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It’s fair to say that Intel has the very high end desktop processor market pretty much to itself, however, it’s a different story in the lower end of the food chain. Although Intel – through the sheer number of different processors it offers – seems to have it all its own way, AMD does make a good fight of it at a number of …

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WTF?

What exactly...

is the point of this review???

The author basically picked up one chip each from the Intel and AMD lineups that have roughly the same price (without ANY justification as to why these particular ones were picked), performed a comparison around a minimal set of vapid benchmarks (!) and then reached a verdict that said.. what exactly? "Cheap as chips".. riiiight....

Instead, why not do a feature on which motherboards look the prettiest? Ooh, look at the lovely blue heatspreaders there...

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Silver badge

Re: What exactly...

Indeed. It doesn't even give the price of the intel part which dispute being only 2 real cores seems to outperform the Amd on processor tasks.

Some tdp data for the intel would not have gone amiss either.

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Re: What exactly...

The I3 2105 was Intels "answer" to the Llano A8 series. Instead of the usual HD2000 graphics used in the other i3 processors, it has the HD3000 graphics to better compete with Llano.

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system price

I'm beginning to get fed up with this sort of comparison of unlike with unlike.

What is the comparison between combined cpu/motherboard price, for example?

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Unhappy

Still confused

The main thing preventing me upgrading my PC's processor is that I have no way to properly compare processors! Infinite choice is no choice at all.

Graphics cards are even worse.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Still confused

Check out the processor comparison pages (GIYF).

From what I can tell, a top end socket 775 equates to an upper-middle i5, so unless you're going for the top end with intel there isn't that much that has changed through 775/1366/1156/1155/2011 generations unless you have want a zillion sata/usb ports or have a strange obsession with on-cpu graphics as opposed to on-mobo integrated graphics. There doesn't appear to be much to choose between i3/core2duo and i5/core2quad.

However, if you don't need intel kit (as you might for a hackintosh) or a high-end device, you can consider a much cheaper quad-core in which case AMD have more competitive products than the media would lead you to believe, with its obsession with ivy bridge.

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Processor choice is still linked to GPU preference, amd - amd, nvidia - intel, or have i missed a meeting?

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you've definitely missed a meeting

AMD GPU and Intel CPU or Nvidia GPU with AMD CPU is perfectly fine, there's no real benefit to be gained from e.g. going all-AMD.

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FAIL

Garbage!

This is one of the worst reviews/roundups I have seen on el reg. Very limited sample, quoting more old info than new... Not even worth reading.

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AMD still trailing

I don't understand why people want an APU. Businesses don't care about graphics, and consumers who do care about graphics generally get discrete graphics cards.

So why obsess over the concept?

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Re: AMD still trailing

Businesses don't care about graphics FOR NOW. The GPU components of these APU's are basically just a huge bunch of vector processors. Better GPGPU support (like the HSA stuff in Winzip and Handbrake) will give chips with a powerful GPU component a big boost.

And many mid to low range laptop buyers have two choices: get an APU laptop and have decent graphics and CPU for a cheap price, or buy the equivalent iX series and have awesome CPU with sucky graphics. The numbers say AMD makes a good enough case for many consumers in this price range.

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Re: AMD still trailing

Several reasons.

First off, OS's are increasingly reliant on graphics capabilities. Even business workers want all the pretty (and sometimes usefull) effects on their desktops. A more powerfull embeded GPU helps them run more smoothly.

Also, a GPU embedded in the CPU can be more efficient, saving on power. This is a plus for businesses and consumers. For those who need more grunt, an APU can be paired with a more capable discrete card, and the discrete card can be powered down when only light graphical work is done, saving power, keeping things cooler, and prolonging battery life in mobile environments.

Possibly the more important reason is that GPUs areincreasingly used for non-graphic purposes. Even users who don't play games or use graphically intensive apps can benefit from a more capable GPU, and this is likely to become more prevalent as time goes on. So a nice APU would be of great benefit to low end systems where the workload is capable of uitilising it, and these workloads are expanding rapidly. Even something as simple as playing a YouTube video can gain in both performance and efficiency with a more capable GPU than has been available to integrated graphics users before the advent of the APU.

Finally, there is the trend towards integration. This has happenned throughout the developement of electronics, and usually leads to cheaper, better products. Moving the components from an add-in card, to the chipset, then into the processor is a logical progression which happens all the time, and usually benefits everyone.

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Re: AMD still trailing

> consumers who do care about graphics generally get discrete graphics cards.

Some consumers want a small PC to use as a home theatre PC. Having the graphics built into the CPU allows them to decode HD video, for example.

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Silver badge

Re: OS's are increasingly reliant on graphics capabilities

"Consoles are, OSes aren't."

OK, I'll give you that. I'll rephrase: GUIs are increasingly reliant on graphics capabilities. I have spent too much time around windows users and slipped. Sorry.

