The $700 Gaming PC Battle – AMD vs Intel
Last week we built a gaming PC for around $700, more specifically an Intel gaming PC, and a lot of you guys were disappointed by that because we didn’t go with a Ryzen config. But I mentioned how I was going to compare that Intel system to an AMD based system for about the same price to see what the performance differences are in gaming and some other tests. I’ve picked my parts for AMD and I ran my benchmarks. Looking at those numbers, it really is eye-opening, and I think I’ve come up with a better conclusion. Let’s take a look at that.
Intel Gaming PC Parts List
Here’s a quick rundown on the parts list that I use for the Intel build. The CPU is the Core i5 9400F featuring six cores without hyper-threading. For memory, I went with Corsair Vengeance 16GB LPX kit clocked at 2666 megahertz. The motherboard of choice was the ASRock B365M Phantom Gaming 4. For storage, I went with the Silicon Power A80 NVMe SSD. The GPU choice was the EGA GTX 1660 SC Ultra and powering the entire hardware was the Corsair CX 450M power supply. All of this was enclosed inside the Phanteks P300 case. The total cost of the system was around $700 when we bought them, but around 692 when you include the mail-in rebates.
Building the Price Equivalent AMD PC
We decided to put together an AMD Ryzen based PC for the exact same price, and this is what we came up with. The CPU of choice is the Ryzen 5 2600 – it features six cores, 12 threads and it’s unlocked, which means we could overclock it slightly to see if that would make any difference. Plus, it can be picked up for $118 which is $27 cheaper than the Core i5 9400F. We decided to stick with the same memory kit from Corsair just to keep up with the price.
For the motherboard we went with the MSI B450 Tomahawk priced at $112, which is $26 more compared to the B365 Phantom Gaming 4 from ASRock. Generally, B450 motherboards are a bit pricier compared to B365 or B360 motherboards. The trade off is that you get overclocking support with B450 as well as more features and connectivity.
The remaining components are basically a copy and paste from the Intel build. That includes the SSD, the power supply, the graphics card and the case. After gathering price points from these two systems, they even out. I’m sure you can even replace the motherboard with something cheaper to bring down the cost, and there are a million combinations that you can go with. Please do keep in mind that the prices that you’re seeing here will likely not be the same when you’re shopping around for the exact same components because they do tend to fluctuate. Some online retailers tend to bundle the CPU and the motherboard. In fact, you could pick up an AMD B450 motherboard and an AMD processor for a really good deal and save some dollars and spend that budget towards potentially a better cooling solution or maybe a better graphics card.
Before I get into the performance results, I do want to take this time to appreciate AMD’s Wraith Stealth cooler that comes with a CPU. It looks a lot, and I mean a lot better than this ugly Intel stock only solution. The design on this Intel cooler has been the same for the past decade, and that is unacceptable. They better address this fast and please no ketchup and mustard cables. I also ran a noise test on both these coolers to see which one does a better job with acoustic performance. Surprisingly the Wraith Stealth does a better job at cooling the processor – definitely a bonus.
Here is the final AMD build and I love the way how it looks – the Stealth cooler really makes a world of difference. The Tomahawk board also blends in with the case well and all around I really can’t complain about the system.
Intel vs. AMD CPU Performance
And now the moment that you’ve been waiting for: Performance. How do these two CPUs stack up with each other, especially in gaming and other tasks? Before I get into that, I do want to mention that I did manage to overclock the Ryzen 5 2600 to 3.8 gigahertz on all cores at 1.275. I didn’t really want to push it too high because the stock cooler isn’t a robust cooling solution for extreme overclocking.
Comparing the Intel build to three different settings on the AMD PC because with Intel is just one setting and that is stock, you really can overclock the processor because it’s locked. It is kind of a bummer. The three different settings for the AMD build is stock and then stock with an overclocked or faster memory speed, and the overclocked Ryzen 5 2600 with the faster memory kit.
I do want to emphasize that the price difference between the Corsair 2666MHz kit and the Corsair 3000Mhz kit is only $3. Starting with Cinebench R15 and R20, the Ryzen 5 2600 takes the lead here over the 9400F and that was expected given those extra threats. However, single core performance did take a hit because Intel was able to achieve higher clock speeds, and swapping the memory for a 3000MHz kit didn’t really do all that much. However, overclocking the 2600 did help improve performance across all of these tests. As you can see with Blender, it shaved over 30 seconds, which is pretty impressive. Cinebench runs definitely get a boost including Geekbench as well but unfortunately, single core performance is still not AMD’s strong suit compared to Intel; That’s just the way how it is.
