Intel Claims AMD’s Ryzen 7000 is Snake Oil: Are They Right?

Published on December 4, 2023

Intel has taken an unusual marketing approach, engaging in a rather aggressive campaign where they draw parallels between AMD’s Ryzen 7000 mobile processors and the concept of snake oil.

Intel’s presentation is pretty direct about what message it’s sending about the competition. Image: Intel

This eyebrow-raising move was unveiled through Intel’s recently published Core Truths playbook, which aims to shed light on what they perceive as misleading practices in AMD’s mobile processor nomenclature.

In this playbook, Intel opens by asserting that there exists a “long history of selling half-truths to unsuspecting customers,” accentuating this statement with images portraying a snake oil salesman and a dubious used car dealer. The stage is then set for a head-to-head comparison between AMD’s Ryzen 5 7520U and Intel’s Core i5-1335U.

According to Intel’s presentation, their chip outpaces AMD’s by a remarkable 83%, primarily due to the aging architecture employed by AMD’s counterpart. Intel’s claim does hold some validity. Last year, AMD significantly altered its mobile processor naming convention, leading to consumer confusion.

Instead of adhering to the convention of aligning architecture with generation, as both Intel and AMD had done for years, AMD began categorizing all of its mobile processors under the umbrella of the latest Ryzen 7000 generation, irrespective of the architecture they employed.

AMD’s own branding scheme (from 2022) is being used by Intel to show how AMD hides older hardware behind an up-to-date brand. Image: AMD

To discern the architecture of a CPU, one must now look to the third digit in its name. For example, the Ryzen 5 7640U employs the Zen 4 architecture, whereas the Ryzen 5 7520U operates on the Zen 2 architecture. Evidently, this naming convention could mislead consumers when an older architecture chip is seemingly on par with the latest generation CPUs.

However, Intel’s criticism has a touch of irony, considering their own history. A few years back, Intel remained anchored to its 14nm node introduced with Skylake for desktop processors for an extended period, offering only incremental performance improvements with each subsequent generation. This pattern still persists to some extent. Intel has recently launched its 14th-generation desktop processors, essentially rebranded versions of the preceding 13th-gen Raptor Lake processors.

While there have been some performance enhancements, they are not particularly substantial. Additionally, although Intel is about to introduce 14th-gen Meteor Lake processors for laptops, these chips are notably absent from the desktop lineup, leading to a disparity in what the “14th-gen” label signifies across Intel’s product range.

Nevertheless, Intel’s own branding challenges should not divert attention from AMD’s shortcomings in this regard. AMD’s Ryzen 7000 naming system can be perplexing in mobile processors, potentially causing buyers to invest in a processor older than the nomenclature suggests. It’s worth noting that laptops featuring these chips, such as the Acer Aspire 3, a budget-friendly laptop currently on sale at Best Buy, are available.

Fortunately, AMD’s chips have not proliferated extensively in laptops, at least not in comparison to Intel’s market dominance. The naming discrepancy would undoubtedly pose a more substantial issue if they had.

In summary, despite its confrontational tone, Intel’s aggressive marketing campaign does contain elements of truth. Nevertheless, it underscores the importance of conducting thorough research when contemplating the purchase of a product, regardless of whether it originates from AMD or Intel.

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