Is AMD (NYSE:AMD)’s Carrizo Better than Broadwell?

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When it comes to computer processor manufacturers, only two names are worthy of mention in any such discussion: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and Advanced Micro Devices AMD (NYSE:AMD). Truly, these two companies have been competing neck to neck for the past many years in the IT industry, one upping each other in clientele, and innovation. Now, both the companies have entered the battlefield yet again, this time Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) with its new Broadwell chips, and AMD (NYSE:AMD) with its Carrizo chips.

In recent times, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) has taken over the majority of the total microprocessor industry’s market share, beating out AMD (NYSE:AMD) to become the dominant force in the market for microprocessors. According to experts in the field, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) has been able to achieve this feat mainly because of its competitive prices – its processors are relatively cheaper than those of its main competitor, and it also offers solutions to its clients which are more accommodative in nature.

Now, at the 2015 CES, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) made a huge announcement: the Broadwell chip family, which has been designed for thin notebooks of low-power architecture. AMD (NYSE:AMD) couldn’t stand back and watch Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) glisten in all the glory, hence simultaneously made the announcement of the release of its Carrizo processor, made for machinery of a similar nature that Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)’s Broadwell processors have been designed to cater.

So, which chip is better? By simultaneously making the announcement of their chips, both Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and AMD (NYSE:AMD) have allowed analysts and experts to assess how equally the companies stand as far as their technological innovation potential is concerned. By simply comparing Carrizo and Broadwell, one of the two microprocessor chip manufacturers can be declared victor in this race. However, maybe a comparison is not even necessary, as some analysts have already declared the Carrizo chip family victorious in this competition.

According to analysts, even though Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) has given more competitive solutions to its clientele, AMD (NYSE:AMD) has been developing stronger and more powerful microprocessors. So is the Carrizo chip really more powerful? Well, its design surely is. While Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)’s Broadwell processor is built on a split-die architecture, the Carrizo processor by AMD (NYSE:AMD) uses a single die to perform its functions.

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)’s technology uses a 14-nanometer die for core functions, and then a 32-nanometer die is used to perform all peripheral functions. The Carrizo, on the other hand, uses a 28-nanometer die only, performing both core and peripheral functions of the system on the one die. This speeds up the processes, maybe just a tiny bit, but also raises cost (making Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) the cheaper option, as always). But such an architecture results in a stronger chip design, hence Carrizo takes the lead.

Another key function where AMD (NYSE:AMD)’s Carrizo takes the lead is the ability to decode H.265 video streams directly on the board. On the other hand, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)’s Broadwell processor cannot do this, and requires another graphics card of a dedicated nature to decode media files of such a complexity. Carrizo takes the lead yet again, as it is then able to decode H.265 media at a much faster rate because of the dedicated hardware capacity that Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) has failed to provide in its Broadwell processors.

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  • Chris Fiebelkorn

    Sean, your article is full of so many flaws that I had to chuckle. I’ve been a long time fan of Team Red (AMD). The truth is AMD has only been able to compete with Intel on price for a long time. AMD’s processors are MUCH cheaper than Intel’s. Intel’s are several times more powerful and efficient, but more expensive. To compare Broadwell to Carrizo is like comparing Lions to Tigers- yes they’re both cats, but they have different strengths. AMD’s are shrinking, however, with Broadwell. AMD’s APU processors stressed graphics processing over the more traditional CPU power. Intel, the exact opposite. Broadwell has narrowed the gap on GPU power, and further widened the gap on the CPU side. In fact, Intel’s Iris Pro 6xxx Broadwell chips will easily beat AMD’s Carrizo integrated graphics processing. Again though, you pay much more for Intel’s high end parts. AMD is the best “bang for your buck” and tends to dominate the budget to midrange markets. Their chips (Carrizo) would be perfect for Chromebooks and other low to midrange laptops, but ARM and Intel have saturated those markets.

    • Kenneth Brockert

      This is just flame war waiting to happen. I just want to say AMD chips aren’t MUCH cheaper. Just google for gods sake u can get $40 chips from both manufacturers and if u want the faster one its gonna say Intel on it…

      • Chris Fiebelkorn

        Yeah, I have to agree about the flame war potential Kenneth. I tend to favor AMD, but if money isn’t a concern…it’s Intel for the win. A $40 Intel chip isn’t even going to compare to the value of an AMD chip though. I disagree with you there. My main point was just to address some of the authors points. A few were even ironic.

