes. So, I’ve compiled a range of benchmarks that should help most people make an informed choice.

I’ll cover video editing, encryption/decryption, rendering, and much more in the charts below – followed by CPU recommendations for those tasks.

Ryzen vs Intel: Cinebench Scores

Although the 12-core Ryzen processor, the 3900X, was bound to beat Intel’s 8-core 9900K in multi-core performance, I don’t think many expected it to beat Intel in single-core performance as well.

Of course, if you overclock, the results swing back in Intel’s favor.

But for our workloads, we’re focused on stability over all else and don’t recommend overclocking to such levels.

cinebench R20 score list

You can find the full table here.

Ryzen vs Intel for Video Editing and Encoding

In these tests, 3rd Gen Ryzen is impressive, especially at its price point. The 12-core, 24-thread processor, seems like a preview to the 16-core monster that is due for release in September.

With just 12 threads, it comes uncomfortably close to Intel’s much pricier 18-core 9980XE.

If you consider price and platform costs, the Ryzen 3000-series has Intel beat in video production workloads from a value perspective.

premiere Pro CC Benchmark

Source: TechGage

magix Vegas Benchmark

Source: TechGage

HandBrake Benchmarks

Source: TechGage

Video Editing Recommendations

No-Compromise: Intel Core i9 9980XE + Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti/Titan Xp

Best Value: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X + Nvidia RTX 2070 Super

Budget Recommendation: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X + Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti

When it comes to Premiere Pro and other video encoding tasks, Intel still has a lead.

However, seeing the 12-core 3900X come so close to an 18-core Intel processor is a sign of good things to come. I fully expect the soon-releasing 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X to take the top spot in these tests.

Nonetheless, until then – the very best CPU you can get is still an Intel Core i9 9980XE.

Ryzen vs Intel for Encryption/Decryption (VeraCrypt)

When it comes to encryption/decryption tasks, the Ryzen 9 3900X seems to be blowing away the competition.

VeraCrypt benchmark

Source: Tom’s Hardware

Encryption/Decryption Recommendations

No-Compromise Recommendation: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

Best Value Recommendation: Ryzen 7 3700X

Budget Recommendation: Ryzen 7 2700X

Ryzen is the only choice that makes sense for a workstation build that will primarily handle AES encryption/decryption.

For these tasks, even 1st and 2nd Generation Ryzen processors offer incredible value.

Intel vs Ryzen in Viewport Performance / Active Work Speed

We’ve seen viewport performance swinging the way of Intel these past few years, even outperforming Ryzen 1st and 2nd Generation processors.

Viewports generally rely on clock speed and IPC, so, this was expected. You’ll get a snappier experience with processors that have better single-core performance.

cinema 4d viewport benchmark

However, things are looking much better for AMD with this release. The 3rd Generation Ryzen processors now offer a very similar viewport performance to Intel’s top-end parts.

A Ryzen 9 3900X on stock with PBO (Precision Boost Overdrive) enabled should perform better than a stock Ryzen 7 3800X (theoretically).

I, unfortunately, don’t have access to a Ryzen 9 3900X processor yet, so I can’t say for sure whether it will match the 9900K or exactly how close it’ll get.

For now, all I can do is extrapolate from the Ryzen 7 3800X result with PBO enabled.

You can find the complete list of Viewport benchmarks here.

Viewport Performance Recommendations

No-Compromise Recommendation: Intel Core i9 9900K

Best Value Recommendation: Ryzen 9 3900X

Budget Recommendation: Ryzen 5 3600

Even if the lead is slim, I still got to hand the crown to Intel for viewport performance.

However, I don’t recommend grabbing a 9900K to get a negligible boost in viewport performance.

The Ryzen 9 3900X offers four additional physical cores at the same price – a much better option when looking at it from a common-sense standpoint.

