Intel goes on the defensive against AMD at Gamescom

(Image credit: Future)

Intel has been talking up its processors at Gamescom 2019, hosting an event where it admits that AMD, its chief rival, has “done a great job closing the gap, but we still have the highest performing CPUs.”

If that sounds a little defensive to you, we agree. We were at the event in Cologne, Germany, and there was a bit of a feeling that Intel wanted to remind everyone that while AMD has been getting a lot of positive news lately thanks to its new Ryzen 3000 series of processors, when it comes to gaming, Intel still has the best processors.

At the event, Intel’s Troy Severson said that “when we introduced the i9 9900K… it was dubbed the fastest gaming CPU in the world. And I can honestly say nothing’s changed. It’s still the fastest gaming CPU in the world.”

Holding an event to essentially say that ‘nothing’s changed’ and ‘we’re still the best’ felt a little odd, and we (and many others) left feeling that Intel was a bit rattled by AMD’s recent success. At one point, it even talked about how it was sending anthropologists to live with gamers to study their habits – which doesn't sound like a job we'd fancy doing.

i9 9900K vs Ryzen 9 3900X

Severson compared the Core i9 9900K to the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X in, what he stressed was “real-world testing” and highlighted how games compare on the similarly-priced processors, with the i9 9900K having the edge, despite having fewer cores than the 3900X (eight cores versus 12 cores).

However, as Dave James of PCGamesN observes, the fact that AMD has a processor with more cores and similar performance to Intel’s chip for the same price is one of the reasons why AMD is enjoying such positive headlines.

At the event, Intel showed us slides that compared gaming performance of the Ryzen 7 3700U against its 10th generation Intel Core Ice Lake processor. Both these chips are low powered (25W) processors designed for use in laptops, and the slides showed the Intel chip having a slight edge in most – but not all – games.

Intel also highlighted how its previous generation Intel Core i5-8300H entry level mobile processor offers the same or better gaming performance than AMD’s new Ryzen 7 3750H.

The event also saw Intel showcase its Intel Performance Maximizer tool, which will automatically overclock unlocked 9th generation Intel Core processors for an easy boost to performance.

So, while Intel concedes that AMD is doing well, it’s also keen to underline how it’s still the king when it comes to gaming performance. Could this be a sign that AMD’s success is putting pressure on Intel? We hope so – as Intel is at its best when it’s being challenged.

As Severson said, “Don’t get me wrong, AMD has made massive strides catching up, but the 9900K is still the best processor for gaming.”

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.