If you’re not sure that which processor is best for gaming, then this post is for you. Below we’ve featured a comparison of AMD or Intel for gaming.
Which 8 core CPU is better for gaming, AMD's Ryzen 7 5800h or Intel’s I7-11800h? I’ve compared both laptops in 10 games at 1080p and 1440p to find out!
CPU Specific Difference
|R7 5800H||I7 11800H|
|PCI-E FOR DGPU||3.0||4.0|
|LAUNCHED||Q1 2021||Q2 2021|
|ARCHITECTURE||TSMC 7NM FINFET||10 NM SUPERFIN|
Both are 8 core 16 thread parts, but intel has more cache this generation. The Intel chip has a higher maximum boost clock. But this will depend on things such as power limits and the workload being run.
The intel platform also has newer PCIe gen 4, so faster storage and more bandwidth for the Nvidia graphics.
The two laptops I’m testing with are the XMG neo 15, the same Tongfang chassis as the Eluktronics mech-15 g3.
Both laptops have the full-powered Nvidia RTX 3070 graphics inside, both have a mux switch. They’ve got the same 1440p screen.
I’ve even tested the same physical memory sticks in both. So 32 gigs of DDR4-3200 cl22 dual-rank memory in dual channel.
|AMD R7 5800H||INTEL I7 11800H|
There’s an important difference when it comes to PCIe lanes that we need to discuss.
Intel 11th gen has 20 lanes of PCIe 4.0 for the OEM to configure. We could have a laptop that has 8 lanes or 16 lanes dedicated for the Nvidia graphics.
Meanwhile, AMD's Ryzen 5800 has a slower PCIe 3.0 and it only goes up to 8 lanes for the GPU. Basically, this means that AMD Ryzen systems have less PCIe bandwidth compared to intel 11th gen.
I’ve run the 3dmark PCIe benchmark to help illustrate the differences.
The Intel system has much more bandwidth available between the CPU and GPU. Both because of the higher lane count, but also because of the newer PCIe 4.0.
I don’t think 8 lanes of PCIe 3 is going to be that much of a limitation for Ryzen. But that said it is possible that in some scenarios the faster PCIe and additional lanes with intel might give an advantage.
These are just some of the platform differences that exist between these two laptops.
Internal & Cooling
Despite both laptops being the same model, there are also some differences in heat pipe design. As one has the CPU on the left while the other is on the right, but all things considered.
I think these machines are quite similar and this should offer a pretty fair comparison.
I’ve tested all games on both laptops with the processors limited to a 45-watt TDP and the RTX 3070 graphics limited to a 125-watt TDP.
Technically both of these GPUs can go up to 140 watts. But I’ve chosen to use these lower limits to ensure that we weren’t getting close to thermal throttling. As that would introduce a bottleneck.
I’ve also chosen to limit the processor to 45 watts because most laptops that I've reviewed do that anyway. In most gaming laptops if you’re only running a CPU the only workload then the power limit will be able to go much higher, but when the GPUs are active at the same time, like when playing an actual game, then often the processor power limit is much lower so things don’t get too hot.
So basically both laptops have the same power limit on the CPU and GPU, so we should be in for a pretty apples-to-apples comparison.
Both laptops were also tested with Optimus disabled. The same windows updates were installed. The same Nvidia drivers, the latest bios, and Vbios update. And as mentioned the same kit of memory was used.
So let’s get into the results!
Test Cyberpunk 2077
|R7 5800H Average||R7 5800H Low||I7 11800H Average||I7 11800H Low|
|Ray Tracing Ultra||58||42||58||48|
|Ray Tracing Medium||70||46||70||48|
Cyberpunk 2077 was tested in little china with the street kid life path on both laptops. I’ve got the intel laptop shown by the blue bars. AMD laptop shown by the red bars.
I’ve also tested all available setting presets, which are listed on the left with the lowest settings down the bottom and the highest settings towards the top.
Regardless of setting preset, the intel laptop was anywhere from zero to a couple of fps ahead, not much of a difference in practice, however, there’s a bigger change noted to the 1% lows.
At high settings for instance the 11800h was reaching 11% higher 1% low, so a more stable experience here on the i7. Stepping up to 1440p and those differences disappear further. The 1% lows were only really different at low and medium settings, but even then it’s just a couple of fps. Higher resolutions and higher settings are generally more GPU bound, so we’re expecting less of a difference between the CPUs.
Test Red Dead Redemption 2
|R7 5800H Average||I7 11800H Average|
Red dead redemption 2 was tested with the game's benchmark. Intel had more of a lead at the lower setting presets, and then the gap narrows in at higher levels, where finally at ultra settings AMD is actually slightly ahead, but this is a margin of error difference, so I’d say they’re about the same at max settings 1080p.
The 1440p results are a little strange here. The Ryzen laptop was scoring about the same at both low and medium settings as 1080p, again at ultra they’re both very close together.
Test Microsoft Flight Simulator
|R7 5800H Average||R7 5800H Low||I7 11800H Average||I7 11800H Low|
Microsoft flight simulator was tested in the Sydney landing challenge on both laptops. This was a win for intel in all regards at 1080p, though at a best-case 3 to 4 fps difference, it’s not a serious improvement, but hey, winning’s winning.
I hate testing this game because I always tend to get about the same results even at the higher 1440p resolution, so if you have a laptop with a 1440p screen I guess you might as well just enjoy the crisper resolution, because in this specific test at least there’s basically no difference.
Test Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Assassin’s creed Valhalla was tested with the game's benchmark. Intel was again ahead at all setting levels at 1080p, however, it’s not by much.
