For the past several years, many PC enthusiasts have lamented, in general, that Intel’s processors have only been advancing incrementally and that they lacked meaningful competition. Throughout 2017, AMD released a new line of Ryzen processors which filled that void. Now there is a two-sided sense of competition along with genuine reasons to consider both sides.
|Intel Core||AMD Ryzen|
|Higher clock speeds||More cores and threads|
|Only the “K” versions can be overclocked.||All are overclockable.|
|Has integrated graphics||No integrated graphics|
|Does not require a video card.||Must have a video card for it to work.|
|More affordable Mini ITX motherboards||Better price to performance ratio.|
|Wide selection of motherboards||Most compatible motherboards lack wifi.|
|Stock coolers are viewed as mediocre.||Stock coolers are viewed as decent.|
|Each year or two Intel releases a new generation of CPU which requires a different chipset||Ryzen’s chipset will be supported with additional hardware releases until 2020.|
|Does not benefit from RAM faster than 2400 MHz typically.||Benefits from faster RAM (i.e. 3000 MHz)|
Ultimately, these are my recommendations as of late 2017:
- Office/School/Business – Pentium G4620 or i3-8100
- Budget Gaming – Pentium G4620 or i3-8100
- Budget Gaming with Light Video Editing – Ryzen 3 1200 or i3-8100
- Mid-Range Gaming – Ryzen 5 1600 or i3-8350k
- High-End Gaming – i7-7700k or i7-8600k or i7-8700k
- Recording Studio – i5-7400 or i3-8100
- Recording Studio with Light Video Editing – Ryzen 3 1200
- Semi-Pro 4K Video Editing – Ryzen 5 1600
- Professional 4K Video Editing – Ryzen 7 1700 or i7-8700k
For Intel, their latest Coffee Lake (8th generation) CPU’s should make just enough improvements to stay competitive against Ryzen. At the low end, the i3-8100 puts pressure on the Ryzen 3 1200. The new i3 has four cores with high clock speeds (instead of two), as well as integrated graphics. At the mid-end, Ryzen 5 1600 is still the best value, although the i3-8350k may be an alternative for gamers. At the high end, it becomes a split on which company you prefer and what your needs are.
Update (Dec 2018): It appears that Coffee Lake’s i5’s do surpass much of the Ryzen line, although motherboard pricing is an issue for the Intels. i7-8700k, while more expensive, does decisively beat out the Ryzen 7 for content creation. Coffee Lake has offered answers to the Ryzen line-up overall, though Ryzen still offers great performing CPU’s for the price.