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Re: OS's are increasingly reliant on graphics capabilities

Sorry, I'll rephrase it myself: desktop OSes are increasingly reliant on graphics capabilities. And that's sad. On the other hand, modern OSes slowly move towards nanokernel-based architectures, which allow moving all hw/graphics processing to isolated less-privileged servers

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Anonymous Coward

Re: AMD still trailing

An APU is cheaper, stick one chip on a board instead of two chips or one chip and a graphics card.

What if your business is games design or CAD?

I do wonder if the PCbench benchmark is rigged, the AMD chip beats the Intel in the other tests yet the benchmark favours the Intel.

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Re: AMD still trailing

I work at a building company and until now, all the drawings we've dealt with have generally been 2D, so integrated graphics have been fine. We're seeing increasing numbers of packages coming through using products like Revit or NavisWorks where the content is displayed in 3D. Intel integrated graphics hurt when trying to display it, whereas an APU with a decent built in GPU might be just the ticket.

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Useless benchmarks

What is the point of using only single threaded benchmarks on a chip with multiple execution units ? I really want to know how they compare with a desktop running multiple simultaneous applications/processes and some virtual machines.

Please can we have benchmarks that show how this millenium's chips perform.

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Silver badge

Re: Useless benchmarks

Certainly: Go to a specialist hardware review site, type in the name of the CPU and filter by 'reviews'. You will find pages of benchmarks, both artificial and based on specific games, along with analysis of different platforms and future offerings. You can also check their monthly 'Best [usually gaming, but other sectors too] CPU for the money' charts. More data than you shake a laser-pointer at.

The same is true of reviews of cameras and cars... other sites will have controlled lab tests, and the tools to compare X with Y and Z.

The Reg's strengths lie elsewhere.

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Meh

The Reg's strengths lie elsewhere...

And where is that exactly??? Apart from the RBS coverage there is little on El Reg that seems worthwhile...

It has all the coherence and relevance to IT of a man with a half-full beer mug hat (with the obligatory straws) blabbering on at Speaker's Corner...

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Astonishingly atrocious, even given the standard of Reg Hardware reviews. Even I didn't think such a useless, and as said above a completely vapid article. You've just picked two items arbitrarily and barely tested either of them.

Very poor showing, outclassed by even the worst of tech sites, which given this places drastic decline [after starting a decline a couple of years ago] since the start of this year you are very much among now.

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Anonymous Coward

this places drastic decline

"outclassed by even the worst of tech sites, which given this places drastic decline [after starting a decline a couple of years ago] since the start of this year you are very much among now."

If you're that unhappy, maybe you should let The Editor know.

As of late last year, that'll be Lewis Page. You may know the name.

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Re: this places drastic decline

Hehe.

I think Lewis Page knows what I think of him, his opinions and ethics.

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Re: this places drastic decline

I doubt he even knows you exist, and in either case, why should he care?

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I am impressed

that you date the site's "decline" from approximately the same day you began commenting here. Arrogant, perhaps, but well spotted all the same!

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Mainstream desktop CPUs ?

Not to be picky but the title promised MAINSTREAM CPUs and then actually talked about APUs where the CPU and GPU and intergrated into one chip which is FAR from mainstream.

I did find it interesting since I do own an Acer W500 which has one of the AMD Fusion APUs. Also in answer to someone elses query at to what is the point.... tablets and laptops are exactly the point !

The confusion with desktop and cpu is definately showing here though !

I suggest "Intel and AMD portable APUs compared" instead :)

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So here I am, looking to upgrade from an old core2duo setup, and I'm not sure whether to go back to AMD or stick with Intel. "Great - an article that will help me in answering this prickly question" I think to myself, as I browse the reghardware front page.

I'm now even less well informed than I was before I started reading. Amazing achievement.

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Anonymous Coward

it not prickly, its clear, vy bridge i5k/i7+ NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 is it

you don't need an article and the answers not prickly in the least as of today providing you do or want to do any of these things in any combination on your current old PC or your new shiny box.

play hardware assisted 1080p HD video , Intel "quick sync", get a ivy bridge i5k

(re-)Encode hardware assisted 1080p HD video faster than real time with Intel "quick sync" , get a ivy bridge i5k/i7

(re-)Encode software assisted x264 for highest visual quality 1080p HD video , get a ivy bridge i5k/i7

want lower power usage at full full speed get a ivy bridge i5k

play casual games get an ivy bridge i5k + Nvidia (anything in the nvidia geforce gtx should be fine)

higher speed gaming get a ivy bridge i5k/i7+ NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680

programming OpenCL etc get a ivy bridge i5k/i7+ NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680

be specially careful if you Ever want o run Linux at any point then you definitively need to get an ivy bridge i5k/i7 and some low priced or high end NVIDIA GeForce GTX

want actual Open source drivers for kit before launch day again get ivy bridge i5k/i7

want to impress your friends with now much cash you saved get any AMD CPU and gfx card....

