For a while now Intel has been the leading competitor in processor performance, with AMD trailing slowly behind with their budget versions releasing later on. So for a long time if you wanted the same performance but cheaper, you’d have to wait a good 3-6 months before AMD’s counterpart was released. Now though, the competition is starting to step up, and AMD is slowly catching up to Intel.
This is great news for us as it drives the prices down, and means we don’t have to wait as long for the same performance on a cheaper chip. But who will pull ahead in the future? Is 2020 going to be Intel’s year? Or AMD’s? There’s a lot of stuff coming out (rumored or not) so let’s have a look at the roadmap for each major manufacturer and talk about one of the technological defining points between them. All unconfirmed reports are purely speculation.
Release Period Intel AMD 2022 H2
Zen 5 (5nm)
Ryzen 6000 series CPUs
Meteor Lake (7nm)
13th Gen desktop CPUs
Alder Lake (10nm)
12th Gen desktop CPU
Zen 4 (5nm)
Ryzen 5000 series desktop CPUs
Rocket Lake (14nm+++)
11th Gen desktop CPUs
Tiger Lake (10nm++)
11th Gen desktop CPUs
Zen 3 (7nm)
Ryzen 4000 series desktop CPUs
Comet Lake (14nm++)
10th Gen desktop CPUs
¬¬p_id:2710[Ryzen 3 3100]¬¬
¬¬p_id:2711[Ryzen 3 3300X]¬¬
Ice Lake (10nm+)
10th Gen Mobile CPUs
Zen 2 (7nm)
Ryzen 3000 series desktop CPUs
¬¬p_id:2622[Ryzen 9 3950X]¬¬
¬¬p_id:2641[Ryzen 9 3900]¬¬
¬¬p_id:2640[Ryzen 5 3500X]¬¬
First up, we have Intel’s roadmap which is a bit more extensive than AMD’s (if you take into account all the rumors/leaks), but is also a little bit more mysterious in some ways. First of all we have their upcoming 10th Gen Comet Lake CPUs, which are set to launch in Q2 2020 (who knows if that’s still happening because of the pandemic though).
And that’s it in terms of upcoming Intel CPUs, at least those that have been announced officially. There are more rumored like Tiger Lake, Rocket Lake, Alder Lake, and Meteor Lake all supposedly coming out in 2020, 2021, 2021 again, and 2022 respectively. Though, that is if you believe all the rumors/leaks to be true.
For now though, Intel is actually a step behind AMD in terms of process size, as we have yet to see a 10nm desktop CPU from Intel, at least until Comet Lake officially releases soon.
Next, we have AMD who are still on track to bring their next-gen microarchitecture, Zen 3, later this year which will be the basis for the Ryzen 4000 series processors. The zen 2 architecture is what is currently behind the Ryzen 3000 series chips with a 7nm processor size, and Zen 3 will still utilize the 7nm processor size when it comes out towards the end of the year. Zen 4 is also planned to arrive in 2021, but with a 5nm processor size instead.
This means that, in terms of technical specifications, AMD is currently ahead in the processor technology market as Intel still struggles with 10nm manufacturing size. What’s interesting though is that Zen 3 isn’t labelled as 7nm+, but that’s to do with their manufacturer, TSMC, and their new labels for process sizes, which is a whole other story.
The big takeaway here is that AMD is pushing ahead quite significantly for now, but Intel will no doubt catch up in the future, and Zen 3 microarchitecture is just on the horizon. But AMD is adamant that they won’t be falling behind Intel again and stressing that they will continue to be a direct competitor.
The interesting thing here is the difference in processor sizes, or manufacturer size, or lithography (these are just a few of the names that the nanometer size goes by, as far as we’re aware they all mean the same thing, but let us know if you have more info regarding the meaning behind the names!). A processor size regards the distance between transistors, a smaller size means more transistors can be packed onto the chip, which in turn can increase power and efficiency.
Obviously there’s a lot more to it than that, but that’s the basic principle in a nutshell, Intel’s 10th gen CPUs are looking to be powerhouses of CPU tech, but so is AMD’s current lineup that has a smaller processor size. So in the end, does it really matter that much? Or should we all be brushing up on our tech knowledge in the coming years?
Overall though, AMD’s roadmap is looking much more solid for the near future, whilst Intel is clearly struggling to keep up for now, but the 2 are most certainly neck-and-neck when it comes to CPU performance and price differences.
Whilst the difference in nanometer size is definitely significant, to most consumers and players this won’t mean much, at least not for now. What do you think though? Why is AMD ahead of Intel here? Is it significant enough for every player? Let us know!