Ryzen vs Intel for CPU & GPU Rendering

For CPU-focused renders using V-ray, the Ryzen 9 3900X seems to be the best option at the moment. If you’re in the market for a workstation that needs CPU rendering performance (corona, V-ray, and so on), grab a Ryzen 9 3900X.

You can jump to a Ryzen 9 3950X if/when you need without a platform change as well.

vray benchmark

Source: TechReport

Although CPU-only rendering tests are meaningless for some render engines like Blender’s Cycles, which can render in GPU+CPU hybrid mode, the following benchmark does throw some light on the CPU’s contribution this kind of process.

blender hybrid benchmark

Source: TechGage

Even a mid-range GPU has a profound effect on performance as the Blender Classroom CPU+GPU render chart shows.

Rendering Performance Recommendations

No-Compromise Performance Recommendation: 32-Core Threadripper 2990WX + RTX 2080Ti

Value Recommendation: 12-Core Ryzen 9 3900X + RTX 2060 SUPER

Budget Recommendation: Ryzen 5 3400G + RTX 2060 SUPER

AMD offers the best when it comes to CPU rendering performance. I see absolutely no reason to go with any Intel offering for any kind of CPU render-focused workstation like a render node.

If you’re itching for a Threadripper build, I recommend waiting. The next generation (3rd) is bound to be much faster and should be releasing sometime this year.

General Productivity (Compression, Decompression, PC Mark, Excel)

Although most CPUs can handle most general productivity workloads, some might need a more robust systems for more complex work.

Frequently compressing/decompressing large files, dealing with complex Excel sheets, and so on.

Here are a few benchmarks focusing on some popular tasks to help make your choice easier.

7zip compression benchmark

Source: TechReport

microsoft excel benchmarks

Source: Tom’s Hardware

General Productivity Recommendations

No-Compromise Recommendation: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

Best Value Recommendation: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X

Budget Recommendation: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X

Again, Ryzen dominates the stack. For any sort of productivity workload, you can safely go with AMD in 2019. You aren’t compromising on performance at all.

Didn’t find a benchmark you need? Leave me a comment below, and I’ll see what I can do!

Ryzen vs Intel: Price and Platforms

When building a workstation, it’s essential to factor in price, platform support, and upgradability.

Upgradability of Ryzen vs Intel: Is Ryzen More ‘Future Proof’?

Short answer – yes.

Any PC built on the AM4 platform offers much more upgradability compared to Intel’s LGA 1151 platform.

Intel has picked up a bad habit of forcing motherboard upgrades even with iterative processor improvements each generation. Even with competition from AMD, they don’t show any signs of supporting their sockets past 1-2 years.

If you’re building a workstation today that you want to upgrade over the next few years, I wouldn’t feel okay recommending an Intel build. If you want to build a no-compromise machine for, say, Adobe Premiere Pro workloads though – then yes, an Intel-based system might be the way to go, even if it isn’t as future-proof as the competition.

Only you can make that decision.

However, those looking for excellent performance at an incredible price, in addition to staying future-proof, will find that the Ryzen 3000 series processors currently are the best choice.

What Should You Buy in 2019? Intel or Ryzen

Unless you’re working with Adobe Premiere Pro, Ryzen is the clear winner for a workstation PC in 2019.

Even with Adobe Premiere Pro, I expect Ryzen to close the gap with the Ryzen 9 3950X – due for release next month (September 2019).  Of course, Intel might still be better for some niche use-cases.

Please do consult benchmark charts pertinent to your workloads before reaching a decision.

AMD is in the lead for most workstation tasks and has caught up in areas where it was lagging earlier.

What’s more, if you build a PC on the AM4 platform, you could upgrade to the 16-core Ryzen processor releasing soon and also, to the Zen 3 CPUs that’ll release sometime next year (2020), without changing your motherboard!

 

So, what PC are you building? Leave a comment below if you need help with your build!

Also, if you’re looking for some specific benchmarks, do let me know.