want to impress your friends with how some AMD have lower power AT IDLE, get get this AMD CPU/APU

want to hide from your friends the fact that the best kit doesn't even have Open source Linux drivers then get a top of the line AMD southern islands card, when you think about it is perfect it perfect symmetry and a bit Irish in it self given AMD scream we support Open source everywhere :)

are you seeing a pattern here yet , like i said above not prickly at all if you don't want to come to regret buying the other system and so feel the need to go online justifying your choice.

but , but MAD oops, AMD is cheaper you say, sure it is and for good reasons, it;s also

not got a hardware assisted Encode engine included in the price and the core ,

its not got a decoder that works or is even officially supported in Linux ,it ONLY officially works in windows,

clock for clock given the real like for like CPU to CPU not this crap article , AMD Never beats Intel i5k/i7 for quality x264 encoding speed.

at full load ( the whole purpose of a PC is to do actual work right so idle means nothing here) AMD will always use more power than intel ivy bridge at the same job.

dont supply any UVD (universal Video Decode documentation to write an Open source video decode driver

i could go on but you also see the pattern here right!

the choice is clear Intel ivy bridge i5k/i7 is your open source, power saving,time saving and long term money saving ,friend today, so get one.

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Gold badge
Happy

"I'm now even less well informed than I was before I started reading."

The first step to enlightenment is learning just how much you don't know.

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Anonymous Coward

AMD meets most people's needs and is a good value

Most folks do not buy the top-of-the-line over-priced and over-hyped CPU as it's a poor value and simply unneeded by mainstream consumers. I buy AMD on principle because Intel is an unscrupulous company that has been convicted multiple times of U.S. tax fraud and countless times for violation of anti-trust laws on three continents. I will never buy another Intel product as long as I live because they don't deserve my business. AMD delivers everything I need and at an excellent price so it's Intel's loss, not mine.

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Re: AMD meets most people's needs and is a good value

Whilst the sentiment is laudable, don't delude yourself about being able to avoid Intel. You might not buy their products directly, but you'll find their chips in all kinds of hardware.

I don't think they're as pervasive as they used to be, but they're still everywhere.

Oh, and my desktop is AMD/ATI, and SI is my home server, so not trying to sell you on Intel.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: AMD meets most people's needs and is a good value

"I don't think Intel are as pervasive as they used to be, but they're still everywhere."

Rubbish. Intel are not "everywhere", and have not been for years.

If it's got a computer in it, and doesn't need to run WIndows, the chances of it using an Intel x86 are basically zero. There's a massive chance that anything else, from a NAS box to a router to a TV to whatever, is running an ARM-based design, quite possibly running Linux, but other chips and OSes are available.

Outside the Windows market, x86 is dead, Jim. [Yes I know x86 servers often run Linux. But if they weren't required to also be Windows-capable, they wouldn't need to be x86-based, as Calxeda/Moonstone/etc may have realised]

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Anonymous Coward

Re: AMD meets most people's needs and is a good value

I'm smart enough to look beofre I buy... so that no Intel crap is hidden inside. :(

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Anonymous Coward

Re: AMD meets most people's needs and is a good value

i don't believe he said anything about the x86 chip , take a look at your sound chip and other controllers etc and you find low and behold an Intel chip or IP.

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Anonymous Coward

once upon a time...

...If you wanted your pc to produce any sound beyond "bip" you needed a sound card.

Today it is hard to find any motherboard *without* it and run-of-the-mill soundcards. Graphics acceleration is going the same direction.

But you can still find special sound cards for high end purposes...

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Thumb Up

I noticed that a lot of you don't seem to see the point of this article. I agree that the article itself didn't touch very well on this. What the writer was trying to compare were processor's that have integrated graphics and therefor do not require a discreet graphics card or motherboard mounted graphics chip. Both Intel and AMD make what AMD calls an APU. The benefit of an APU is that the CPU and graphics chips don't have to communicate with each other over the PCIE bus and can thus exchange information faster using a lot less power. This is perfect for very small form factor machines like MiniITX and for laptops. Machines like this are ideal for home theater PC setups or for just general office work where heat output and power usage are critical.

I think I saw several people claim that businesses have no interest in graphics. That may technically be true but businesses DO have a very keen interest in power usage. When you have an office building with 1000 employees all using computers I can guarantee every watt matters. And that's where APUs really shine. They can deliver the performance of a mid-range discreet GPU at literally half the power usage of a comparable CPU/GPU combination.

