I was just wondering what makes Intel so much better than AMD. I noticed that the i7 is around 2.66 ghz while an AMD phenom xII 965 runs at 3.4 ghz. Is it their architecture. or what? thanks in advance..
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Yes, it's all about the architecture. And while intel is easily WAY better than AMD if you have a very fat wallet, AMD is still preferred by people like me who want a decent computer at a decent price (500-800 dollars.) So they both have their ups and downs.
One of the main reasons for this is Intel's superior Nehalem microarchitecture. This microarchitecture is a lot more efficient and smart compared to AMD's microarchitecture for its Phenom II processors. This is the main reason why a 2.66 GHz Core i7 920 is superior to the 3.4 Phenom II 965 processor. Which for your information is why AMD currently still has no answer to Intel's Nehalem processors. An Intel Core 2 Quad still is on par or superior to AMD's Phenom II processors.
Also, if you take a look carefully, the Intel processor has more cache than the AMD processor. More cache means less chance required to fetch instructions or data from RAM, since the CPU get it directly from the cache which is integrated on the CPU.
For gaming, where games are mostly bottlenecked by the video card, Intel's advantage is negligible.
For non-gaming purposes, the Intel processor shines because the video card is no longer a bottleneck. Now the performance factor is the CPU. Remember, the Nehalem microarchitecture is superior. Basically Intel CPU can process more instructions per second so for non-gaming purposes the Intel processor dominates.
For non-gaming purposes with applications that are multithreaded and thus can make use of all cores of a processor simultaneously, the Intel CPU has a major advantage. Why is this? Sure, both CPUs have 4 cores, but if we look deeper, we come to realize that the purpose of a core is to process one thread at a time. But with Intel's Hyper-Threading Technology, each core can process two threads at a time. This means that an application that is multithreaded will run a lot faster on an Intel CPU because it can divide its work into 8 threads for the Intel CPU as opposed to 4 threads for the AMD CPU for simultaneous processing.
For games that are multithreaded, the Intel CPU with its Hyper-Threading Technology will be superior obviously. Yes, the bottleneck is still on the video card but in these circumstances, getting the Intel CPU helps because there is actually also a bottleneck on the CPU. So there are two bottlenecks, one on the video card, and the other on the CPU.
For example, take GTA 4. An Intel Pentium 4 with ATI HD 4890 will experience low frame rates, while an AMD Athlon II X4 620 with ATI HD 4890 will have playable frame rates.
Now that's not to say the AMD Phenom II 965 which can process fewer threads than the Intel Core i7-920 is a bad idea for multithreaded games. I was just using this an example. In fact, the AMD Phenom II 965 can play any game you want, multithreaded or not, it is AMD's top gaming processor. In other words, both of these processors are overkill for gaming.
Hands down, in a comparison between these two, the Intel Core i7-920 processor is much more powerful.
In short its whats called IPC (Instructions per Clock). Right now, Intels CPUs from the Core 2 to the Core i7 have had better IPC, just like how AMDs Athlon 64 and Athlon X2 had better IPC than a Pentium 4 or Pentium D.