In short: given all points of value to the consumer, Intel is king, and will likely stay that way for some time.
It is easy to debate details endlessly. And right now the web is filled with these debates. However, what's important to take away from all this is the fact that each time AMD comes up with something that benchmarks better than Intel on some point, that Intel then takes action to improve things at their end. This is an effect of capitalism that accelerates the creation of more value for the consumer. It keeps Intel in check. If it weren't for AMD then Intel would leave pockets of untapped potential untended, and prices would be much higher. Just think of these debates as a reminder that this aspect of capitalism is working the way we want it to.
But how do we know for sure that Intel is better than AMD?
The right answer: "It doesn't matter."
The reason we say this is because no matter what, AMD and Intel will both spend billions trying to beat the other in value. And this will go on forever, or until one of them is way better than the other and the marketplace tips their vote (their purchases) in that direction. Or at least that's true in theory.
Deceptive marketing also plays a role.
According to a July/2019 analysis by Digital Trends, Intel and AMD were at that moment neck-and-neck overall, where Intel was ahead in single-core speed, and AMD was ahead in on-chip GPU capability. This is a case where AMD just released their latest chip and Intel was about to, so the comparison of course unfairly favored AMD. Now that it is switched around (Intel has since launched Ice Lake CPU's), the numbers now unfairly favor Intel. But Intel does not leverage this with marketplace deceptions.
Looking back at last year, AMD added their previously missing integrated graphics, and managed to leap-frog Intel's integrated graphics. There's a lot of this going on between them.
But what matters most? When looking at a cross-section of all the software packages people use today, its the core speed that matters most. This has always been true in the past (on average), and will likely remain true for a number of years into the future. Its really quite amazing that Intel's aging Coffee Lake Refresh platform, a 14nm platform, is still better at raw core speed than all AMD's advances in miniaturization (all the way down to 7nm), even after all these years of intense effort. This is a flag that something is up with their 7nm technology.
But what about AMD's 64 Core ThreadRipper 3990X? This is yet another example of deceptive marketing. Intel also has higher-end CPU's that cost thousands of dollars, going into servers and other special-purpose machines. What AMD did was take one of their high-end CPU's, then added a desktop chipset and shoved it into the consumer marketplace with a hefty price tag (about $4,000). And it worked! Extreme hobbyist's are emptying their pockets for this high-end CPU. Intel could learn from this tactic. But the tactic wasn't about making more money for AMD, its sole purpose was to save face in light of the fact that their 7nm chip can't keep up with Intel's 14nm chip. AMD wants the market to believe that they have the world's fastest consumer grade CPU, not Intel. This is deception at its best. These really aren't consumer grade CPU's in the first place. And Intel could easily pull the same trick with one of their high-end CPU's. All they have to do is wrap it up in the same manner and market it to top-tier consumers under a cool sounding name. But Intel generally doesn't play this type of game.
Now, if AMD had a 64 Core CPU at a "consumer-affordable" price. Then that would be something to talk about. But they don't.
Its easy to point at AMD's progress in miniaturization, already launching their 7nm chip while Intel is still dabbling in 10nm and 14nm details. But the real challenge comes afterwards: all the supporting technologies that have to sync up to it. Intel's advancing more slowly with miniaturization because they are pulling with them a far bigger effort, and this results in more value.
Getting the whole picture together first (a full-featured 14nm Coffee Lake Refresh platform from Intel), is a lot more important than launching one part of the picture first (a working 7nm Ryzen platform with a couple features that top Intel's 14nm platform).
An example of something either CPU manufacturer could have easily done at any time, was to significantly boost the internal cache, which then significantly boosts the performance of just those programs that primarily process software code, not data. Such as a flight simulator. This capability is important here and there, but not very important overall. But, AMD was first. And they are making use of this in their marketing materials, as if it proves that their 7nm Ryzen 9 is better than Intel's 14nm i9-9900. This is just plain twisted nonsense. Don't fall for it. If they have to use this tactic to make their 7nm technology look better than Intel's 14nm technology, then you know that something is not at all optimal with their 7nm technology, and that this was likely a cover for some problem they're having. A good implementation of 7nm technology should be so much faster than everything else, that there's no question at all about anything comparing to it. This is because the mathematical advantages to each level of miniaturization compound exponentially. So, since this is not happening, we know something is wrong with AMD's technology. At the very least it is not efficient.
These days just about any read-through of a technical forum involving PC's and you'll find at least one crafty plug for AMD. Each one is a masterfully well written put-down on Intel that simply sounds right, yet isn't. Unfortunately, very few forums are going through the trouble of straightening these out. Most seem to be effective. And that means more sales to the lesser technology, and that's the power of deceptive marketing. It works all too well.
All those added dollars resulting from AMD's relentless marketing deceptions fuels real R&D. This is making their technology better, which may at some point actually pass up Intel for real. The thing is, this type of business is very unlikely to ever let go of deceptive practices. Its like a bear with a honey pot. Its not going to let go. So, even if they produce technology of superior value, you should beware of other types of deceptive tactics that they may use. We warn about some of those here.
Putting AMD's endless deceptive marketing practices aside, we are convinced that judging purely based on the value of the technology, that the sum of all the details affecting value continue to favor Intel. However, we will watch AMD's 7nm progress closely, and if they do get the whole picture together (most notably a superior raw core speed) then our opinion might change. Meanwhile, what we're really looking forward to is the desktop version of Intel's Icelake CPU platform (which may skip forward to Tigerlake, see below), and along with it the promised Adaptive-Sync, 1 TFLOP iGPU performance (w/512 concurrent pipelines), CPS (Intel's variation on VRS), the HEVC encoder, and other potential game-changer features.