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    AMD or Intel for engineering PC?

    Hello everyone.

    I have been searching in several PC/gaming forums and I didn't get my answer, and this forum is the most addecuate to, so: AMD or Intel?

    I want to buy a new laptop for working in my engineering projects, I work mostly in electronics (Simulations with LTSpice, Matlab/octave, PCB routing with KiCad and so) as well as in mechanics (simple mechanical parts and cabinets design in FreeCAD), and I also program in C and looking forward to start with Java, Python and databases, so a little wide variety of activities to be done in a single PC; mathematical calculations, code compilation, 2d and 3d graphics rendering (you know PCBs ) and well, internet surfing and office tasks.

    I have been looking and I found out Intel i5 laptops are accessible (at least for my reachs) but AMD ones are a bit cheaper in speed/price ratio. Comparing AMD A series with i5 7th generation, I realised AMD is cheaper and faster (in CPU frequency), but...... What's the trick here? I mean... It's a fact that you get what you pay for, and a cheaper device must be worse in some way than the expensive one (in the same range), so what's worse in AMD A series and better in Intel i5 series?

    For instance, an AMD A9 is running at 2,8GHz while a i5 at 2,3GHz, but there are some instruction sets (I think they are) the AMD doesn't have and Intel does... Also the AMD has faster integrated graphics and more L2 cache (1GHz vs 300MHz in intel). I have been reading opinions about users and many people said a laptop I got in sight (i5 7200U (video: Intel 620) + 8GB 2133MHz + 1TB SATA) was not fast enough, but it was published as "gamer", factor I am not even interested in, but as I need acceptable graphics rendering (3d parts and PCBs), I want to know if these specs will be enough for my needs, and how good an AMD proccessor would result. Currently I am buying the Intel beacuse it's a more known trademark, but I want to hear your opinion before making the decision.


    Also... some time I read about a failure in Intel architecture design that made them sensitive to malware hacks or so, and for fixing it, the new driver was less efficient or something like that... how about this? fact or fiction?


    I hope I did explain myself, thank you in advance guys.

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    Re: AMD or Intel for engineering PC?

    Very few software calls for CPU specific instructions; if the Windows or Linux is not complaining, your software will run fine.

    Many games bypass top layers and use low level calls to graphics hardware to get faster response but still they do not use the CPU directly.

    But you need to focus on what you want or whether the hardware is compatible.



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    Re: AMD or Intel for engineering PC?

    Unfortunately most (if not all) circuit simulators and other type simulators are single threaded so you want to use the processor with the fastest IPC (Instructions Per Clock) and that means that a Intel processor would be better than an AMD one, as Intel processors are much faster at single threaded tasks.



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    Re: AMD or Intel for engineering PC?

    I would concur with Pjmelect, AMD processors tend to be more optimized for gaming applications with the domestic market in mind but they are less 'powerful' in industrial applications. Intel processors may be slightly less energy efficient in some circumstances but they perform better over a wide range of tasks.

    It is only my experience but I have also had problems with reliability of AMD processors where Intel seem to go on forever.


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    Re: AMD or Intel for engineering PC?

    Thank you for your answers.

    So intel are more reliable in long terms of time, I understand. AMD is often more frequently seen in gamer PCs so they must be designed for that use; graphics the most, they actually have more internal GPU speed.

    Another question: Do you recommend me to install windows 10 pro? or home version should be enough? The laptop itself doesn't come with windows installed and I have to do so, but I am still using windows 7 because some people told me windows 10 is a bit buggy yet (I don't actually know if it's that true). Do you know how much RAM memory does win10 takes?



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    Re: AMD or Intel for engineering PC?

    Can't advise on which Windows version to use, I gave up on it a long time ago. I now run Linux for everything from emails to PCB design and simulation. On the odd occasion I have to use a Windows program, I use a Linux program called "Crossover" which mimics most of the DLL functions in all versions of Windows from XP through 10.

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    Re: AMD or Intel for engineering PC?

    yeah, I was actually thinking about moving to Linux, but are most programs compatible? I know that maybe 10 years ago most programs would have trouble in Linux, if they were even developed for it, how's the scenario nowadays? I know all the electronics programs I use are available in Linux and working well.

    I have to check if I manage to get all the drivers for Linux, as some people mentioned the laptop I have in sight will not work for Linux (I think it's because a critical driver is still missing).



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    Re: AMD or Intel for engineering PC?

    There is no point going for the pro version of Windows10 the home version is good enough unless you are doing networking stuff. Avoid any of the other versions with the suffix S or N.
    I don't think that Intel processors are more reliable than AMD ones, but Intel ones do tend to run cooler, but I would not let that influence your decision as to which to go for.



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    Re: AMD or Intel for engineering PC?

    I know that maybe 10 years ago most programs would have trouble in Linux...
    Thats interesting. I have been using Linux for more than 10 years now but I still have windows installed on one partition (currently two)

    I boot to windows only if I have to use some template supplied in word.

    Yes, sometimes drivers are a problem but some solutions are mostly available.



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    Re: AMD or Intel for engineering PC?

    Quote Originally Posted by pjmelect View Post
    There is no point going for the pro version of Windows10 the home version is good enough unless you are doing networking stuff. Avoid any of the other versions with the suffix S or N.
    I don't think that Intel processors are more reliable than AMD ones, but Intel ones do tend to run cooler, but I would not let that influence your decision as to which to go for.
    Unfortunately the home version does not support virtual machines. Virtual machines are only supported by Pro and Enterprise versions of windows 10.
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    Re: AMD or Intel for engineering PC?