      • john

        Nope at same price you will always end up with a slower intel

    • amandra

      This incorrect. Having used an Intel i7 GPU in my main laptop and comparing it to a cheap prior gen amd apu, Intel would have to leap two generations to catch up to amd, let alone surpass, with regards solely to internal GPU. In fact the current intel GPU units are incredibly inefficient heatwise. They’re known to not manage themselves properly and hit a constant step down/step up state while gaming.

      If you game on a mobile device amd stomps Intel. Broadwell won’t change this at all. Everything else tips intel….but to claim GPU…you’re nuts.

      • Chris Fiebelkorn

        Amanda, I’ve benchmarked Kaveri (A10-7850k) against an Intel i5-4570r and an i7-4750, both with Intel’s Iris Pro integrated graphics and yes all are desktop SKUs. The i7 model easily outclasses AMD’s APU all day long. The i5 comparison does provide some intriguing results, but in tradition CPU processing loads- AMD cannot compete. Any benchmark on The Net will back this up. Phoronix.com illustrates the best case scenario for AMD. In the integrated graphics though, Iris Pro just about matches Kaveri over all. Ironically, if you check openbenchmarking.org you’ll see that Iris Pro has higher real world compute scores. Intel’s OpenCL (Windows) support is even better. Both are ironic points since they’re two things AMD markets hard on. Having said all this, I tend to buy AMD since it’s cheaper and the higher CPU power doesn’t matter that much to me. I care more about the parallel processing power in the iGPU. As far as mobile, though, your point is interesting. “Mobility” means you’re able to pick it all up and go, right? Battery life being a main factor, correct? Intel is in a league of its own when it comes to efficiency and battery life. Broadwell is even beating out current ARM chips in Chromebooks in terms of battery life. So, you’re not very mobile if you’re chip isn’t easy on the battery. I always buy Intel or ARM for mobile devices, and AMD for desktops where it’s largely a moot point.

        • amandra

          Stopped reading midway after all the fanboy benchmark garbage. Benchmarks are nonsense. I benchmark my pcs after a new build just to see, but it means nothing. It either performs or it doesn’t. And using ”
          outclasses” followed by “about matches’ is certainly odd. Anyway since amd brought the apu to the market I’ve used it in my media centers. I have intel in my main box and I wouldn’t do it any other way. I even tried using my old intels in the media center but the power draw was too high compared to what amd can do…for media. Benchmarks are dangerous…every player on the market has been caught gaming their product to the popular ones. This practice doesn’t serve consumers at all. In action amd has it’s strengths and intel has many…I’m afraid amd is losing ground which is bad for the market. But right now…amd blows intel away in onboard gaming. A benchmark doesn’t note the fact that intel is designed to overheat to achieve numbers…but try playing with fps fluctuating from 10-60 every minute, while the cpu turbines up and down. Even if you’re an intel fanboy you should be rooting for amd to keep prices in check. Blatant disregard for common sense and blind review evangelization serves no one. I’ve used every other gen of both manufacturers. There is still a place for amd, lets hope if stays that way.

          • Chris Fiebelkorn

            Perhaps you should read through it then, because you’re actually agreeing with quite a few of my points. I’m not an Intel fanboy, I tend to favor AMD because they’re the under dog and I like what they do. Intel used to buy off manufacturers and the tech media, which is definitely bad and partially why they were investigated and fined across the globe. However, Intel’s sense of fairness and morality doesn’t directly mean wins for AMD- neither does the blind fanboism. Intel produces more efficient, more powerful, and generally more expensive chips. Do some of them outclass AMD’s offerings? Yes, just about everyone that begins with an “i” and a “7″. Again, as the owner of both chips who plays a few games, Iris Pro matches Kaveri’s GPU prowess over all. Some games favor one over the other, but overall they’re equal. Except one cost me $170 and the other is listed for $450 on Intel’s Ark registry. To be clear, there’s zero competition on the CPU side of things, Intel wins. My “about matches” comment was directed at the iGPUs. Think about all the single threaded work loads most users encounter everyday, like web browsing and office tasks- that’s the majority of users. The gamers and home media PC builders represent the minority. You can argue facts all day long, but they don’t change. AMD needs to do better, and I think they will with Jim Keller’s “Project Zen”. Google it. As for benchmarks, they are meaningful especially if you check your sources. OpenBenchmarking.org is clearly unbiased. They have some of the most favorible results for AMD that you can find.

          • amandra

            Can only guess you game at 860 x 480. Cuz any modern game caused my Intel to flip out, rather than underperforming it tries then overheats then steps down…rinse repeat…give both a real test and you’ll see the difference. Its one thing to not pull it off…easy to figure out the settings…its another to pull it off for ten minutes then fail miserably with random stepping. Makes for an abyssmal experience. There’s no excuse for that.

