When choosing a new system, one of the toughest choices you’ll have to make is whether to go for an AMD or Intel offering for the CPU. This is important whether or not you are building a PC from scratch, choosing one from the shelf, or even going for something a little more portable.
This makes it especially important to have an idea of which company is coming out on top in the market at the moment. It’s been a tough couple of years for Intel and with AMD starting to make large waves in the processor market, the next couple of years could be vital.
Intel’s Strong First Quarter
The battle between AMD and Intel has always been a bit back and forth. However, this year will make for an interesting time for both companies and consumers alike. With the global pandemic of the COVID-19 virus hitting both manufacturing plants and consumers’ wallets, this could result in some big changes for both companies.
Reports show that while Intel could have a tough 2020, they may have had a strong first quarter. With hardware manufacturers buying up chips to prepare for an influx of orders, this has led to a slight surge in profits for Intel. This will, of course, slow down as people won’t have as much money to play with, but it will hopefully result in both businesses not being hit too hard.
Barron reports that Intel could face a revenue loss in Q2 with revenue dropping to $16.8 billion. While this might still be a lot, predictions suggest that Intel could face a 5% to 10% drop in profits by the end of 2020.
When it comes down to AMD’s profits, it’s very likely that they could see a similar trend. However, this is after an initial surge in interest and purchases following the new Ryzen 4000 series release and Intel’s new 10th Gen processors. With more people needing a solid laptop to work from home, this quarter could be off to a good start with a spike in purchases. However, this is likely to slow down very quickly for the remainder of the year while we deal with the fallout from COVID-19.
Fighting Back In The Mobile Market
Intel has announced another 14nm series of processors to fit in high-end gaming laptops that will be based on Comet Lake H architecture.
At the moment, Intel’s flagship is the Core i9-10980HK processor which has 8 cores and 16 threads - putting it at a fairly equal level with the AMD Ryzen 9 4900H which was recently released.
The i9-10980HK is already up to 54% faster than the Core i7-10750H with a base clock speed of 2.4 GHz and a turbo speed of up to 5.3 GHz.
AMD has been fighting to get some control in the mobile market with the 4000 series, and the recent release looks very promising. However, with Intel breaking beyond the 5 GHz barrier for laptops, it doesn’t look like Intel is ready to give up the fight just yet.
Intel still has a dominant hand in the market at the moment when looking at the amount of choice on offer. With the Intel mobile CPUs, you can pick between 8th, 9th, and 10th generation CPUs which are found in a huge variety of different laptops.
In this regard, AMD is still a bit behind but they’re catching up fast with a wide offering of processors. There’s the Ryzen 5, 7, and 9 in different models and variants on offer at the moment.
That’s not to say that Intel has nothing to worry about. The way AMD has advanced means that they are starting to claw back some of the market share previously dominated by Intel.
Intel’s Desktop CPU Struggle
Intel is also trying to keep on top of the desktop processor market as well as their other ventures.
However, AMD has recently taken the market by storm with its Threadripper series of processors. Not only have these proven to have a massive core count when compared to Intel’s offerings, but they are also priced significantly lower.
The Intel Comet Lake CPUs are set to take over from the current 9th generation processors and have opted to make use of hyperthreading in an effort to stack up against AMD’s offerings. Hyperthreading will allow for these processors to make better use of each CPU core in order to achieve better performance.
While the Intel chips may not have the high level of cores that the AMD chips have (such as the impressive 64 core Ryzen 9 3990X), hyperthreading should hopefully pick up a bit of the slack.
With AMD going down the route of using the 7nm process node for its CPUs, Intel has opted to stick with the 14nm process for its processors - albeit a heavily optimized version. It will be interesting to see when Intel decides to adopt this process or if they’ll try to keep optimizing the 14nm process a little further.
An open letter published by Intel CEO Bob Swan talked a bit about their thinking when it came to nodes stating that the 10nm “isn’t going to be as strong a node as people would expect from 14nm” and that they are aware they didn’t hit all their expectations during 2019.
This could mean that they aren’t going to fight too hard with the 10nm node and are instead aiming to compete with AMD on the 7nm node in the future. However, this is all guesswork and only time will tell what Intel has planned for the future.
Intel’s Other Ventures
Intel’s dive into the graphics card market is going to be an interesting one to watch, particularly as Intel is already battling out with AMD in the CPU market.
Intel is planning to take on both AMD and Nvidia in the GPU market with their Intel Xe graphics cards. However, not a lot is known about these graphics cards yet. They made an appearance at CES 2020 but we don’t yet know when we’ll be able to get our hands on them. Intel says that these cards will be released sometime in 2020 but whether that still stands after the recent pandemic remains to be seen.
With a graphics tuning software recently released by Intel, it could be that they’re gearing up to make their way into the gaming-ready GPU market soon. There’s even rumor that these graphics cards will feature support for ray tracing which would put these cards at the high-end of the market.
However, it looks like they are still some way behind AMD and Nvidia in that respect and we don’t expect the first generation of these graphics cards to really steal away too much of the market.
The battle between AMD and Intel doesn’t look like it’s dying down any time soon. With AMD’s new line of Ryzen 4000 series processors, the competition is just heating up.
However, Intel has been around for a while now, with an unwavering hand on their market share. It will take a while for AMD to chip away at the market but they’ve had a great start so far.
With the current state of affairs, it looks like 2020 mightn’t be the year that both companies were hoping for. Hopefully, things will start to get back to normal sooner rather than later, but if not, we could be looking at 2021 before we start to see some big changes.