I’ve used Intel CPUs for years. Here’s why I’m lastly switching to AMD

AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D held between fingertips.
Jacob Roach / DigitalTrends

I’ve been utilizing Intel CPUs for near seven years. It began with the Core i7-8700K, however I moved on to the Core i9-10900K, Core i9-12900K, and most lately, the Core i9-13900K, all of which might have occupied a slot among the many best processors at totally different cut-off dates. But after a lot time with Team Blue, I’m switching again to AMD.

It comes at an fascinating time for Intel and the PC {hardware} neighborhood as an entire, which is presently abuzz about a particular article claiming that Intel is objectively “better” for PC players. That’s not what this text is. Instead, I need to stroll you thru why I selected to make use of AMD’s Ryzen 7 7800X3D in my gaming PC, and the way I got here to the choice.

Stability struggles

Intel Core i9-13900K sitting on a mousepad.
The Intel Core i9-13900K CPU Jacob Roach / Digital Trends / Digital Trends

I’ll by no means fault AMD or Intel for non permanent stability points. They occur on a regular basis, particularly round new {hardware} launches. AMD struggled with quicker reminiscence across the launch of its Ryzen 7000 CPUs, and we consistently see new bugs pop up, with a repair normally following shortly after. That’s not precisely what’s been happening with Intel CPUs as of late.

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Last 12 months, there was a plague of “unsupported processor” Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) alerts that made the rounds with Intel’s Thirteenth-gen CPUs and MSI’s supported motherboards. Originally, the blame went to Microsoft, which launched a Windows replace that originally triggered the error. Then, it shifted to Intel, when a couple of weeks later, it was found that the BSODs have been the result of a microcode error.

It’s not the top of the world. There was a mistake, and MSI and Intel labored to repair it inside a couple of weeks with out an excessive amount of problem. But now, we’re in the course of another string of instability problems. Some current high-end Intel CPUs are exhibiting stability points, and it took months after customers initially reported issues earlier than Intel publicly commented on the instability.

We’re seeing new motherboard updates geared toward bettering stability for these chips, which comes at the price of upwards of 9% of your performance. The stability points solely affect a choose variety of sure unlocked CPU fashions, but it surely’s nonetheless an issue. If you’re dropping $500 or $600 on a processor, you shouldn’t need to accept decrease efficiency simply since you have been one of many unfortunate few to get a chip with stability points.

Blue screen of death on on TV.
Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

For my very own half, I skilled fixed crashes and BSODs once I was utilizing the Core i9-13900K. Sometimes, I might go a number of weeks and not using a downside, whereas different occasions, I might see a number of crashes in a single night time. I haven’t spent sufficient time with the Ryzen 7 7800X3D in my essential gaming rig but to place blame solely on the CPU — however I’ll say that I haven’t seen any crashes or BSODs but.

I don’t need to depart the impression that Intel is making these wildly unhinged CPUs that might crash at a second’s discover. It isn’t, and there’s a motive I’ve used Intel CPUs for therefore lengthy. But when widespread points go unaddressed for months, there’s an issue. I’m unsure if there are points with the hybrid structure like we noticed with the “unsupported processor” error, or if an excessive amount of energy is being pushed to chips to squeeze out additional efficiency like we’ve seen with current instability issues. But once I sit right down to play video games at night time, I don’t need to take into consideration both, and thus far, I haven’t needed to.

Getting your cache

AMD CEO holding 3D V-Cache CPU.
AMD CEO Lisa Su holds a 3D V-Cache CPU. AMD

My essential concern with my rig is gaming. I need good efficiency general, however not on the expense of frames. Right now, it’s arduous to dispute that, for PC players, AMD has a singular benefit with its 3D V-Cache CPUs. Based on our testing, the Ryzen 7 7800X3D is round 12% quicker general than the Core i9-13900K at 1080p. In some video games, like Red Dead Redemption 2, you received’t see any efficiency distinction in any respect. In video games hungry for cache like Far Cry 6, nonetheless, we’ve seen upwards of a 39% enchancment.

