AMD or Intel: Which CPU is Stronger for Gaming in 2023?
Choosing the right CPU is one of the most critical decisions when building a new high-performance gaming PC. Two of the top contenders you‘ll be deciding between are AMD and Intel. But which CPU brand is better for gaming in 2023 – AMD or Intel?
In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll compare today‘s latest AMD Ryzen and Intel Core processors to reveal how they differ in gaming performance, features, overclocking, and value. By the end, you‘ll have the facts to decide which CPU is stronger for your gaming needs.
AMD vs Intel Gaming Performance
When it comes to gaming, smooth frame rates and high FPS are key. Both AMD and Intel CPUs deliver excellent gaming performance today. But how do they differ when it comes to squeezing every last frame out of the latest games?
Single-Threaded Game Performance
Most games rely more on strong single core performance, rather than utilizing multi-core CPUs efficiently. This gives Intel an advantage, as maximum turbo boost clocks reach up to 5.8GHz on the flagship Intel Core i9-13900K.
AMD‘s latest Ryzen 9 7950X tops out at 5.7GHz. While extremely fast, Intel still has a 100-200 MHz lead in peak clocks. When every frame matters, this can give Intel a 5-10% lead in average FPS for many games.
According to Tom‘s Hardware benchmarks, at 1080p the i9-13900K averaged 15% higher FPS than the 7950X in single-thread dependent games like Far Cry 6. For competitive gamers who want to maximize frame rates, Intel is the way to go.
Multi-Threaded Game Performance
However, not all games rely on just 1-2 cores. Modern games like Assassin‘s Creed Valhalla can utilize 6+ cores effectively thanks to multi-threading support.
In these games, having more high-performance cores becomes an advantage. Here AMD pulls ahead thanks to CPUs like the 16-core Ryzen 9 7950X with all cores focused on performance.
TechSpot testing showed the 7950X averaging 10% higher average FPS in Assassin‘s Creed Valhalla at 1080p compared to the hybrid Core i9-13900K. For games that leverage lots of cores, AMD‘s extra muscle pushes frame rates higher.
1080p Competitive Gaming
At the popular 1080p resolution used by competitive esports gamers, the CPU makes a bigger impact on overall performance. Intel‘s outstanding single-threaded speed gives them the lead here for maximum FPS.
According to figures compiled by Tom‘s Hardware, across a broad range of 1080p game benchmarks, the Core i9-13900K averaged 10% higher average FPS than the Ryzen 9 7950X. For competitive multiplayer and high refresh rate gaming, Intel is king.
1440p and 4K Gaming
When you move up to 1440p and 4K gaming, the GPU does more of the work, reducing the CPU‘s influence on FPS. The difference between AMD and Intel processors becomes much smaller.
In Tom‘s Hardware testing, the 13900K was only around 5% faster on average versus the 7950X at 1440p, with only a 2% difference at 4K.
At these resolutions, any current mid-range or better CPU from Intel or AMD will enable smooth high FPS gameplay. The performance gap becomes negligible.
Real-World Game Performance
While benchmarks provide indications, real-world gameplay can differ. Ultimately, both Intel 13th Gen and AMD Ryzen 7000 will allow you to game comfortably at over 60 FPS minimum in any of today‘s top titles.
The difference will amount to getting 140 FPS on Intel vs 130 FPS on AMD – noticeable for competitive gamers, but imperceptible for most. For realistic gameplay, either brand will satisfy.
But Intel CPUs do have an edge in wringing every last frame out of games, especially at 1080p. Let‘s look at why.
Architectural Differences in AMD vs Intel
To understand the gaming performance differences, we need to look at how the latest AMD and Intel CPU architectures differ:
Intel Hybrid Architecture
Intel‘s 12th and 13th Gen Core processors utilize a new hybrid architecture, combining two core types:
- P-cores – Performance cores focused on high single thread speed
- E-cores – Efficient cores for multi-threaded workloads
For example, the Core i9-13900K has 8 P-cores capable of hitting 5.8GHz, and 16 E-cores with a 3.7GHz base clock.
This hybrid design allows Intel to offer both strong single-threaded performance from the P-cores, along with the multi-threaded muscle of the E-cores.
AMD Zen Core Architecture
AMD‘s Ryzen 7000 series is based on the new Zen 4 architecture, featuring:
- Zen 4 cores – Each core is focused on delivering the highest possible performance.
The flagship Ryzen 9 7950X has 16 Zen 4 cores, all optimized for performance. Rather than a hybrid design, all of AMD‘s cores are aimed at maximum throughput.
This gives AMD an advantage in highly multi-threaded games, as all cores are focused on performance rather than a mix of performance and efficiency.
However, Intel‘s P-cores still have a single-threaded speed advantage from higher clocks and architecture design. Let‘s look at why.
