What Is the Difference Between an Intel & an AMD Computer?

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Microprocessors may be small, but they're crucial to computers.

There are plenty of giants in the world of technology, like Microsoft, Apple and Google. Two of the biggest forces in technology manufacturing are Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, commonly called AMD. Both specialize in microprocessors. Based on the type of microprocessor in your PC, your computer is either an Intel or an AMD system.



Practically all computers have two processors: the central processing unit and the graphics processing unit. Many people describe the processor as the "brain" of the computer, and this applies to both the CPU and the GPU. Ever action your computer performs, from opening a program to playing a movie to loading a website, must go through one or both of your processors. Your computer's various components send information to the processors and receive information from them, and the processors "crunch the numbers": They figure out what needs to happen all the time. They're the parts of your computer that decide what to do when you click the mouse or type on the keyboard.

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Intel and AMD Processors

The companies Intel and AMD are huge forces in the world of technology, and both began around the same time: Intel in 1968, and AMD in 1969. Today, they're without peer as the two biggest manufacturers of commercial processors. They make both CPUs and GPUs, and both produce good processors for consumers. Your computer almost certainly has processors from Intel, AMD or both.


Intel versus AMD

A common question when someone is learning about Intel and AMD is "Which one is better?" While some people are adamantly claim one or the other is superior, the simple answer now is "It depends." Intel used to have clearly superior processors, but AMD has caught up and currently offers comparable processors. On the one hand, the highest-end commercial processors with the most capabilities are produced by Intel, but they're more expensive and only a few people are in the market for those types of processors. For typical average- to high-end processors, there's no clear superiority; you can find similar processors at similar prices from both manufacturers. For low-end processors, prices and capabilities also are essentially the same.



Other Considerations

Both Intel and AMD manufacture other products, like motherboards and even modems. Your computer may have several items in it from one or both of the companies. Even though computers can have multiple parts from Intel or AMD, calling a PC an "Intel computer" or an "AMD computer" refers to the processor in the system, regardless of anything else in the computer made by Intel or AMD. If you're curious about the type of processor you have, click the "Start" button, right-click "Computer" and select "Properties" to open the System window. The processor type is displayed somewhere close to the middle of the window.




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