Pros & Cons of Intel & AMD

by Tom McNamara

When it comes to CPUs (Central Processing Units) for the home desktop, AMD and Intel are the dominant choices. It may not be clear at first which choice is best for your purposes, but there are several ways in which they differ.

Breadth of Lineup

Intel arguably offers a larger variety of CPUs, from netbooks, laptops, servers and desktops. AMD competes in each space, but Intel is particularly more popular with netbooks.

Cost

AMD's CPUs have had a historical reputation for being more aggressively priced than Intel's. It is not unusual for them to introduce a new type of CPU in market segment at a cost much lower than Intel's comparable options.

Performance

Cost aside, Intel tends to have the upper hand, partly because they introduce new types of CPUs at a greater rate. They have a larger research & development (R&D;) department that allows this.

Wattage

Intel's Atom CPUs use about half the wattage of AMD's comparable parts, which directly affects the battery life of your laptop or netbook.

Heat

Intel CPUs tend to run cooler, making them more enticing for enclosed spaces like laptops and rackmount servers.

About the Author

Thomas McNamara is a technology and entertainment writer whose work has appeared in several magazines and websites over the years, including PC Gamer, Maximum PC, IGN, Yahoo! Games, and GamePro. He currently lives in the San Francisco bay area. He enjoys long walks on the beach and rocking to the sounds of rock.