          • Chris Fiebelkorn

            Mainly Skyrim, with 20-25 mods, & Civilizations: Beyond Earth, both at 1080p and custom medium to high settings. My FPS never drops below 35 or so. Skyrim favors Intel’s single threaded dominance, and Kaveri does well on CivBE since it uses Mantle. This over heating issue you keep mentioning must just be happening to you. None of my Intel, or AMD, chips have ever acted anything even remotely close to what you’re describing.

          • amandra

            Try an mmo. With the heavy CPU burden MMOs deliver plus the requirements of 1080p the damn Intel goes into a stepping epic fail. Gw2 is my main culprit. All low, less than 1080p, it still steps like crazy. The amd will perform at optimal from the get go making it easy to find the right settings, which are ironically better a gen back. Even in civ4 I notice the CPU gets insanely hot compared to my old amd.

          • Chris Fiebelkorn

            The new APUs based on 28nm bulk silicon don’t handle the thermals as well as the 32nm SOI Richland and Llano series. The old Phenoms, which were fantastic chips- even today, still handle heat better. It’s the same story with Intel. Haswell runs hotter with a higher TDP than Ivy Bridge. In both cases, I think it’s because they’re cramming more complexity on each die. They moved the voltage regulator on die with Haswell, and I believe AMD just did the same with Carrizo. According to ExtremeTech, node shrinks are supposed to help with heat, but I’m not sure that’s completely true.

        • john

          A a10 5750m with an ssd can go for 4-5 hour watching movies/office work/browsing on a laptop with a 35wh battery(i know i have one)… i call that more then reasonable. Carrizo should be able to go for 6+ hours on same battery if claims are backed by facts.

    • joedaddy

      So if you’re saying Intel if focusing on traditional CPU performance, while AMD is optimizing their chips for graphic performance, then my money’s on AMD since that’s the way the computer industry is going in general.
      It used to be GPUs where only needed for gaming, but with 4K video recording on our phones, and even graphic intensive websites, you’re going to need some decent graphics rendering.
      So I will agree that Intel has a better CPU, but when you have to pair that with a dedicated GPU to get by, then AMD is offering a better deal hands down.

      • Chris Fiebelkorn

        That wasn’t my point. In fact, I said Intel really closed the gap on GPU power with Broadwell. The 6xxx Pro parts even beating any of AMD’s iGPUs. I do agree though that AMD’s future may be a bright one if they can hold on. The truth is, without competition Intel will stagnate. We need competition to drive further innovation and keep the consumer prices down. The REAL loser amongst the group is the one you haven’t heard about: Nvidia. They’re truthfully a one trick pony now. Project Denver has proved a failure especially compared to Apple’s newer A chip in the iPad Air 2. The more Nvidia shrinks in market share, the more AMD can grow and profit in the GPU sector. Intel’s iGPU across all spectrums are finding their way into more and more devices now too. Chromebooks are starting to almost entirely come in Intel only flavors, and most Windows laptops have dropped the dGPU in favor of single chip designs which are less power hungry and allow for thinner designs. The enthusiast who is OK with a giant plastic laptop that gets 3hrs of battery life represents a small niche market. This is where Intel has begun to dominate and AMD, starting with Carrizo, has an uphill battle to fight.

        • AA

          That why nvidia had to come out with things like maxwell where performance and efficiency increase by a wide margin, without that nvidia would have been like 3dfx, but really nvidia have been hurting AMD desktop graphic sales a lot ever since the 970 and 980 came out. Let hope the r9 380 or something comes out on time to beat the hell of maxwell

          • Chris Fiebelkorn

            True, Maxwell has definitely helped keep them relevant. All the current, and next gen, consoles are being designed with AMD’s APUs however. Most users, and enthusiasts, buy expensive GPUs for gaming. A very small group of us bit mine or do 3D design. Most just want to play big name games at max settings. Consoles are whats on the minds of major developers, first and foremost. PC games tend to be ports or after thoughts, usually. This means Nvidia’s lead over AMD will shrink as games are optimized for AMD’s architecture. This will affect Intel too, but Nvidia will be hit far harder. Even most Steamboxes are sticking with Intel and AMD. If Nvidia can’t get a console deal, or switch gears and focus on high end computing & content creation- then they’re in trouble.

          • john

            Nvidia is in big trouble in pro line too… look at s9150 vs any tesla nothing can beat it in any metric relevant to the market… nvidia needs 2 chips to beat 1 amd chip… it is really sad really… on the other hand if you don’t need dual precision you can go with a 295×2 which is a monster by any ranking…

        • john

          Broadwell u 50k in icestorm
          kaveri mobile 50k in icestorm….