Differences in Clocks, Cache, and Memory
A few key architectural differences give Intel the single-thread gaming advantage:
- Higher Boost Clocks – Intel P-cores reach up to 5.8GHz, vs 5.7GHz on AMD Zen 4 cores
- Larger L2 Cache – Intel has 2MB of L2 cache per P-core, vs 1MB per Zen 4 core
- Faster Memory Support – Intel supports blistering DDR5-5600 RAM, vs DDR5-5200 for Ryzen 7000
The 100-200MHz clock advantage, extra L2 cache latency reduction, and faster memory bandwidth all combine to give Intel the edge for 1080p gaming.
AMD counters with excellent multi-threaded performance and impressive power efficiency from TSMC‘s 5nm process. But for pure gaming prowess, Intel is tough to beat.
Feature Comparison: AMD vs Intel CPUs
Gaming performance makes up a big part of the equation, but we also need to compare features that affect the overall user experience.
Both AMD and Intel support CPU overclocking to push performance further on high-end CPUs. For example, the Core i9-13900K can hit up to 5.8GHz on a single-core, while the Ryzen 9 7950X can overclock to around 5.5GHz across all cores.
Intel CPUs tend to have more overclocking headroom thanks to their architecture targeting peak clock speeds. AMD limits voltages to ensure reliability and longevity. An Intel K-series chip still holds the overall overclocking crown.
Faster PCIe generations improve bandwidth for GPUs and SSDs. AMD supports PCIe 4.0, while Intel offers PCIe 5.0 support.
In real gaming usage, you won‘t notice much difference between PCIe 4.0 and 5.0. However, PCIe 5.0 helps prepare your build for next-gen GPUs and storage down the line.
Intel 12th and 13th Gen processors support both DDR4 and DDR5 memory, giving you the option. DDR5 brings higher speeds and bandwidth, but DDR4 is more affordable.
AMD‘s Ryzen 7000 works exclusively with cutting-edge but pricier DDR5 RAM. Most people will be fine with DDR4 memory, so Intel offers a little more flexibility on that front.
Intel includes UHD integrated graphics on most Core CPUs, while AMD Ryzen processors do not have integrated graphics.
This gives Intel an advantage for budget gaming rigs that don‘t need a graphics card. But it becomes irrelevant once you add in a dedicated gaming GPU.
Thanks to their chiplet design and 5nm process, AMD Zen 4 CPUs are extremely power efficient. They offer excellent performance while sipping only 65-105 watts.
Intel 12th Gen chips based on the Intel 7 process run hotter and use more power. However, both companies now offer processors appropriate for mainstream cooling and power supplies. For eco-conscious buyers, AMD has the advantage.
AMD vs Intel Gaming Value Comparison
With high-end CPUs costing $300+, price and value are important considerations when choosing a gaming CPU. Which offers a better price-to-performance ratio?
Here‘s a comparison of some current street prices for AMD and Intel CPUs at various tiers:
|Ryzen 5 5600||6/12||$159|
|Ryzen 7 5700X||8/16||$238|
|Ryzen 7 5800X3D||8/16||$399|
|Ryzen 9 7950X||16/32||$699|
For budget and mid-range gaming, AMD offers far better value with their excellent 6 and 8-core Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 processors costing well under $300.
The 13th Gen Intel Core i5 and i7 do have more total cores thanks to E-cores, but cost almost twice as much as competing AMD chips.
When looking at the premium $500+ CPUs, Intel takes back the value crown. The exceptional i9-13900K costs $100 less than AMD‘s flagship 7950X, while beating it in gaming workloads.
If your budget is tight, AMD gives you more performance per dollar. But on the high end, Intel reigns supreme in both gaming prowess and value.
AMD vs Intel for Gaming: The Verdict
So what‘s the final verdict on AMD vs Intel processors for gaming in 2023?
Here is a quick summary of the key findings:
At 1080p, Intel CPUs provide around 10% higher average FPS, thanks to higher single-threaded performance. They are the best for competitive gaming.
At 1440p and 4K resolutions, the performance is nearly identical between AMD and Intel. Both deliver smooth, high FPS gameplay.
AMD offers better value for budget and mid-range builds, thanks to excellent performance per dollar from Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 chips.
On the high end, the Core i9-13900K beats the 7950X in both gaming performance and price. It‘s the clear choice for premium gaming.
AMD CPUs excel in multi-threaded workloads like video editing and 3D rendering thanks to more full-performance cores.
So in summary:
- Intel is fastest for 1080p competitive gaming
- AMD is better value for mid-range gaming
- Either brand works great for 1440p and 4K gaming
There is no universally superior option – it depends on your specific needs. But by understanding the strengths of each CPU lineup, you can make the right choice to build your dream gaming rig. Game on!
References: Tom‘s Hardware: Intel Core i9-13900K and Ryzen 9 7950X Gaming Benchmarks
 TechSpot: 7950X vs 12900K – 41 Game Benchmark