The Processor War is Heating Up

There is a full-scale processor war happening right now. It started about a year ago, and the intensity has grown since. AMD and Intel have both made some exciting recent announcements.

We’ll take a look at what is new and how you can benefit from the grueling competition.



Intel has long been the market leader for performance processors. Last year, they faced the first legitimate threat to their throne in over a decade. As one might expect, they have responded to AMD’s new series of processors with several advancements. Within the last year, they offered several new lines that maintain high performance but cost significantly less. Now, they are deep into the release of their 8th generation of Core processors.

While the architecture hasn’t been completely reworked, the newest releases offer noticeable performance enhancements (typically on the order of 20 percent) over the previous generation. The biggest improvements in the 8th generation are in power draw and thermal design power. The latest Coffee Lake units can operate on a substantially lower draw. Most of the new releases this year need only 45W to operate, enabling them to run cooler and in a wider range of devices.

Among the releases are a few standouts. First among them is the i7-8086K. If you’re a long-time hardware enthusiast, you might recognize the numerical extension. It’s a throwback to Intel’s very first processor, the 8086, released 40 years ago. This anniversary processor is a limited edition model that offers 8th-generation improvements on the company’s flagship processor. It clocks a ridiculous 5GHz on the 6-core, 12-thread chip. It still uses the 14 nm architecture of the previous generation, but it will notably outperform the previous intel champion, the i7-8000k\K.

The other big announcement has generated a lot of buzz. Intel has announced a new 28-core processor. The name has not yet been revealed, but we do know that it is a single-socket chip and will utilize 56 threads. We also know that it will maintain a clock speed of 5GHz without overclocking. The behemoth processor is set to release by the end of 2018. We don’t yet know the price point, but considering this single CPU can outperform entire small networks, it isn’t likely to be cheap.



AMD is riding the success of a huge year. They brought complete upheaval to the CPU market last year, and they’re trying to maintain that momentum through 2018. They’ve already announced the bulk of their 2nd generation of Ryzen chips. Across the board, they have announced higher clock speeds, better performance and lower comparative prices over the previous generation. Six different models have been announced so far, and they range from budget chips to high-end PC performance.

Alongside the new Ryzens, AMD is also releasing APUs on their new 12 nm architecture. These APUs will allow moderately high-performance rigs to completely forgo the need for a dedicated graphics cards. For anything but the highest graphics demand, they can slash price points for new hardware.

Still, the biggest announcement thus far has been of the new Threadripper 2. The original Threadripper debuted in 2017 with 16 cores and 32 threads. The latest model, set to release in the third quarter, will have 32 cores and support 64 threads.

To fully make their point, AMD announced the new processor one day after Intel’s announcement of their own 28-core processor. According to AMD, the processor will be able to operate with an air cooler. Clock speeds and pricing will be announced later this year.


The Battle

You can see quite plainly that these two companies are both ready to go to war. Anyone purchasing hardware already began to see benefits last year. The cost-per-power of processors dropped precipitously.

As the war grows hotter, that price ratio continues to plummet. The next two to three years may prove to be one of the best times in the near future to upgrade systems and invest in processing power. If you’ve had budget concerns or hesitation with regards to investing in big data, you now have a golden opportunity.

AMD has already announced that they will release 7 nm chips by the end of 2020. You can expect Intel to match those announcements. The best part of this war is that you can benefit even if you don’t intend to purchase hardware. Cloud computing and offsite resources should be able to offer more power for less money as these new lines of processors replace older models. We don’t know who will ultimately lose this war of the processors, but the winners will most certainly be the consumers.

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About the Author: Jeff Poirior

Jeff brings 25 years of telecommunications and information technology management experience in voice and data networking, server support, and telephony and security; with a significant emphasis on customer service. Prior to joining Valicom, he was chief of the infrastructure support section for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Jeff was the vice president of operations for CC&N, overseeing telecommunications, help desk, data and desk side support services. Prior to that, he served as the associate director of technical resources for Covance, responsible for managing systems and network operations supporting 1700 users in Wisconsin and Virginia. He has also led data center operations at Magnetek Electric, supporting mainframe systems, client/server applications, telephony systems, and computer-aided design. Jeff holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Cardinal Stritch University and a master’s degree in business administration from University of Phoenix. In addition, Jeff is a past board member of the Wisconsin Telecommunication Association.