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Today we’re considering the Ryzen 9 vs Intel i9, to see which high-end CPU is better for you.
There are a lot of components to consider when building a gaming PC. One of the most important is the CPU. Your processor has a huge impact on the performance of your PC as well as the other components you can build it from.
There are basically only two players in the gaming CPU game, these are Intel and AMD. Of these two producers AMD’s Ryzen 9 chips and Intel’s core i9, represent the pinnacle of both companies’ technology, the cream de la cream of CPUs.
Here we will be focusing on the latest interaction of these chips, as this provides to most up-to-date information. This means it is a head-to-head between the Ryzen 7000 range and Intel’s 13th generation i9 chips.
With the recent release of the Ryzen 9 X3D range, it makes sense to do this comparison now, as a new range of incredibly powerful gaming CPUs has potentially raised the bar.
We’ve broken our comparison down into several sections, in order to give as complete an overview as possible. We’ll be discussing the architecture, performance and compatibility of each CPU to make sure you can make an informed purchase. Let’s get into it.
Ryzen 9 vs Intel i9 – Architecture
The differences between Ryzen 9 and Intel i9 processors largely come down to architecture. All Ryzen 9 CPUs have Zen 4 architecture while Intel i9 chips carry Raptor Lake. Let’s start with Ryzen.
Zen 4 is the first 5nm desktop CPU ever produced. This smaller size aids performance. According to a press release from AMD, the architecture has 29% single-core improvements over Zen 3. As well as this it is far more efficient than its predecessor boasting 62% less power draw at comparable levels of performance.
Intel meanwhile uses the powerful Raptor Lake architecture, which sees improvements of 34% for multi-core and 11% for single-core, over the previous Alder Lake.
Read more: Best CPU cooler for Ryzen 9
Like with Alder Lake, Raptor Lake uses a mix of both E-cores and P-cores, these each specialises in different things. P-cores are geared towards power and performance, offering sheer speed, while E-cores are energy efficient.
Intel uses a Thread Director to coordinate between these cores, ensuring processing tasks are distributed in the most sensible way. This means that i9 processors can achieve incredibly high speeds while maintaining good overall efficiency.
Ryzen 9’s Zen 4 cores are all the same, though still incredibly powerful and multi-threaded. Let’s have a look at how these differences in architecture affect performance.
Ryzen 9 vs Intel i9 – Performance
There are several different CPUs under the Ryzen 9 and Intel i9 umbrella. All are top-end and powerful chips, ideal for intensive gaming though exact performance varies depending on which one you go for.
AMD has just recently released their new X3D range, and amongst that is the Ryzen 9 7950X3D. This CPU is the most powerful CPU for gaming currently available, thanks to its stacked cache technology. It should be noted that this means this CPU is entirely geared around gaming and offers less high-end results for other, multi-core intensive computing activities.
Read more: AMD Ryzen 9 7950X vs 7950X3D
This is significant though and means that if you want the most powerful CPU available Ryzen 9 is where you need to look. Benchmark data from AMD shows the 7950X3D performing, on average, around 10% faster than the i9 13900K.
However, this is just when gaming, in general activities the 13900K is superior. What’s more, the most powerful CPU for Intel, the I9-13900KS is the first 6GHz desktop processor. Meaning it has a clock speed faster than anything offered by AMD.
While AMD does pip Intel at the highest level, for the less expensive CPUs in the Ryzen 9 and Intel i9 ranges, those from Intel tend to offer similar single-core performance for a slightly lower price, and often significantly better multi-core performance. Keep in mind, however, that if you’re building a gaming PC multi-core performance is less important.
Ryzen 9 vs Intel i9 – Compatibility
While the 13th gen Intel i9 processors do often perform better and do so for a competitive price, there is a catch. That comes down to the socket type of the processor. Knowing what kind of socket your CPU uses is vital as it will have knock-on effects for what kind of motherboard you can purchase.
The latest generation of Ryzen is the first to use AM5 sockets. AM5 increases pin density allowing for 230W power draw and increasing the bandwidth for DDR5 and PCIe 5.0. This means, however, that you may have to buy a new motherboard if yours uses the previous AM4 sockets.
That said, you can be confident that Ryzen will be using AM5 for a good few years, which means you will have the ability to upgrade your CPU multiple times without having to change your motherboard.
Read more: Best motherboard for Ryzen 9 7900
On the flip side, it has been confirmed that the 13th Gen Intel i9 chips will be the last to use LGA 1700 sockets. This means that if you opt for the latest Intel i9 chip, you are committing yourself to upgrade your motherboard the next time you want to change your CPU, driving up costs.
How much of a concern this is for you depends on how concerned you are with keeping up with the latest technology. All Intel i9 CPUs are incredibly powerful and so are unlikely to be outdated anytime soon, meaning that for many gamers this won’t be a major issue. Though the future-proofing Ryzen 9 brings will put some people’s minds more at ease.
Ryzen 9 vs Intel i9 – Price
Ryzen 9 and Intel i9 chips are both the top end of what AMD and Intel are producing, meaning that all the chips here are premium and expensive, though there is a range of options within each.
At the top end, the Ryzen 9 7950X3D and the 13th gen Intel i9-13900KS both cost $699, a high price for a high-performing processor. In a head-to-head between the 7950X3D vs Intel Core i9 13900KS Ryzen’s chip does perform better, but this is not where the story ends.
This is because gamers will have to upgrade their motherboard in order for it to be compatible with Ryzen’s latest socket type, increasing prices. On the other hand in the long run this might be a money saver, as Ryzen’s new socket will be supported for longer, meaning your new motherboard will be compatible with future upgrades, this is not the case for the Intel i9-13900KS.
In other price categories, Intel i9 does tend to actually pip Ryzen 9, while generally offering similar gaming performance and improved multi-core performance.
Which one should you go for?
It is hard to say whether there is a clear winner here, as is common it comes down to your exact preferences and needs.
If you want the most cutting-edge and powerful gaming CPU available right now, that is offered by Ryzen 9’s 7950X3D chip, though you will have to significantly invest in a new motherboard as well as the chip itself.
That said if you do so, you can be confident that the motherboard will last you a while, with the option to keep upgrading your CPU. This also means that if you are building a brand new PC the Ryzen 9 makes more sense, thanks to its commitment to support AM5 sockets for a while to come.
If you are interested in a CPU with excellent gaming performance that can also excel at other tasks, an Intel i9 PCu makes more sense. The same is true if you already have a PC built with an LGA 1700 motherboard, as you will only have to buy the PCU itself to harness Intel’s processing power.
Intel Core i9-13900KS
P-cores 8 / E-cores 16
P-cores 6 GHz / E-cores 4.3 GHz
AMD Ryzen 9 7900X
Frequently asked questions
Can I overclock the Ryzen 9 7950X3D?
Unlike previous generations of X3D chips, those in the 7000 series are not locked to overclocking, meaning that doing so is possible, though no small feat. Make sure you have a suitable motherboard and cooling components before you do so.
Is an Intel i9 CPU overkill?
For most people, an Intel i9 processor will be overkill. This is because the sheer power it is capable of is more than is necessary for most computing tasks. However, for demanding games, it can allow for higher frame rates and higher resolutions. This means that, providing you have the right GPU and monitor, it could be worth your investment if you are looking for the best PC gaming experience possible.