AMD vs Intel at CES 2022: Who Won This Year?
Intel and AMD held press conferences to kick off CES 2022, and both companies ran announcements across mobile, desktop, and graphics devices. Although there were enough reveals to turn heads, there is a clear winner from CES this year.
AMD brought the heat with CPUs and graphics cards coming next month and CPUs next year, showing how it plans to respond after Intel’s launch of the 12th-gen Alder Lake platform. We’ll cover all the major announcements here, but be sure to get our recaps of everything Intel announced at CES and everything AMD announced at CES for the full recap.
Alder Lake Goes Mobile, AMD Introduces Ryzen 6000
The biggest announcements from Intel and AMD came on the mobile front. Intel expanded its 12th generation Alder Lake platform to mobile devices with the introduction of the H-series processors, and AMD introduced the first Ryzen 6000 processors that are built on the Zen 3+ architecture.
AMD has been invading Intel’s dominance in laptops, and the Ryzen 6000 appears to be a game changer. AMD says more than 200 laptop designs are in the works by 2022, the highest number for the company. Although AMD hasn’t dethroned Intel in laptops, the company may sit next to Team Blue throughout 2022, as machines like the new Asus Zenbook 14 demonstrate.
That doesn’t mean Intel dropped CES 2022. The company launched its hybrid platform on mobile devices, starting with performance-focused H-series chips. The numbers were sketchy, but Intel said these new chips offer up to a 49% improvement over AMD’s Ryzen 5000 mobile processors while gaming.
AMD did not make any comparisons to Intel’s 11th Gen Tiger Lake platform. However, the company said that the new Ryzen 6000 processors offer up to a 100% improvement in gaming performance and up to 125% improvement in 3D rendering over the previous generation. AMD also says that the improved 6nm manufacturing process brings massive improvements to battery life – up to 24 hours of video playback.
I do not recommend taking the numbers of any of the companies at face value. We won’t know how these chips stack up in raw performance until laptops with them are on the market.
However, Intel still leads when it comes to specs. Alder Lake’s hybrid architecture allowed Intel to cram 14 cores into its flagship Core i9-12900HK, which compares to eight cores in the Ryzen 9 6980HX. Those cores aren’t the same, the Core i9-12900HK actually only has six P-cores, but we’ve already seen what Intel can do with the added power of E-cores.
The most important thing about mobile processors is that the 12th generation is a completely new generation, while the Ryzen 6000 is more of an iterative update, at least on the processing side. With Ryzen 6000, AMD is introducing its RDNA 2 graphics cores into its mobile chips, the same cores used in Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards.
That’s a great first for mobile gamers. AMD says that integrated graphics can outperform Intel’s integrated Xe GPU by up to 303%. It also offers a significant improvement over entry-level discrete GPUs like Nvidia’s MX450, according to AMD.
These are still integrated graphics, but they look a lot more like a discrete GPU than we’ve seen. And with AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) ready, you should be able to go up to a higher graphic preset or push demanding titles over that coveted 60 frames per second (fps) line.
Ryzen 6000 also supports platform features like DDR5, which matches the latest generation from Intel. We have to wait for the thermal and performance tests, but AMD certainly had a more confident prescience on the mobile front at this year’s CES.
AMD 3D V-Cache and Intel’s Core i9-12900KS
On the desktop, Intel filled in the many gaps in its 12th-gen portfolio and AMD introduced the first processor to use its 3D V-Cache technology. We already know how impressive Alder Lake is on the desktop, and budget chips like the Core i5-12400 promise to reduce that performance at an affordable price.
Intel didn’t talk about these new processors at all during its CES 2022 conference, and there’s good reason for that. Of the 23 new processors, only seven of them use Alder Lake’s signature hybrid architecture, and all of those chips are variations of the CPUs Intel has already released.
The exception is the Core i9-12900KS, which according to Intel can reach 5.5 GHz on a single core out of the box. It can also reach around 5 GHz on all cores. This is an upgraded version of the Core i9-12900K that is available now, but it increases Intel’s lead over AMD on the desktop, at least until AMD releases the Zen 4 CPUs.
We took a first look at AMD’s next-gen Zen 4 CPUs, but it wasn’t too revealing. The company confirmed the strange design of the heat spreader that has appeared in the rumors, as well as the characteristics of the platform and the AM5 socket, including DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 support. The only news is that the flagship chip can apparently handle 5GHz across all cores.
