on November 15th of 1971, a blossoming company called Intel produced their first Microprocessor chip, affectionately titled the Intel 4004. It had a clock rate of only 740khz ( That’s right khz, as in .74 of a single megahert, that’s 74 HUNDRED-THOUSANDTHS of a single gigahert, which is the common rating we see today) and a bus of only 4-bits, and was designed to be used in the Busicom calculator.
Fours years later, the infant company AMD began selling the Am2901 ALU, which had uses spread all the way from the computers aboard early naval aircraft, to use in the very first atari (Vector Graphics )based arcade machines which used four am2901’s to perform the math calculations inside the cabinet.
These two products sparked a competition that has raged for getting on 40 years now, and it’s closer than ever.
well… it was…is…let me try and explain.
In the late 90’s to i’d say 2008, amd and Intel were battling punch for punch, they would one up each other with every release and each would be superior for a few months until the other released it’s latest creation, and then they’d be the big dog for a few months until the crown was taken back. This was the accepted norm for a while and it brought about some of the biggest jumps in performance, and best pricing market the PC gaming market had ever been exposed to. Games were being pumped out at record speed, through a combination of an ever growing consumer base, and the rapidly shrinking cost to produce them.
Everything changed when the fire nation attacked.
sorry that doesn’t really apply, i thought it would just be fun to say, hope you got a laugh reading it.
Seriously though, in November of 2008, Intel launched a ballistic missile that AMD Couldn’t retaliate to. Codenamed Bloomfield, The intel Core I7, Packing four hyper-threaded cores, the ability to use triple channel DDR3 memory, and smashing into the market with stock clocks ranging from 2.66 ghz all the way up to an unprecedented 3.33 ghz
The intel CORE I7 920( the slowest of the I7 family) remained on the top of the list until AMD was able to answer back with codename DENAB in November of the following year, the most notable of which was the Phenom II x4 965 Black edition, which was able to hedge out the I7-920 in gaming test, but still fell short in synthetic, memory, and number crunching tests. but was still beaten by not un-noticeable margin by the 965, 975, and the 1000 dollar monstrosity that was the 980x., and of course by that time the new line of I7’s were able to crush anything that amd was to produce.
Now would be a good time to point out that at the time the I7 processors were more expensive than Phenom II x4 series, and that if you were budget conscious, you could consistently get more performance from the AMD offeringat the same price point of an Intel processor ( usually competing with the Intel I5 which it was roughly on par with at the time. This paved the Way for an entirely new marketing point, and an actual decline in actual part for part competition.
This pattern is still being repeated to this day, with Amd’s most powerful processors competing around the same point as Intel’s Core I5, but being consistently cheaper at the same time.
Today the competition is much different from how it was in the late 90’s amd and intel were no longer equal or interchangeable, The general argument today is that Intel is ” The best” but AMD is consistently ” the best for your money”
I think the easiest way to compare those two brands now is to compare them to the car industry.
If you think of AMD as Chevrolet and Intel as BMW
for about 40,000 dollars you can get a decked out, fully loaded Chevy Camaro SS with a fast engine, lovely leather trim, and all the sex appeal that goes with it.
For 40,000 Dollars from BMW, you’re looking a mid range Bmw 3 series coup, which still looks lovely and has nice trim surely, but you wouldn’t get nearly the power, probably a 328i or maybe a 355i either way you’re looking at a straight 6 with 300 horsepower max.
so you get more for your money from the camaro here, but lets say you’re after something a little sportier, something with a big engine, a smart suspension, and a luxirious interior.
Chevy doesn’t fit your needs in this case, there’s the corvette, but it’s low slung, the ride is rough, and the insurance is insane. ( this is the AMD FX-9590)
Bmw though, has plenty of options though, The Bmw M series, if you’re willing to part with 90-120 grand it can be yours. It will carry you in the lap of luxury with all the style, comfort, and power you could want.
That’s what Intel is now, it’s superiority… at a cost, And that’s not such a bad thing if you ask me. That’s why as i type this, there is a new motherboard and processor patiently waiting in their boxes to be unleashed.
I love both of these companies, these two giants that are the undoubtedly the driving forces behind modern computing. Since my very first machine in 2006, i’ve been on the bleachers cheering for AMD, the efficient, loyal corporation that has been the leader in value for as long as i’ve known what a computer was. But with my latest upgrade, my mind wasn’t on Value… it was on POWER.
I consider myself a professional system builder now, i’m not really sure what the criteria for being a “professional” is, but i’ve done it many times, and often it is for financial gain, so i am going to use the term. I’ve worked with many many processors ranging from the humble workhorses of the core two duo 8200 and Athlon x2 217’s to the performers of the Vishera 8350 and the I5-3570k
to the hulking Core I7-3970X. Call me wierd I love each and every product for its own reasons. I have a love for the simplicity and care with which AMD has progressed from the framework of the AM2 to the current AM3+ which i must applaud for it’s remarkable flexibility and compatibility.
That widespread appreciation made it very hard for me to choose a new platform, Every Processor has its place, and i could never ever answer the Question of which is better, because it’s not that simple. Both of these companies do a Fantastic job of providing quality products and reasonable prices. As a consumer what more can we really ask from a company really. So when i see Fanboys bad mouthing each other, saying that one is better than the other, all i can really do is chuckle, because I know they’re wrong,
These battling titans are nearing 40 years of fierce competition, and it doesn’t look to end anytime soon, The way i look at my decision this time around is not that i’ve changed sides, but that I’ve chosen the proper tool for the proper job. It just so happens that the current job needs the grunt of CORE I7-4770k.