Jerry from CGDirector - post author

Hi, I'm Jerry - a Freelance Technical Content Writer and Strategist.
I've been building PCs for the past 15 years, and I'm not stopping anytime soon.
Feel free to comment and ask for my inputs on your PC builds; I'll do my best to help out!

10
Comments

Alan

This is what i needed, Thanks a lot Jerry, most of my friend still believe that Intel is King. Anyway what do you think about the mobile cpu Ryzen and Intel version for notebook ? I am confused between Ryzen 5 3550h or i5 9300h.

Mostly i’ll use it for adobe software, like painting, animate etc. The Ryzen 5 3550h came with Rx560x and 512nvme. Meanwhile i5 9300h came with 1050ti Max-q and 256nvme.

In my experience with ryzen (Ryzen 5 2500u), im having lag issues in photoshop whenever im using dedicate gpu which is Nvidia 1050. So i use integrated (Radeon Vega 8) instead, and the lag disappear. Temperature is safe tho, never reached 90 celcius on overloaded

Do you think it’s because the cpu not optimized enough for Nvidia 1050 ? I am afraid if go with i5 9300h which is warmer than ryzen, it’ll throttle. As reviewed in here, https://www.notebookcheck.net/MSI-GF63-8RC-i5-8300H-GTX-1050-Laptop-Review.340606.0.html

the stress test caused i5 8300h dropped from 3,6 to 2,1 ghz. Tl-DR should i go with ryzen 5 3550h or i5 9300h ?

minki

hi looking to build a gaming rig…mainly play bf5 and cod mw …so thinking of going the ryzen 7 3700x route…worth it?

https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/user/minkimoo/saved/#view=shTcqs

Rasmus

Looking to build a Adobe, C4D+ Octane PC in this month (Sept- Oct). My idea was 9900K, RTX 2080 super (since most places sont offer regular 2080 anymore in UK), 32 GB 3000mhz RAM, 850 w supply to ads another GPU in future. Any thoughts?

Peter

Hi Jerry,

I am building a computer for the first time ever, did my best to research every single part, but still some things aren’t clear to me.
So the main focus of this build is going to be 3d modelling/rendering, having a fast viewport etc. Will be using software like substance painter/designer, blender, zbrush. Aiming to do most of my rendering on the gpu. Would be nice to be able to play a game sometimes as well. My budget is around 6k euros, and I think I am pretty happy with the build.
But I have no idea if all of the parts are compatible with each other.

https://pcpartpicker.com/user/falconreach/saved/#view=yMc7TW

If you could check the build out, maybe offer some suggestions, I would be grateful.
Some of the questions I have currently:

1. This pc case has 2 usb ports in the front if I’m correct, how do they connect to the motherboard?

2. The GPU card is 304.7 mm lenght. The case specifications say:

Maximum Video Card Length
287 mm / 11.299″ With Drive Cages
449 mm / 17.677″ Without Drive Cages

What eaxctly is a drive cage? Is it a hard drive cage? If so, will I have a spot to install my 3.5 inch HDD somewhere at all if I remove the ones that interfere with the GPU space?

3. “SLI” – how does it work. I think there’s supposed to be a SLI cable that connects the GPUs? If so, will i need to buy the “SLI” connector cable separately or will it be included with the GPU? Also, would I be able to add two more of the same GPU’s in the future as an upgrade if I wanted to?

4. RAM. Really dumb question, but will I really fit my 8 ram slots into this motherboard, because visually it doesn’t look like there are 8 dimm slots. but the specs say there are so, probably not an issue, but what about the common “cooler blocking the ram slots” issue, will this not be a problem with this build?

5. Also, I read somewhere that I will need to somehow overclock my ram..? It says the motherboard supports “3200 OC”. the ram sticks are 3200 ddr4. how does this ram overclocking procedure look like and what does it do exactly, and why is it needed?

6. Will i need to buy the SATA cable to connect the HDD or will it be included with the motherboard?

7. I plan on overclocking the CPU, is this cooler good enough for that?