AMD has really come full-circle, from not really being a competitor to teams Blue and Green only a few years ago (and for a very long time before that) to the present, where AMD’s newest product lines, announced at Computex in Taipei, Taiwan, threaten to leap-frog the competition. At the same time, Intel was busy announcing a very “meh” next generation of CPUs, including the i9-9900KS, which isn’t even a new chip!
Intel is pushing the i9-9900KS hard, stating in no uncertain terms that it is the best CPU for gaming in 2019. However, the reality is that the i9-9900KS isn’t even a new release, it’s simply a bunch of cherry-picked i9-9900K chips that have been factory overclocked to hit an admittedly impressive 5.0 GHz across all cores. While this sounds impressive, the fact of the matter is, consumers that won the silicon lottery with their 9900K chips have already been able to achieve similar results.
AMD, on the other hand, has left a stagnant Intel scratching their heads. It wasn’t long ago that AMD really did not have any way to compete with Intel in any market segment, then, practically overnight, Threadripper happened and Intel was no longer the be-all and end-all of workstation performance. With a ridiculous amount of cores and threads for a consumer product, Intel was caught completely unprepared – the most expensive Threadripper CPUs put even Intel’s Extreme Edition chips to shame on heavy loads that properly utilize multiple cores.
That said, even though AMD hit it out of the park for workstation uses, Intel retained a stranglehold on pretty much all other high-end segments of the market (for low to mid tier, the Ryzen product line offers many competitive choices and are a great option for an all-round PC, while not slouching in the gaming department, either. Our most recent $700 budget gaming PC build uses one).
After AMD’s keynote at Computex, however, that is all in question. While Team Blue has finally managed to shrink their die size to 10nm, after many setbacks and failures, AMD has burst on the scene, offering a very wide range of products designed and manufactured using Taiwan Semiconductor’s 7nm process, and it’s not just the smaller die size that is impressive.
Instead of only competing in specific markets, such as workstation CPUs for video editing and massive amounts of scientific calculations, AMD’s next generation of CPUs threatens to steal market share from Intel across the board. For one, AMD is advancing supercomputing, by working on the Frontier supercomputer, which is planned to be around ten times more computing power than the current fastest computer in the world by utilizing their joint specialization in 7nm CPUs and Radeon Navi GPUs.
In the datacentre world, AMD’s Epyc line of CPUs already boast an obscene 64 core / 128 thread offering, destroying Intel’s 56 core / 112 thread “Cascade Lake” offering, with early benchmarks suggesting the aforementioned Epyc “Rome” CPU more-or-less doubling Intel’s performance.
And of course, gamers haven’t been left in the dark. New 3rd Generation Ryzen performance is substantially better than last generation, with anywhere from around 10% to 35% performance gains, all while drawing less power. There isn’t enough information available to determine whether or not Intel’s original statement that “the i9-9900KS is 2019’s fastest CPU for gamers” is true or not, but one thing is certain: any lead that Intel had on Team Red has evaporated, and performance gaps have narrowed significantly. AMD’s next line of chips are an acceptable choice in an enthusiast gamer’s build, something we haven’t been able to say for a very long time.
We realize that CPU offerings are only part of what AMD is bringing to the table. While Radeon graphics cards are not in a position to supplant NVIDIA at this point, it’s clear that AMD is making large gains in the video card arena as well – we’ll go more in depth on AMD’s video card offerings in another post.