It’s hard to choose between an Intel or AMD CPU when it comes to executing complex codes. The only thing that matters in the programming is the single-core performance of a CPU. And for decades, Intel chips have been battering AMD chips when it comes to per-core performance.
Now the thing is, what type of coding you are into? If you are simply just a beginner who is learning how to code, then both Intel and AMD processors are good at entry-level coding tasks. However, if you are into executing complex programming tasks like Python, AI, Java, and C++, then you have to choose carefully between AMD or Intel processors.
So should you go with Intel or AMD? Well, it depends on the type of programming workload you are dealing with. For basic coding tasks, any Intel or AMD processor would do the job. However, high-end programming tasks like game development, software development, data analysis, machine learning, or writing complex AI code would require you to have a higher clock speed processor with multiple threads.
Intel or AMD for Coding/Programming
Let’s assume that you are a professional software developer and not a beginner who is still learning how to code. In this case, you will need a processor with a lot of cores. At the time of writing this article, both Intel and AMD chips are competing to get the top spot in multi-threaded workloads.
Intel with its hybrid-core architecture leads slightly ahead of AMD when it comes to complex workloads. The presence of P/E cores distributes the workload efficiently on Intel chips, making them way faster in coding or web development tasks.
But the problem with Intel CPUs is that they are expensive as compared to their AMD counterparts.
AMD CPUs on the other side offer great multi-threaded performance at an affordable price. Take the example of the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G packed with six cores and 4.4 GHz boost cock speed to crush any type of coding workload.
And if we compare the Ryzen 5 5600G with Intel’s Core i5 10600K, then the former offers you the most value for the money in programming or software development tasks.
Comparison Based on Different Factors
Here’s an in-depth comparison of Intel and AMD when it comes to production workloads.
The foremost factor that every coder and software developer is concerned about is the price. There was a time when AMD chips were cheaper as compared to Intel counterparts.
But things have changed quite a lot with the start of the year 2023. And now AMD chips are relatively close enough or slightly more expensive than Intel chips. According to Tomshardware, AMD is outsourcing its packaging operations, which is increasing the overall cost of the chip.
Another reason for AMD charging almost similar to that of Intel chips is because of backward compatibility. Apart from the CPUs that are natively made for AM5 sockets, every previous generation AMD CPU easily sits on your older AM4 motherboard.
Intel on the other hand offers the best bang for your buck in its mid-range lineup. And just to let you know there are many mid-range processors from Intel that are enough to execute heavy codes involved in software development.
Unfortunately, Intel CPUs aren’t much adaptable with old-generation motherboard sockets. So going with an Intel CPU may require you to buy an entirely new motherboard for that specific generation chip.
Obviously, you will need a processor that consumes less power and doesn’t dissipate a lot of heat. AMD puts a lot of devotion into making their chips energy-efficient. For a very long time, some of the best CPUs from AMD came up with a maximum TDP of 65W.
Intel has always struggled to cut down extra “Watts” from their equation. It wasn’t possible unless Intel came up with “Alder Lake” chips equipped with P/E cores for better power consumption.
However, when it comes to direct comparison with AMD, Intel’s Core i7-13700K hits 253W under the full workload. On the other side, AMD’s favorite AMD Ryzen 7 7700X still manages to keep it under 142W most of the time.
So if you are a software developer looking for a laptop, then going with the one that has an AMD chip inside it would give you a decent battery life. AMD brings better overall power efficiency and transistor density, thanks to the TSMC’s 7nm process.
C++ is the most energy-efficient language followed by Ada and Java. If you are a C++ or Java programmer, then going with either Intel or AMD is your own choice.
Although, how fast a CPU executes a code cannot be measured unless you run real benchmarks. Coders or software developers who are involved in complex coding tasks cannot figure out which is faster in code compilation performance, Intel or AMD.
One way to find out is to run open-source software like Chromium Code Compiler. And this is the point where Intel’s Core i7 13700K takes the lead over AMD’s Ryzen 7 7700X chip.
For handling code compilation workloads, top-tier CPUs in the Core i7 or Core i9 still show better performance. The graph above shows that it took 3731 seconds for a Ryzen 7 7700X CPU to compile a code whereas the same job was done by an Intel Core i7 13700K in 3335 seconds.
But within the same graph, you can look at the Ryzen 9 7950X sitting at the top of the list outperforming the Core i9 13900K.
This shows that if you move up the ladder, you’ll get slightly more performance with AMD chips. At the same time, this will require you to throw more cash on the table in order to buy a new AM5 motherboard.
When it comes to getting a workstation for productivity tasks like coding or game development, no one goes for a Ryzen 9 or Core i9 chip at all.
Most of the time, programmers or software developers will go for any Core i7 or Ryzen 7 Series chip, and this is the section where Intel shines the most.
Let’s don’t get into too many details and stick to the basic factors that make a CPU good at coding, and that is the higher clock speed and multiple threads. Both the current generation Intel and AMD CPU easily fits into this equation without doing any complex mathematics.
When it comes to advanced programming like Python, Intel opts for Intel Distribution for Python, a package that runs core numerical and machine learning for compiling Python code into optimized instructions.
Even in complex game designing engines like Unreal Engine, the Intel Core i7 13700K shows 57% faster performance than the Ryzen 7700X.
This is a less important factor to consider, but for programmers, this does make some sort of sense. Although processors are more secure from bugs and malware than they were before the year 2008.
Intel’s hardware-enabled security technology helps in defending against malware and evolving cyber-security threats these days. This latest technology is rooted by Intel in most of its chips to help secure data and improve device integrity.
But if we recall the past events, then Intel CPUs were more vulnerable to cyberattacks due to a number of potential exploit paths.
But like I’ve said earlier, things have changed with the introduction of improved hardware-based security in Intel processors, and there’s nothing to worry about.
AMD in order to prevent any threats makes use of Microsoft Pluton security, technology that is integrated right into AMD processors as a security feature.
In terms of security, there’s a tie between Intel and AMD as none of these chips have been affected so far by any cyber threats or viruses. So as a programmer, game developer, or code learner, both Intel and AMD offer better security features.
Based on all the facts and research, Intel still owns the top spot when it comes to compiling codes in C++, Java, Python, etc. Unless you are planning to build a high-end workstation with a lot of cores, Intel truly gives you the punch of performance that you require in heavily threaded productivity tasks.
AMD manages to outperform Intel in the top-tier lineup, which surely costs you a lot of money. If you are building a high-end workstation server for coding, then I’ll recommend you go with an AMD CPU that has a lot of cores/threads on it. Maybe in this case you will need a Ryzen 9 Zen 3 CPU or a Threadripper CPU.
But if your coding needs are limited to yourself, no matter if you deal with complex code compilations, then Intel is your best go with. Intel still has no rival in breaking the higher clock speed barrier, a factor that you need to take into account in a computer meant for programming workload.
Hi, this is Masab, the Founder of PC Building Lab. I’m a PC enthusiast who loves to share the prior knowledge and experience that I have with computers. Well, troubleshooting computers is in my DNA, what else I could say….