Lots of video games don’t want the additional cache, and the efficiency hole shrinks as you climb by way of resolutions in most video games. But if gaming is your essential precedence, AMD’s 3D V-Cache components supply a definite benefit in sure titles that Intel doesn’t actually have a solution for. The argument will get extra nuanced decrease down the product stack, with CPUs just like the Ryzen 5 7600 and Core i5-13600KF duking it out relying on the title, however for pure body chasers with the precise funds, 3D V-Cache mops the ground.

Overall gaming performance for the Ryzen 7 7800X3D.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

You can get by with far much less, too. I’m evaluating the Ryzen 7 7800X3D to the Core i9-13900K right here, however these CPUs aren’t even in the identical class. Intel’s chip is about $500 on the time of writing, whereas the Ryzen 7 7800X3D is under $400. The Ryzen 7 7800X3D may also usually run cooler, and due to this fact quieter, beneath a gaming workload. Intel’s current CPUs are slightly power-hungry, even in delicate gaming workloads.

None of that is to say that Intel’s CPUs are unhealthy for gaming — they’re not. The focus is simply totally different. When you look exterior of gaming to different productiveness benchmarks, Intel holds a major lead as a result of excessive core counts on its current chips. If you want productiveness prowess and gaming grunt in equal measure, perhaps an Intel chip is best for you. For somebody like me, who primarily cares about gaming, AMD takes the crown in the intervening time.

Platform updates

Someone opening AMD's AM5 socket.

One of probably the most signficant causes AMD has gained a foothold in desktop CPUs over the past a number of years is the AM4 socket. Seven years after AMD launched the platform, we’re nonetheless seeing new CPUs for it. That actually culminated with the Ryzen 7 5800X3D in 2022, which showcased how massive of a leap AMD had constructed from its unique Ryzen CPUs, all on the identical socket.

The AM5 socket, which the Ryzen 7 7800X3D makes use of, is ready up for related longevity. AMD has stated it’ll assist the platform till 2025 and past. The “beyond” bit is slightly imprecise in the intervening time, however AMD has said that it “certainly recognized that the longevity of the AM4 platforms was one of the biggest reasons that led to the success of Ryzen,” and the corporate plans to assist the socket “for as long as we possibly can.”

In equity to Intel, it has tried to do one thing related with its LGA 1700 socket, which helps Twelfth- by way of 14th-gen CPUs. The essential downside is that it isn’t as important as a bounce because it seems like. If you got into the platform with the launch of Twelfth-gen CPUs, you may get a fairly large bounce in efficiency with a Thirteenth- or 14th-gen CPU. There isn’t a lot motive to improve past that, nonetheless. As you may learn in our Core i9-14900K and Core i5-14600K review, these chips supply nearly similar efficiency to their Thirteenth-gen counterparts in most workloads.

It’s nonetheless not clear how lengthy AMD will assist the AM5 platform past 2025, however the firm has already confirmed it might ship signficant efficiency enhancements over a number of generations on the identical platform. Hopefully, that continues with AM5. At the very least, I’m set as much as reap the benefits of the platform with a Ryzen 7000 CPU.

Sweeping statements

AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D sitting on a motherboard.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Just as a result of I switched again to AMD doesn’t imply you essentially ought to. It’s all the time vital to acknowledge that everybody’s wants are totally different, and that there’s by no means a one-size-fits-all method to constructing (or upgrading) a PC. Maybe you want a PC to edit movies and play video games at 4K, for instance. In that case, an Intel CPU is likely to be a greater match — in spite of everything,  the excessive core rely on Intel’s current chips swimsuit giant video-editing workloads higher.

You can not often make sweeping statements about PC {hardware}, and I’m not making one right here. Switching to AMD fits what I’m after with my gaming PC, however I’d encourage you to take inventory of what you want out of your PC and seek the advice of a number of critiques earlier than making a shopping for resolution. That will take you additional than looking for an objectively higher model out of the 2.

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