I s AMD facing a perception issue? After a decade in the doldrums the company has come roaring back. There’s no doubt that both Ryzen and Threadripper offer performance and value, and yet I still face questions from friends and colleagues that look past the price lists and the benchtesting results (both ours and the many others). They tell me that AMD CPUs run hot, and that they’re behind Intel for raw performance. When neither is true.
It’s telling just who has these mindsets. It seems to me that the prejudice comes from people who only occasionally look closely at the CPU market and rely too much on the oft-repeated heat and performance claims that were valid at various points in the last decade pre-Zen. A decade is a very long time in tech, so it’s no surprise those cliches have become entrenched. However, in the face of new contradictory data since Ryzen and Threadripper were launched, they are still reluctant to move away from Intel. Does AMD have to prove the worth of its products for a longer period to shake those notions?
Most interestingly, the professional Threadripper is taking a good chunk of the HEDT market. But in consumer-land Intel still holds a solid lead. Last month we approached several system builders, the people on the front line that sell PCs. Threadripper is taking up to 40% of professional sales, according to some, but Ryzen is still dwindling at less thatn one tenth of comparitive Intel PCs being ordered. Is what we’re seeing a pure re ection of the types of people that look only to ROI at the time of purchase, being what we can assume are typical Threadripper customers? And that people that buy PCs for home use, perhaps gaming too, just feel safer with Intel?
I’m sure the sands will shift over time. Take a look at out B450 motherboard round-up this issue. For less than $150 you can have a board that offers good features and performance, and all this in a world where super-premium $800 motherboards seem to be the new trend. That’s value an average consumer can’t ignore.
Look at the new Threadripper 2 CPUs, which we’ve reviewed in this issue. It’s a remarkable engineering achievement but I think the big thing here is that AMD hasn’t slowed down. Having such a mighty CPU follow so soon after its rst iteration will give many people the con dence that this isn’t all a momentary ash in the pan. For professionals it’s relatively straightforward to make a buying decision and I’m quite certain Threadripper 2 will continue AMD’s momentum in that space.
Gamers are always performance-oriented, and tend to do good research too. But, they’re also a crowd that is swayed by tiny performance differences, and Intel still offers single-digit percentage leads over Ryzen. There’s next to nothing in it, though, and we’re only looking at people that game and only game. Many more want to do more with their machines so unless Intel comes up with an extrordinary set of products for its 9th-gen we could be heading for an equilibrium in the consumer market we haven’t seen since the early 2000s.