Intel’s position in the CPU market can be best described as precarious. The move to the 10nm node is more than two years late, and even now that the mobile Ice Lake-U chips have started shipping, there’s still uncertainty regarding the availability of the 10nm chips. Meanwhile, AMD has fully migrated to the 7nm node, and the Zen 2 chips have started wreaking havoc on the mainstream Intel lineups.
Intel’s latest laptop processors are the 8th Gen chips based on the Kaby Lake refresh. Architecturally they are identical to the 7th Gen lineup, and to be fair the 9th Gen Coffee Lake processors aren’t a whole lot different either. Sure, the core count has been bumped up across the generations, but that also increases the TDP and thermals, making things especially worst for the mobile variants.
AMD has started chipping away at Intel’s market share in all the segments of the PC market, and the notebook space is one of them. In fact, nowadays buying an AMD processor doesn’t mean that you are making a compromise in performance because of your limited budget. Instead, you usually get better performance for cheaper. The same can be seen in case of the Lenovo Thinkpad lineup where the Ryzen 5 3500U in the Thinkpad E495 is much faster than the similarly priced Core i5-8265U in the E490 and that too with a lower power draw.
Sure, in terms of the IPC and single core performance, the Intel chips still are ahead of the 1st and 2nd Gen Ryzen processors, but the multi-threaded performance is where the red team’s processors shine. Furthermore, the coming of Zen 2 has significantly improved the IPC of the Ryzen 3000 lineup, pretty much aligning them with the Coffee Lake parts.
The multi-threaded superiority of the Ryzen SKUs becomes more apparent in the multicore Cinebench test, where the Ryzen 5 3500U consumes just 11W to run at 3.1GHz, while the Intel chips consume 25W and are slower in the sustained load test. Team blue’s CPUs are limited to 15W (sustained) and the i5-8265U is 25% slower than the Ryzen 5 on an average. This can also be attributed to the 3500U’s steady performance while its Intel counterpart suffers drops every now and then.