Content Creation Performance
Onto the content creation side of things, I decided to not run Adobe Premiere this time, but instead utilize DaVinci Resolve Studio. Personally speaking, I ditched Adobe Premiere a long time ago because of the crazy glitches and all that kind of stuff that I’ve been experiencing on my personal system. Ever since the switch to Resolve it has been a flawless experience. And what’s surprising to me is that running Resolve on both the AMD and Intel system was did not experience stutters or crashes, and playback was absolutely smooth. It also rendered videos a lot faster than I thought it would. And as you can see B Corps, I find CPU rendered our 10 minute 4k project to H.265 in 6:14, while the Ryzen 5 2600 took an extra 15 seconds to complete the render. I know what you’re thinking shouldn’t the Ryzen CPU be a lot faster because it has six cores and 12 threads, and the Intel should be a lot slower because it doesn’t have hyper-threading?
Technically yes, but I think I may have an explanation for this because as I was monitoring CPU utilization, I noticed that the Intel CPU was clocked significantly higher, reaching 4GHz on all six cores with utilization at 100%, but with the Ryzen CPU, all the cores were not even boosting past 3.6GHz and the utilization was not even reaching 90% – it was around 82-90%. That was something that I wanted to point out, which is probably why there is a difference between the two but it is a close call and both systems work great for editing video.
Intel vs AMD PC Gaming Performance
I ran all of these benchmarks attending NDP and as you can see, the majority of the games that I played favor the Core i5 9,400F like Battlefield One, Overwatch Far Cry Five and Warhammer 2 where as the Ryzen 5 2600 takes the slightest edge over Intel in Apex Legends and Shadow the Tomb Raider but it’s nothing significant.
The numbers really do speak for themselves, and honestly, I can’t pick a winner between these two systems because they gave me an amazing game experience overall. When I started benchmarking them, I was able to tell which one was faster because Intel did take the lead in some titles. Then again, AMD was not too far behind, I didn’t have an issue gaming on it and I still had fun. I think that’s the takeaway from this whole comparison because it’s amazing that we have competition and it’s great that we have this vast selection of hardware that we can pick and choose to build with, and I think that’s a good thing.
There’s nothing wrong going with both these platforms. It’s all about having a good time and being able to hop into a game and play. I mean sure, you benchmark them to verify that your hardware is running right, but you don’t benchmark them every single time when you’re playing a game, you just want to get in and have some fun.
That being said, I was surprised by the Core i5 processor and its performance with DaVinci Resolve Studio 16 because those six physical cores actually do mean something. Now, I’m not really sure what the story would be like when you switch over to Adobe Premiere because it doesn’t have IGP and that could certainly prolong the rendering time. But if you look at something like Blender, the Ryzen definitely takes the edge over Intel because those threads do come in handy and the difference is significant between the two.
This has certainly opened my eyes and it’s been an interesting journey comparing both Intel and AMD. I’m glad that I did it because this is was great to see the results. Let me know what you guys think about this comparison, and which one would you pick in the comments down below, or if you have any other combinations that you would like us to try. If you want us to challenge ourselves to build something less than $500, maybe we should and that’d be interesting. Thanks so much for reading our under $700 PC comparison.
Buy items in this review from Amazon at the links below:
Z390 ITX: https://geni.us/Z390PHANTOM
Recommended AMD Config:
Ryzen 2600: https://geni.us/Ryzen2600
Ryzen 2600X: https://geni.us/Ryzen2600X
MSI B450: https://geni.us/B450Tomahawk
Corsair 3000MHz: https://geni.us/V3000
Recommended Intel Config:
ASRock B365: https://geni.us/ASROCKB365
Corsair 2666MHz: https://geni.us/VENG2666
EVGA GTX 1660 SC ULTRA: https://geni.us/EVGA1660
SP 512GB SSD: https://geni.us/SP512GB
Alternate – Sabrent 512GB SSD: https://geni.us/SAB512
Phanteks P300: https://geni.us/PHANP300
Corsair CX450M: https://geni.us/CX450M
Cooler Master Hyper 212: https://geni.us/H212B
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