          Sorry but unless carrizo brings no improvements it will be beaten by 6xxx series. Remember carrizo comes also with pixel compression making the bw problem almost go away and let the chip stretch its legs. It will take a hd 6xxx with edram cache to equal carrizo… and that is a huge cost adder

  • TimS

    To say that Intel has a market advantage because their cpus are cheaper is a blatant fallacy. As a pc builder who builds unbiasedly with both AMD and Intel I am constantly monitoring prices. Over the past few years no AMD cpu has come close to Intel I7E prices. And no I am not saying that AMD has had a chip that performs at that level but AMD has been staying alive by continuing to provide consumers with reliable lowbuget processors.

    • Kenneth Brockert

      I don’t think they mean all the Intel CPUs were cheaper. Price per performance Intel is the way to go. You can get an older core 2 duo in a laptop that bests the latest AMD. You can get a fast AMD, but lately they’ve been making cheaper more efficient chips that, let’s face it, are slow.

      • amandra

        Core 2 duo…really??? apparently you know nothing of PC parts…

        • Kenneth Brockert

          No obviously you think more cores is more important than actually doing something fast. Which is why time and time again people come in our shop with $250 brand new laptops with AMD quadcores clocked @ 1.6GHz and they want 16GB of ram cause its slow. When they could have gotten an older one with a core 2 duo that’s much faster. I fix computer and sell them in a shop and know plenty. Cores aren’t everything and obviously you can get a slow core 2 duo too but were arguing about price here…

          • amandra

            Duo is irrelevant…nice straw man. The core 2 is the ignorant part. You couldn’t pay my to use a free core2 over a recent amd apu. It’s ignorant of the capabilities of these two massive generation gap technologies to claim you could do so.

          • Kenneth Brockert

            Well have fun with that. They’re slow as dogs and the money you paid for it could go towards an older laptop with a discrete GPU and faster CPU. If you’re trying to tell me the e-350 is better than any core 2 because it has a 6310 glued on then youre the one who knows nothing about computer parts

          • amandra

            Transcoded 1080p on a core2. I rest my case.

          • Kenneth Brockert

            http://cpuboss.com/cpus/Intel-Core2-Duo-SP9400-vs-AMD-E-350
            how many average users transcode videos? None. They want it to be snappy, they want smaller load times. I’m done arguing with you

          • amandra

            If you were done you wouldn’t reply. Actually a fair portion of users stream media of their PC now, so yes this is very very common. How is trans-coding exclusive of a snappy computer? It’s actually an excellent example of a common and reasonable consumer demand that a core2 couldn’t do and a 2-gen old amd can. You made the comparison not me.

          • john

            Load times are dictated by hdd speeds… plus a fx 7600p is an excelent laptop chip only equaled by i7s… so stop babling you know squat. You’re stuck 2-3 years ago. Even a a10 5750 is an excelent laptop chip.

            Want a laptop to be snappy install an ssd… see it fly

          • joedaddy

            I do agree that the first gen AMD APUs such as the e350 are considered slow, but they were specifically made that way to compete with the intel Atom line. Which were comparable in size, power and heat, but were much better in performance.
            If you want to compare Core 2 Duo with an APU you need at least an A4, which is actually compared to an i3.. A6 to i5 and A8/A10 to the i7.

      • AA

        what you must be kidding, for laptops anything behind sandy bridge would not be able to compete with amd latest kaveri chip unless you are talking about A4/A6. Heck for haswell igp they only manage to compete with the richland igp which was based on its old vliw4 design. I expect carrizo to further increase igp performance by around 20% sweeping broadwell non iris parts under and maybe another decent cpu performance improvements to around the level of sandy bridge while having haswell power efficiency

      • john

        That is total and utter bs. A kaveri can literally stomp on a core2duo, it has an ipc off about 60% of a haswell which is about 40% higher in ipc then c2d. Besides 1 kaveri module is about the size of 1 intel core. Aggregated score of a 4 core kaveri should be about 2.5x the one of a c2d. Carrizo should close the gap to haswell to about 70-75% of haswell per core. Also carrizo cores are 20% smaller then kaveri… so now a module will be even smaller then 1 intel core while providing an estimated 140-150% total throughput in multithreaded aps and about 70 -75% in single threaded which is fine because that gap can be easily filled by frequency boosts. I expect a 3ghz broadwell to get beaten by a 3.5-4ghz carrizo in any and all metrics but perf/watt(after all broadwell has a massive process advantage)

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