The most exciting announcement was the Ryzen 7 5800X3D. AMD says this is the “world’s fastest gaming processor,” offering up to a 36% improvement over the Ryzen 9 5900X despite having four fewer cores. That is really impressive. Even more impressive is that AMD claims it is faster than the Core i9-12900K in some games.
It’s AMD’s 3D V-cache that makes the difference. Announced at Computex 2021, 3D V-Cache is a packaging technology that allows AMD to stack additional L3 cache on top of the processor. The result is an additional 64MB cache on the chip, bringing AMD’s mid-to-high-end desktop chip into a competitive space with flagship products.
Intel Arc Alchemist and AMD RX 6000S
AMD and Intel also had low-key GPU announcements. AMD expanded its RX 6000 range of mobile devices with the RX 6000S graphics cards, and Intel showed off its first discrete GPUs: the Intel Arc Alchemist. AMD wins here by default because Intel didn’t say much about Arc Alchemist (perhaps to make room for the 25 minutes spent on autonomous vehicles).
We know that Intel Arc will come in more than 50 laptop designs starting in February, and that the GPUs are compatible with Intel Deep Link and XeSS, which we were aware of long before CES 2022. The only real announcement was that Intel Arc Alchemist is real and that Deep Link can offer a 1.4x improvement in video playback compared to using only the discrete GPU.
AMD didn’t spend a lot of time on its mobile GPUs either, but the company still provided some hard numbers. For the S series, AMD says it aims for more than 100 fps at maximum graphics settings for the flagship RX 6800S and more than 80 fps at high settings for the RX 6600S.
In addition to the S-series cards, AMD announced five new RX 6000M chips. These are small updates to the existing range, but they do offer some performance improvements. AMD says the RX 6850M can outperform the RX 6800M by 7%, and the RX 6650M can outperform the RX 6600M by up to 20%.
I wish Intel would show more of Arc Alchemist. The first cards will arrive in a few weeks, and we don’t even know how many cards are in the range, much less their specs or performance. It’s a worrying sign, especially considering that Arc Alchemist is Intel’s debut in the discrete graphics card market.
Intel Evo 3, meet AMD Advantage
Rounding out the announcements, Intel released its specifications for the Intel Evo 3 and AMD consolidated its Evo competitor called AMD Advantage. The biggest change with Intel Evo 3 is that it now includes H-series processors. Evo is a list of specifications that meet Intel laptop standards, and the updated list includes 12th generation processors, Wi-Fi 6E support and Thunderbolt 4.
The new requirements also call for 1080p webcams, but only in spirit. Intel confirmed at a press conference that this is a soft requirement and that laptop manufacturers can use lower resolutions if the image quality meets Intel standards. Fortunately, that doesn’t seem like a problem. CES 2022 was the year we saw 720p webcams go down.
AMD Advantage is similar to Intel Evo, but it is not the same. AMD’s specification focuses solely on games and while the company released it in 2021, CES 2022 brought a significant update. The new specification calls for a FreeSync Premium 144Hz display for 1080p or 120Hz for 1440p and 4K, as well as the latest Radeon graphics and Ryzen 6000 processors.
AMD also announced updates for SmartShift. SmartShift Max supports more games than the original version and offers up to a 13% improvement in performance by dynamically changing the power between the GPU and the CPU. AMD also introduced SmartShift Eco, which switches to integrated graphics when your laptop is not plugged in.
AMD presses its advantage
AMD showed up to CES 2022 with a clear goal, and Intel just rambled on. Intel’s biggest announcements focused on the 12th generation mobile chips and they look impressive. However, AMD says the Ryzen 6000 is a significant upgrade from the previous generation, and with the number of companies jumping to the new AMD design, that’s probably true.
If it was just mobile, we’d have a close race. The real problem is that Intel spent very little time talking about Arc Alchemist and its desktop processors. The twelfth generation is here and, except for the special edition Core i9-12900KS, there was nothing exciting. The Ryzen 7 5800X3D is a special edition in its own way, as it features technology we’ve never seen before and which according to AMD should help gaming performance a lot.
AMD won CES 2022 this year. Intel may have reestablished its desktop presence with the launch of Alder Lake in November 2021. But CES 2022 showed that the company may not have more in-camera to back it up. If there’s more, Intel didn’t show it off at CES, and that won’t cut it against the massive competition coming from AMD.