2017 saw AMD coming out swinging with their new Ryzen processors and accompanying chipsets, delivering brilliant multi-threaded performance; however, lacking in the single-threaded department. IPC or Instructions Per Clock gives us the number of instructions a processor can perform per clock cycle. The more the IPC, the more the processor can do in a given amount of time. Thus, better the IPC, greater the single-threaded performance- an area Intel has been dominating since the last decade or so. IPC is also an essential factor determining how well a processor can run games, as gaming workloads are notoriously dependent on single-threaded performance. With 2020 coming to a close, AMD released their shiny new 3rd Gen Zen processors – the AMD Ryzen 5000 series, promising considerable gains in IPC, multi-threaded performance and latency, all the while not drawing a watt of power more than their previous 3000 series. That is an incredibly tall order when one factor in that is AMD promised to do all that while remaining faithful to their 7nm process from TSMC and that the 3000 series Zen processors were already highly power-efficient.
What AMD promised is, however, precisely what AMD delivered – a real generational leap on the IPC and multi-threaded front while retaining its incredible power efficiency, on the same 7nm manufacturing process. So much of a jump in fact that Ryzen 5000 processors now beat Intel’s 10th gen processors in every benchmark, in most games and almost all productivity workloads. Its indeed a grim moment for Intel as its long-held gaming crown tilts towards AMD. However, for us, consumers, it is a big win as the resultant competition is bound to drive innovation and make fast hardware more affordable.
On 5th November, AMD officially revealed four new processors in their lineup – The Ryzen 5950X, 5900X, 5800X and the 5600X. The 5950X is a monster in its own right, and there will be a separate article very soon on the same. This article serves mainly to highlight how far AMD has progressed with their processor technology, with a strong focus on the competing Intel products in the same price segment. This should also give you strong justification regarding why you should go AMD with your next gaming CPU if you are on the market to purchase a new one. Thus, for this article, we have drawn a comparison between the AMD Ryzen 5900X vs Intel’s top consumer CPU – the i9-10900k.
Note: The gaming benchmarks would predominantly be at 1080p to better highlight relative CPU performance. This is because, with higher resolutions, the GPU becomes a more significant limiting factor as compared to the CPU, which would not generate an exact contrasting result. We have provided information on both performance in games as well as performance in synthetic benchmarks and media encoding (if you are into video editing).
- Adobe Premiere, H.264 Media Encoding (lower is better)
- Handbrake, H.264 encoding (lower is better)
- Fire Strike Ultra
- Time Spy
GAMING (Tested in 1080p)
AMD has been able to reverse the IPC delta which used to favour the Intel CPUs. It has been able to release multiple processors in the market which handily beats out Intel, even in gaming where Intel has generally reigned supreme for around a decade. The multi-threaded performance was always superior in AMD CPUs, which has only further widened the gap between the overall quality of processors from the two companies. In terms of power draw, AMD has been able to minimize the same to almost be on par with the Intel counterparts. Naturally, at the current juncture of time, Intel seriously needs to either increase the efficiency and yield of its 10 nm process or come up with a miraculous architecture improvement on its current 14 nm process, to stay relevant.
What does it mean for us, the consumers? Quite simply, better products at lesser prices. As the competition tightens and Intel and AMD trade more blows on equal playing grounds, incentivizing more innovative technology, better and more power-efficient products, prices for the same are sure to become more affordable as long as the supply can keep up with the demand.