What it is: AMD will start shipping its new Ryzen processor that’s faster and less expensive than Intel’s processors.
At one time, there was real competition among x86 processors in the PC market. Intel was the leader but AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) offered less expensive and faster processors. Then Intel massively improved the performance of their processors while AMD stumbled until Intel processors were more expensive but faster while AMD processors were cheaper and slower. That’s why most bargain priced PCs use AMD processors while most other higher model PCs use Intel processors.
Apple reportedly considered AMD processors at one time for the Macintosh but chose Intel processors because Intel processors were the standard and offered better performance. Now that’s about to change with AMD’s new Ryzen processors.
According to early benchmarks, Ryzen processors cost half as much as Intel’s latest processors while delivering noticeably faster performance. Most likely the early market for Risen processors will be in gaming PCs but as Ryzen processors prove themselves in the market, it’s likely other PC manufacturers will start using Ryzen processors instead of Intel processors to lower their own costs and provide better PCs as well.
What can Intel do? They can lower their prices but that just means they’ll be making less while still selling a slower processor. They can release a new processor, but Intel has stumbled lately on releasing improved processors so AMD’s Ryzen processor will likely keep improving and maintain its lead over Intel processors. A third alternative is to shift public attention away from processor speed but AMD will certainly keep promoting processor speed, and after decades of focusing on processor speeds, it’s hard for the PC community to suddenly ignore it.
In short, Intel is now in the same place AMD found itself in a few years ago trying to sell slower processors. The big difference e is that Intel’s slower processors cost twice as much as AMD’s Ryzen processors. People who want maximum performance will look for Ryzen processors.
What this means for the Macintosh remains debatable. Apple could shift to AMD’s Ryzen processor but that would require testing to insure maximum compatibility. AMD’s processors have already proven themselves capable of compatibility with Intel processors but Apple will definitely need to make sure its cost-effective to shift to AMD processors because if Intel responds with lower pricers and faster processors, Apple probably won’t want to keep switching processors all the time to gain a minimal and temporary advantage.
Most likely, Apple has been testing AMD processors for years since they had originally considered AMD processors when the Macintosh switched from PowerPC processors to Intel processors. The question will be whether Apple can cut costs by changing their assembly lines to switch out Intel processors and replace them with AMD’s Ryzen processors.
The more Ryzen processors continue increasing their lead over Intel processors in speed and price, the more likely Apple and other PC manufacturers will switch to Ryzen processors instead of relying mostly on Intel processors. Just keep in mind that Intel sells other types of chips used in Apple’s iPhone so Apple likely negotiated a deal for lower prices on Intel processors by buying Intel chips for other uses as well.
The bottom line is that whatever Apple or other PC manufacturers do, AMD’s Ryzen processors have brought AMD back from an also-ran to a legitimate contender like they were in the past. Whether AMD can keep Ryzen’s advantages over Intel processors remains to be seen, but if they can, then AMD will likely gain market share while Intel loses. For the first time in a long time, AMD processors are not only equivalent to Intel processors but superior to them. Now it’s just a matter of seeing whether AMD can maintain their lead.