Difference between AMD and Intel

Key Difference: AMD and Intel are two different companies that are competing with each other to capture the semiconductor industry. The major difference between the two is price, while Intel offers high prices for its products; AMD offers cheap prices for the masses.

Anyone who has ever gone shopping for a computer or a laptop has heard the names AMD and Intel. Both of these companies are big players in computer microprocessor and semiconductor chip markets. These companies have been serving as the biggest competitors to each other and have even faced a few litigations. Though both the companies produce microprocessors, semiconductors and other computer hardware, they are different from each other in many ways.

AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) is an American multinational company that creates semiconductors, processors and other hardware for computers. It was founded in 1969 and has been in a constant battle for market share with Intel. Intel Corporation is also an American multinational company that produces semiconductors and other hardware for computing systems. It was founded in 1968, one year before AMD and has managed to capture approximately 70% of the market.

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In an attempt to capture the market it is often under legal disputes as it has been known to employ a lot of ‘underhand’ techniques to maintain the leader in the market. In 1975, AMD and Intel had a short partnership working on Intel’s 8080 microprocessor for IBM. However, that partnership quickly dissolved with each company starting its own endeavors. While, Intel’s objective is to provide the most technologically advanced systems, AMD offers the customers’ value for their money. AMD processors are usually cheaper compared to Intel processors of the same architecture.

The main rivalry between the companies is often boiled down to motherboards and processors.

The primary difference between AMD and Intel motherboards is that they only accept the same kind of processor. Hence, an AMD motherboard would only work with an AMD processor, and likewise, an Intel motherboard will only work with an Intel processor, and not the other way around.  The reason for this is the fact that each processor requires a different socket type. Intel motherboards have LGA 1156 and LGA 1366 sockets, while AMD motherboards have AM2 and AM3 sockets.

However, the fact that an AMD motherboard would only work with an AMD processor, and likewise for Intel, the sales and market share of Intel and AMD motherboards directly correspond to the sales and market share of Intel and AMD processors. The number of slots and the amount of RAM that the motherboard can accommodate is mainly dependent on the make and model of the motherboard. This of course has an effect on pricing. Hence, a motherboard with more SATA ports and/or with more RAM compatibility will cost more.

Pentium is the brand of processors that belong to Intel, while AMD sells the processors under the AMD name itself. The Pentium processor is a consumer-level product. It is placed higher than the low-end Atom and Celeron products but below the faster Core i3, i5, i7 and the Xeon processors. As compared to Intel Core, Pentium has a lower clock frequency, a partially disabled L3 cache, in addition to disabled hyper-threading and virtualization. One of the main difference between the processors is the fact that Intel is often more expensive than its AMD equivalents. This generalization also applies to Pentium. This price difference is often driven by Intel, as it often holds the top spot when comparing the performance of microprocessors.

Also, Intel processors, such as Pentium have longer pipelines than AMD processors. This allows them to have a much higher clock speed than what could be normally achieved. However, AMD has found another way to compete with the increased clock speed, in the means of storing and accessing the CPU memory.

Intel Pentium processors store their memory in an L2 (level 2) cache. This is almost double the size of AMD Athlon processors’ cache. The L2 cache is a memory bank that stores and transmits data to the L1 (level 1) cache. The L1 (level 1) cache in turn, stores and transmits data to the processor itself. Hence, the larger the L2 cache, the faster the processing speed.

AMD Athlon processors have roughly half the L2 cache space of a Pentium processor; however its L2 cache space is integrated directly into the processor itself. This allows AMD Athlon processors to access their cache data much quicker than Intel Pentium processors, providing a faster processing speed despite its size.

So, even though technically AMD Athlon processors’ clock rate and cache space are listed as less on paper, it provides comparable performance to Intel Pentium and all at a relatively lower price.

Both the companies aim to come out with the next best thing and stay a step ahead of each other. Hence, their products are always closely related with minor differences that each of the company thinks will make their product better. Due to this, the processors of the two companies are virtually the same.








May 1, 1969

July 18, 1968


Jerry Sanders, Edwin Turney

Gordon Moore, Robert Noyce


Rory Read

Paul Otellini


Microprocessors, Motherboard chipsets, Graphics processors, Random-access memory and TV tuner cards.

Bluetooth chipsets, flash memory, microprocessors, motherboard chipsets and network interface cards.

Stands for

Advanced Micro Devices

Intel Corporation

Company Type



Listed on




Sunnyvale, California

Santa Clara, California


AMD processors are cheaper compared to Intel processors.

Expensive compared to AMD processors.



As technology wise, Intel is believed to have superior processors that outperform the AMD processors.

Market Share

According to PassMark’s CPU Benchmarks in the fourth quarter of 2012, AMD held the market share of 27.5 % for x86 infrastructures.

According to PassMark’s CPU Benchmarks in the fourth quarter of 2012, Intel held the market share of 72.5% for x86 infrastructures.

Image Courtesy: wallstcheatsheet.com, wccftech.com

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