The question from time immemorial: Intel or AMD for an upgrade?

My old motherboard died 2 weeks ago so now I need a new CPU, motherboard, and RAM. I've been agonizing over whether to choose Intel or AMD during this time. My old build lasted a good 6 years with only a GPU upgrade and I hope the new one can keep on trucking for a good while.

The points I've been thinking about:

  • Intel has better performance in almost all games.
  • Tomshardware recommends the Ryzen 7 2700X as Best overall gaming CPU
  • Intels 1151 socket will be obsolete next generation whereas AMD will support AM4 for at least one more Ryzen generation, giving the option of a cheaper upgrade in 2-3 years.
  • I have a GeForce 1070 and primarily play on a 1080p 60hz monitor, sometimes on a 4K TV, and my next upgrade will probably be a 1440p monitor. If gaming at higher than 1080p then all CPUs are equal because you are GPU limited (even on a 1080 Ti).
  • Should I therefore buy a cheap CPU now and wait for a GPU upgrade?
  • What will this look like with the next generation of GPUs?
  • Some games have added great support for multiple cores/threads resulting in Ryzen CPUs taking the top spots in their benchmarks (See Tomb Raider benchmark here). Will upcoming games make similarly good use of multiple cores? We know that both PS4 and Xbox One have 8 low frequency cores (PS4: [email protected], XBO: [email protected], XBOX: [email protected]) so it makes sense to think that games will make increasingly better use of multiple cores. Or maybe just a pipe dream?
  • Above point means Ryzen is more future proof?
  • Again, Intel has the best performance in almost all current games.

Surviving parts from my old build

PCPartPicker part list

Storage: Samsung - 850 EVO-Series 500GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
Storage: Western Digital - Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Video Card: MSI - GeForce GTX 1070 8GB Video Card
Case: Fractal Design - Define C ATX Mid Tower Case
Power Supply: OCZ - ZS 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply

What I'm mulling over
AMD Ryzen 5 2600 (6 cores / 12 threads)
AMD Ryzen 5 2600X (6/12)
AMD Ryzen 7 2700 (8/16)
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X (8/16)

Intel Core i5-8400 (6/6)
Intel Core i5-8600 (6/6)
Intel Core i5-8600K (6/6)
Intel Core i7-8700 (6/12)
Intel Core i7-8700K (6/12)

I'm sure there are more people on the forums than just me struggling with this choice today who would really appreciate some valuable feedback.

Thanks!

ABA

Always Buy AMD. Especially if you have budget for a 2700K.. I would buy that over an 8700K in a hearbeat. You won't notice the small % increase in gaming performance..especially not at 1440P or 4K.. in fact you may pick up a few frames into 2018/19

But why would you choose the 2700X over the 8700K if both fit in your budget? The 2700X and 8700K builds I've made are nearly identical in price so it is only now a matter of reasoning for one over the other.

I'd choose AMD because it's far more likely I'll be able to keep it upgraded for much cheaper. 1151 is long in the tooth and Intel doesn't design their accompanying chipsets with the future in mind anyway. AMD differs in that regard. To me, the minimal (and shrinking) performance boost with Intel barely justifies the short term cost increase. Long term AMD's model blows it out of the water. IF (big if) Intel decides to emulate AMD in this regard, their current generation hardware will be dumped for a new architecture. If not, it'll still get dumped anyway - like it always has.

Is upgrading with the same motherboard possible, and even that significantly beneficial at the rate CPUs are advancing any more (which is to say, not as rapidly as they used to)?

They've committed it to being possible through 2020, which will be a decent time frame for an interim upgrade.

Dr.Mister wrote:

But why would you choose the 2700X over the 8700K if both fit in your budget? The 2700X and 8700K builds I've made are nearly identical in price so it is only now a matter of reasoning for one over the other.

AMD is more consumer friendly and has a competitive product at $30 less in price.

I'm debating this as well. I only use my PC for gaming. So no streaming, etc. Still go for Ryzen 2700x?

Balthezor wrote:

I'm debating this as well. I only use my PC for gaming. So no streaming, etc. Still go for Ryzen 2700x?

At the moment it seems like Intel would give you more, but the difference would be invisible unless you are gaming on a 1080p 144hz monitor. Single/few core workloads seem to be better on Intel, but those that really can make use of all the threads will be significantly better on 2700X.

The real unanswerable question is, which one will perform better on the next generation of graphics cards and games

Lets face it we are talking about single digit % differences even in the cases where one or the other really shines.

When I bought the parts for my PC in 2014, it was Intel all the way. Started with an i3 with 8GB RAM, and upgraded in 2016 to an i7 of the same generation (Haswell) and a second stick of RAM. My son's PC built earlier this year was AMD. We're hoping for the same sort of longevity but even better upgrade potential, as the AM4 motherboard we bought won't be generation-specific.

EDIT: If you want to be less pragmatic, it's nice to reward AMD for stepping up to compete, differentiate themselves, and maybe just make Intel get up from the laurels they've been resting on.

I'm really glad that this is actually a question now. With my last two builds the only answer was Intel.
If I built now I'd go AMD unless the performance difference would be noticeable.

MrDeVil909 wrote:

If I built now I'd go AMD unless the performance difference would be noticeable.

The correct choice right now, IMO.

I have an X370/1800X system and a Z170/6700k system. My 1080Ti has been in both systems. I run a 1440p 144hz monitor.

If you aren't doing 1080p and 120hz+ both and also playing with a frame rate counter up all the time on top... what difference there is is so small you'll never notice it.

And you wouldn't be rewarding Intel for forcing people into new motherboards every generation for no good reason.

I plan on going AMD for my next build.

MrDeVil909 wrote:

I'm really glad that this is actually a question now. With my last two builds the only answer was Intel.
If I built now I'd go AMD unless the performance difference would be noticeable.

Same. Nice to have a discussion again. I built my last PC in 2014 and it's about time for an upgrade.

It is really nice having credible options again. AMD was awful for such a long time. It's nice to see them really delivering again.

Sadly, the guy who designed the core of this architecture left AMD and went to Tesla for awhile, and now he's at Intel.