Can someone eli5 to me the difference between AMD chips and Intel’s?

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It’s my understanding that AMD manufactures more powerful chips? gpu’s? for far less cost and that once a company is locked into one brand they can’t move to the other because of compatibility issues? What are the issues? I work in OEM distribution but obviously not technical… based on ability I would think customers would always pick servers/ whatever with AMD inside because of the “more for less” capability but Intel has such a strong hold on the market that doesn’t seem to be fading.

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3 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Intel and AMD are roughly even in term of CPU performance at the moment. Before that AMD enjoyed a small lead for a few years, and before that Intel dominated. Intel still has a majority of the market (~80%) due them offering superior products for almost 15 years. (The last time they had even shares was around 2005).

Some OEM are locked into using only either Intel or AMD through contracts or simply inertia.

Both AMD and Intel build GPUs, although Intel is very new to the discrete GPU market. AMD has a bigger market share than Intel, but they are both dwarfed by NVidia.

The only compatibility problem on the CPU side is the motherboard. AMD and Intel CPUs require different motherboards with different (but similar) chips on it. Computers with an AMD CPUs can run the same software using the same GPU and memory as computers with Intel CPUs.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s not really a better or worse, they’re two companies at the end of the day, making different choices, just trying to make money.

Intel works on a tic-tock type system, so every socket is released with 1 chip, gets 1 update, and then a new socket. This is reliable, but has lead to anti-consumer practices such as changing minimal parts of the socket just for the sake of a new refresh.

AMD saw this practice as their “in-road” to the market, and have managed to make a huge dent in the market, and seriously hurt Intel as a result with the AM4 platform. This doesn’t mean AMD is superior, Intel is dead, or that we should always buy AMD though. Having competition in the market is what we want, and is going to keep them innovating and keeping prices good for the consumer. AMD is now moving to AM5, and hoping for another smash hit, but we can’t rely on it being as good as AM4, but we can hope that they will continue with the same ethos that lead to what made AM4 work.

Intel still has a tight grip on the OEM market though, probably partially because they don’t care about upgradability, they give you a box, that box does what you want, and then they sell you a new box a few years down the line. AMD is starting to make a serious dent into this, but nothing like what we’ve seen in the consumer Desktop market. Same for Laptops, we’re seeing more AMD ones, but still not overtaking Intel, likely for the same reasons.

I think what you’re mostly referring to with “more for less”, is the X3D line of AMD chips, which are an excellent line, and have been huge for gaming, but again are a small part of a small market share. They’ve definitely made intel nervous, but not to the point they’re worried about their existence as a company like AMD have been before. We’re also seeing a lot more diversity in the market anyway, with things like Apple silicon, ARM style chips (vs x86 for the two we’ve been talking about), and more GPU/AI accelerated processes.

Anonymous 0 Comments

They’re competitors in the same CPU market, x86 CPUs. In terms of compatibility, they’re swappable. Anywhere you use an Intel CPU, you can use an AMD CPU and vice versa. The only thing that might restrict someone is contracts or who the OEM has a contract with etc.

Performance-wise there are differences. There are a lot of ways performance can be measured and compared and it changes all the time. Neither Intel nor AMD are constantly “better” than the other. For most users, there isn’t a huge difference. But for more advanced or specialized use cases they might prefer one or the other. Currently Intel is known for better single-threaded performance, while AMD is known for massive scalability with number of threads.

Intel has massive momentum in the cloud market because they were dominant for so long. AMD only put out a CPU that could compete against Intel in the cloud market with Ryzen. Intel had a massive lead for well over a decade when AWS and Azure were growing. Intel also has its own fabs and can far outstrip AMD in sheer production. Most CPUs are bought in massive orders by the big tech companies, and large reliable deliveries is a quality in itself.

AMD bought ATI a long time ago. ATI was the main competitor with NVidia in the discreet GPU (as in separate GPU card) market. Both AMD and Intel have integrated GPU (integrated in the CPU) parts. Intel has only recently gotten into the discreet market.