Now that both AMD and Intel can use two types of cores in their processors, it’s time to compare them. Because what looks like the same concept from a distance, their differences are strikingly more than their similarities.
Same goal but different means
They may both be integrated and aim for higher efficiency, but how AMD and Intel get their integrated cores is very different. Intel’s E cores are a further development of what was previously the Atom core, and work differently internally than regular P cores. AMD has simply made the Zen 4 core a bit smaller, reducing the maximum clock speeds that can be achieved, but operation and functionality remain the same. Even with the lower clock speed compensation, the Zen 4c cores are still comfortably faster than the Intel E cores. They’re somewhat larger, as long as that picture isn’t eclipsed by AMD and Intel using a different process.
Transparency is desirable
When announcing the first consumer processors with Zen 4c cores, like the Ryzen 5 7545U, AMD went so far as to go so far as to add the cores together with ease. Even though the cores are theoretically the same, I still think this is a bridge too far. The maximum performance level of the Zen 4c core is much lower due to the lower clock speed. It would be a credit to AMD if they became more transparent about this and, for example, like Intel, stated the maximum clock speed for each core type.
Is there a winner?
Is any type of economic core better than another? Not as far as I’m concerned. AMD and Intel take a different approach to the same problem. Intel’s approach to fine-grained scheduling, where tasks are also deliberately placed on the most efficient cores, can be described as more elegant. AMD’s approach is a bit more crude and may not get maximum efficiency from the hybrid concept, but this simplicity also ensures that software modifications are not necessary and that previously supported instructions do not have to be disabled to achieve feature parity, such as Intel’s AVX512.
CPUs with Intel E cores have been available for laptops and desktop computers for some time. AMD is now using Zen 4c cores in a few laptop chips, but its Ryzen 8000G desktop APUs will likely also have some Zen 4c cores. It will be released in the first quarter of 2024.
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