Intel versus AMD Microprocessors for Laptops

As you read the pages of my website, you will come to realize that I am a major fan of Intel microprocessors.  My many years in the computer business have shaped me this way.  There was a time when I was a much more vocal proponent of AMD products.  That was many years ago though.  That was before laptops were really all that prevalent.

My Experience With AMD Based Computers

AMD has always been more of a value brand of chip.  For the most part they have always been a little better value because of their ratio of price to quality.  All of that changed some years back for me.  My repair shop has cranked out thousands of computer repairs over the years.  One thing that came to my attention over a period of time was that it seemed there were an excessive number (my opinion) of computers with AMD microprocessors in them that would come into the shop with burned out CPU’s. 

I am sure that a lot of that was not totally the fault of AMD.  I am quite sure that a lot of it was more the fault of the cooling systems that were being used in conjunction with those chips.  The cooling was inadequate or just plain faulty.  Then the chips would overheat.  An overheated chip would usually lead to additional component failure in things like the motherboard and/or the power supply.  Actually, in a lot of these computers I would find multiple component failures.  I was never sure which component failed first.  It is entirely possible that the AMD chips were well constructed and that the fault really should have been placed on the manufacturer of the motherboard or power supply.  I just thought it was odd that the CPU’s were burned out along with the other components.

One thing that became all too apparent was that all of the lower quality computer manufacturers were primarily shipping units with the AMD chips.  I presume they did this mostly because of the costs.  The end result was that most of the really low quality computers that I considered to be complete junk were built all around these AMD microprocessors.

Too many years of low quality systems mostly running AMD brains led me to develop somewhat of a disliking for AMD based units in general.  That same dislike carried right over into the laptops.

When laptops started gaining popularity and we started seeing more and more of them come in for repairs, I realized that an awful lot of the AMD based units were really underpowered for what they were being asked to do.  People would say that they don’t need much power to surf the internet and read emails.  This is true.  The problem is that the computers they were buying would come pre-loaded from the factories with all kinds of software with memory resident modules that loaded every time you started up the computer.

So, your laptop wasn’t just running the basic thirty something Windows’ services that were standard with Windows XP.  Instead those computers would be running somewhere around sixty different modules that required a lot of computing power to manage.  The end result for the computer owner was a laptop that was slow right from the get go.  These chips were just too slow in speed (Ghz) and had to little built in cache to run the computer at a speed that I thought was acceptable.

People would bring in these laptops right after they bought them online and ask if there was any way to speed them up.  These people were obviously disappointed that they had made the purchase decision that they did.  All you could really do for them was to add some additional RAM plus turn off any unnecessary Windows services and start-up programs so that there was less load on their underpowered system. Those people really regretted ever buying those slightly cheaper laptops.

Intel Does Not Get Off The Hook Entirely Though

I don’t want you to think that AMD was all alone in under powering computer systems though.  Intel sold a line of chips called the Intel Celeron microprocessor that I never liked.  Again, here was a chip that had too little cache in my opinion for a good user experience.  Consumers were also bringing in those laptops for service complaining that the damn things were too slow from day one.

Again, all you could really do for them at a reasonable price was to boost the RAM somewhat and to tweak Windows to minimize the amount of computer resources it was consuming.

I never liked that Intel Celeron microprocessor and I still do not like it.  Do yourself a favor and make sure you aren’t buying an old laptop that has that Celeron processor in it.  You are far better off spending an extra $50 or so to upgrade that CPU in my opinion.  You will not regret it. You aren’t going to find the Celeron in new new computers any more. You will still see them in refurbished models or used computers if that is what you are looking for. Don’t buy them.

Other Reasons I Prefer Intel To AMD

  • It seems that all of the major breakthroughs in recent years that deliver exceptional increases in performance to microprocessors have been coming out of the Intel Corporation.  I get a sense that they have always employed the best engineers in the business.


  • When you study the charts of how certain microprocessors perform under normal user conditions, the Intel microprocessors are consistently rated as better performers compared to AMD.


  • Intel microprocessors are ridiculously reliable.  They just don’t go bad.  They just don’t.  I have seen computers that were exposed to extreme overheating.  The Intel CPU never smoked.  You could just fix the underlying problem with the cooling system and business would be back to normal.  These chips are ultra-durable.  What more can I say?


  • Intel has a history of continually increasing the amount of cache memory that is integrated into their microprocessor products.  Having more cache is one of the most important things you can look for in a chip to gauge its performance capabilities.  Chips with more cache cost more money.  You can definitely see the performance increase under the right conditions though.


  • I know quality when I see it and I am happy to pay a premium to get it.  The difference in price between the Intel and a comparably powerful AMD chip is not enough to make me go with the AMD chip. 


Unless Intel microprocessors ruin their image of being ultra high quality or unless they start over-pricing their chips, then I will remain a fan.  I will continue recommending that people stick with Intel.