    Quote Originally Posted by pjmelect View Post
    Unfortunately most (if not all) circuit simulators and other type simulators are single threaded so you want to use the processor with the fastest IPC (Instructions Per Clock) and that means that a Intel processor would be better than an AMD one, as Intel processors are much faster at single threaded tasks.
    I don't know for circuit simulators, but the commercial electromagnetic simulators I am using are all multi-threaded, so that processors with many cores give a siginificant speed improvement.

    These days, I also had to choose a new simulation machine for EM simulation. In the end, I decided to use Intel Core i9 instead of AMD Ryzen because the i9 has some new floating point acceleration (AVX-512) that my simulation tool is known to support if available.

    For some general CPU speed comparison (single thread and multi thread, including floating point performance) this site can be useful:
    http://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare...roup-/3937vs10

    Quote Originally Posted by oldsirhippy View Post
    Unfortunately the home version does not support virtual machines. Virtual machines are only supported by Pro and Enterprise versions of windows 10.
    In addition, there is a difference in Remote Desktop capability: all versions can be an RDP client, but RDP server functionality is missing in Windows 10 Home. I'm using Remote Desktop to get onto my simulation machine from the desktop computer.



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    Re: AMD or Intel for engineering PC?

    Unfortunately the home version does not support virtual machines. Virtual machines are only supported by Pro and Enterprise versions of windows 10.
    This only applies to Microsoft circuit simulators (hyper V), external simulators like virtual box run fine on the home version of Windows 10.



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    Re: AMD or Intel for engineering PC?

    Quote Originally Posted by pjmelect View Post
    Microsoft circuit simulators (hyper V)
    Circuit simulator?



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    Re: AMD or Intel for engineering PC?

    Circuit simulator?
    Sorry it was a typo, I should have said Virtual machine



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    Re: AMD or Intel for engineering PC?

    So, do you think it's worth to buy a laptop with AMD and dedicated graphics card? It's in the same price range as the one I was talking about, but again, I mean, these laptops are designed for gaming, will they work fine for office and engineering tasks?

    And another one: Do you think changing the HDD for a SSD will improve speed a lot? I'm planning to choose a 8GB RAM laptop, even increasing it to 12GB, would it be a waste of money having such a high memory with that speed the SSD will handle?



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    Re: AMD or Intel for engineering PC?

    An SSD will certainly be faster than an HDD but that only occurs when you are actually accessing the disk (and that is not supposed to be a stupid statement). If you have a lot of memory and the program you run fits happily in there (with no paging etc.) then the only time you will notice a difference is when you start up the program and read in (or write out) the file. If that occurs rarely then you may not notice any overall improvement.
    On the other hand, I've run program that use many small files and running with an SSD makes the world of difference.
    As with the AMD vs Intel debate above, what you intend to do with the hardware will be the biggest factor. So you need to think about how you will be using the laptop and the actual programs the laptop will be running.
    Having said all that, this thread was started about a week ago. That means you could have been using your new laptop for nearly a week if you had just gone out to buy one - and the difference *may* only be a few percent!
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    Re: AMD or Intel for engineering PC?

    I've always preferred to use Intel after a couple of bad relationships with AMD, it's the eternal debate



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    Re: AMD or Intel for engineering PC?

    I have to concur with Soniacastellanos, I have both makes here and find Intel to be rock solid, AMD work fine most of the time but are slower overall and prone to crashes. I liken Intel to a big tractor gently pulling a plough through hard ground and AMD being the same plough pulled by an over-revving moped. Both achieve the same outcome eventually but one does it with ease, the other at the expense of hard strain and discomfort.

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    Re: AMD or Intel for engineering PC?

    Speaking of processors, Intel definitely.
    I had 2 AMD burned (I know, it was long time ago when AMD's were not protected from overheating )
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    Re: AMD or Intel for engineering PC?

    I do not see any objective discussions here; including several PCs in the lab, I have perhaps used more than 40 motherboards during the last 25 years. I have not kept count, but it has been a healthy mix of intel and AMD processors.

    Motherboards are integrated with a specific type of processor and when we compare processors we are actually evaluating the complete motherboard. In general, intel motherboards integrated with intel CPU has been more reliable but typically more expensive.

    AMD processors come with third party motherboards and their performance vary widely. But you can also get intel CPU on third party motherboards and they too have divergent performance.

    Today I am using an intel CPU on an intel motherboard (at home; using for about 5 years) and I have only added a sound card, video card and an extra hard disk in the last two years. The SMPS failed twice and I am using a branded power supply today.

    But in the office, I am using an AMD processor on the desktop and it is also running for the last 5-6 years. These days I am not doing heavy computations but the office PC has not troubled me at all. There was some problem with the RAM (I have forgotten the details but I did replace and increase the RAM once).

    I am using ubuntu on both the machines and the office PC sometimes gives some video problems (I must reset when that happens) but is it tied to the CPU? I doubt but honestly I do not know. The office PC also has windows installed and that too gives some problems some times (updates do not install correctly and it goes through the ritual of several restarts)- an annoyance no doubt.

    I have four other desktops in the lab but they are lightly used. The two being used now have intel processor and motherboards.



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