I confess that I myself built my current office machine around AMD's A8-3870. I used an Asus MiniITX motherboard with on-board wireless lan and bluetooth, and an Antec ISK-300 MiniITX case. What I specifically love about this machine is that it costs less to run than a 100 watt light bulb and when I feel like playing a game I can even run things as current as Skyrim. Not at it's maximum detail naturally, but anything older than 2 years will run just fine maxed out.

So here's my opinion on the whole Intel / AMD comparison. If you're going to build a low power usage machine like this that you want the ability to run basic games on there's one thing to keep in mind. Intel, in it's entire long history, has never managed to produce a graphics driver that didn't suck. Intel does make faster CPUs but I wouldn't bet a dollar on their ability to make a GPU that will work correctly on every game you throw at it due to their shoddy driver work.

Then there's longevity to consider. AMD uses a unified driver architecture so that only a certain minimum interface between the core driver and the hardware has to be created for each new graphics chip. Their core driver works on every OS from Windows XP to Windows 8 and will likely to continue to do so for a long while still. In addition to that, their driver package supports all their hardware going back at least 5 years. This means you will not only be able to fully utilize your hardware with the upcoming Windows 8 but it's also likely you'll be able to do so in 3 or 4 years when Windows 9 comes out. You won't get that from Intel unless you have a discreet GPU in there as well and then your power usage and heat output is right back up there.

If you want a dedicated gaming machine go with an Intel CPU with a decent AMD or nVidia graphics card. But if you want a decent office machine that runs cool an quiet while idle but can still deliver some gaming oomph when it's needed, AMD's APU is the clear winner.

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Anonymous Coward

Most Intel APUs not ready for Prime Time

Anyone who has done their homework knows Intel APUs have been a joke and not something you can actually use for graphics. Their latest effort with Ivy Bridge and HD 4000 graphics is a big step forward. The reality is that Ivy Bridge with HD 4000 almost catches up to AMD's previous gen Llano APUs - in graphics. For pure number cruching the Intel CPUs are faster but few people need exclusively just number crunching and those who do tend to buy discrete CPU/GPU solutions. AMD Llano and Trinity APUs offer all the CPU power mainstream consumers typically need with great graphics.

With AMD having recently released Trinity APUs for laptop and to OEMs for desktop PCs, Intel is once again woefully behind on graphics in their APUs - even though Ivy Bridge with HD 4000 is at least usable for graphics, where as Sandy Bridge was not with HD 2500 graphics. Ivy Bridge APUs however are over-priced, tend to run hot and only ~5% faster than SB. So for anyone looking for an APU based laptop or desktop AMD is the only practical choice unless you have more money than good judgment.

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Anonymous Coward

"What the writer was trying to compare were processor's that have integrated graphics and therefor do not require a discreet graphics card or motherboard mounted graphics chip. Both Intel and AMD make what AMD calls an APU." sure most get that, and on the flip side the thing is most don't get the obvious point here

that thing what AMD calls an APU everyone else calls a SOC (system On a Chip) they also dont see the balance here, AMD use 50% of their core to put their gtx on there and people are told that's good, Intel uses something like 33% for their gfx and so that must be back right.

BUT here's the catch, a slightly faster gfx SOC and a far slower AMD CPU/SIMD that cant do realtime 1080P encoding is not as versatile overall as a currently slightly slower and smaller Intel Gfx die and far better and faster Intel CPU/SIMD ,

Intel does and will continue improving their CPU/SIMD and Gfx by x2 on the next tick/tock,and the open source code for that is already in the public linux GIT for anyone to read and use in their open code apps,.

AMD have never really improved their CPU much and their /SIMD is exactly the same as it always was SLOW, and AMD cant even write and release their NI Linux code 6 months after the thing has been on sale, and you even have to be very careful what Laptop and external 3rd party AMDgfx card you buy Today as they also officially dropped loads of these still on sale amd gfx products drivers from their updates, so your stuck if you didnt double check that obscure list of different AMD names they use too

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Thorfkin thanks

That's exactly was I was interesting in knowing; I just need a modest pc to play the occasional non-cutting edge game in addition to the usual range of pc uses.

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Mushroom

Someone better get fired

This article would have been relevant in June of last year. Unfortunately the Trinity-generation AMD processors are already on shelves, I walked past a desktop with A10-5700 at a big box store three days past. That chip is quite amazing.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Stop

If you know anything about modern CPUs, mainstream is in $125 through $250 range, and there's not that much choice there -- most cost/power efficient ones are still Intel's Core i3 and i5 (especially 22nm i5-3xxxK ones), period.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-overclock,3106-4.html

"CPUs priced over $220 offer rapidly diminishing returns when it comes to game performance. As such, we have a hard time recommending anything more expensive than the Core i5-2500K.. Even at stock clocks, it meets or beats the $1000 Core i7-990X Extreme Edition when it comes to gaming."

I'd still recommend 3470K over 2500K because of lower TDP though.

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