At max settings, the i7 has a 6% higher average fps, or less than 5 frames, and about the same difference in terms of a percentage at low settings too. There’s a smaller difference at the higher 1440p resolution, the i7 was just 4% ahead of Ryzen at ultra settings.
Still, an intel wins and right on 60 fps, but this probably isn’t going to be enough of a difference that you’d actually notice in a blind test.
Fortnite was tested with the replay feature using the same replay file on both laptops. Intel was ahead again at 1080p, with some of the biggest differences seen at lower settings out of all games tested.
The i7 was reaching a 25% higher average frame rate at low. While max settings were less than 3% ahead. Once the GPU has required the CPU difference is quite small.
Speaking of the GPU is required, this is why we’re now seeing basically no differences between both laptops at both epic and to some degree even high settings.
There’s a bit more of a difference at medium and low settings in favor of the intel system though, but either of these laptops can happily hit 1% lows that are higher than the 1440p screen’s 165hz refresh rate.
Control was tested by running through the same part of the game on both laptops.
Even at 1080p, this game is quite GPU heavy, and there’s basically no practical difference at medium and high settings. Intel is technically ahead, but yeah we’re talking a 2-3 fps difference here.
The i7 has a larger 10% lead over Ryzen at low settings though, but at the native 1440p resolution of these laptops there’s really no practical difference now, they’re both scoring about the same regardless of the setting preset in use.
Test Watchdogs Legion
Watchdogs legion was tested with the games benchmark tool. At max settings there’s an above-average win for intel here, coming in 6% higher in terms of average fps, though there’s a higher 15% lead for intel in terms of 1% lows, and this increases further at lower settings.
Intel still has some above-average improvements at 1440p, with almost a 12% increase to average fps over Ryzen, and an even higher 20% boost to the 1% lows, though the gap closes at ultra settings with just a 1 fps lead for intel there.
Test Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Shadow of the tomb raider was also tested with the game’s benchmark. And the percentage difference at max settings was the 2nd highest out of all 10 games tested.
The Intel i7 laptop coming in almost 14% above the Ryzen laptop at 1080p, and is slightly higher with an 18% lead at low settings.
The i7 still has an 11% lead over Ryzen at 1440p low settings, but by the time we get up to the highest setting preset, we’re looking at just a 3% gain for intel or 3 fps.
Test Battlefield V
Battlefield V has been tested in campaign mode in the same spot on both laptops. There’s almost no difference at 1080p max settings, a 1 fps gain for intel, but the lead increases at lower setting levels and gets as much as 16% ahead of AMD at low settings.
Interestingly at 1440p, the 1% lows from both laptops were often better than at 1080p. But regardless they’re still better with intel’s I7.
The average fps is extremely close at both high and ultra settings. But that higher 1% low is just going to result in more stable gameplay for intel.
Test Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Cs: go is kind of an outlier. But I always like seeing what happens in this test in my CPU comparisons.
The differences were the largest seen out of all 10 games tested in favor of intel. And this continues even at 1440p max settings as the GPU matters far less in this esports title compared to the CPU.
1080p Games Compared(Max Settings)
On average overall 10 games tested at 1080p with the highest setting preset, the intel i7-11800h laptop was around five and a half percent faster when compared to the Ryzen 7 5800h laptop.
The i7 was slightly slower in one game down the bottom. But it’s margin of error stuff, the fact is intel was winning more than it was losing.
If you instead prefer to consider cs: go as an outlier, then we’re looking at a 4% lead for intel in the other 9 games.
1080p Games Compared(Min Settings)
Now if we instead consider the lowest setting preset, the i7 has a much higher fifteen and a half percent lead over Ryzen. Again there’s one game down the bottom that was within the margin of error ahead on AMD. But for the most part, most games were doing better on intel.
There’s a larger difference at lower setting presets because the processor generally matters more here, but most laptops with 8 core processors should hopefully have good GPUs capable of higher settings and resolutions. These results may not be as useful in practice.
1440p Games Compared(Max Settings)
Stepping up to 1440p max settings and intel is just 3% ahead now, with cs: go again far ahead compared to most other games.
Again if we choose to ignore cs: go from the average, intel would instead be 1.6% ahead, so yeah still a win, but much smaller compared to 1080p. At less than 5% difference in games that aren’t cs: go, I’d even consider saying that processor selection between these two hardly matters at 1440p max settings.
1440p Games Compared(Min Settings)
Once more there’s a bigger difference at minimum settings because GPU bound. The intel i7-11800h was almost 8% faster now, or about 6% ahead of AMD if we ignore the large cs: go gains.
Some GPU-heavy games like control and cyberpunk still saw basically no difference between the two processors, even at lower setting levels, while others had double-digit percentage increases with intel.
So although it does depend on the specific game, setting level, and resolution, at the end of the day the Intel system was ahead in most cases.
How much of this difference is down to things like PCIe lane differences is hard to say. It’s kind of irrelevant anyway because I can’t test the Ryzen laptop with PCIe 4 and I can’t downgrade the intel system to PCIe 3, it is what it is, these are just actual differences between the platforms.
As for price differences, At the time, XMG sells the core 15 gaming laptop with Ryzen 7 5800h for 1588 euros, or the intel i7-11800h model for 41 euros more, or less than 3% extra money.
This is an RTX 3060 configuration, so with higher specs like RTX 3070 in terms of a percentage difference it would be even smaller.
Cost per Frame & Value
Based on those prices, from a cost-per-frame perspective. The intel model actually offers better value purely for gaming despite costing a little more.
This is because the higher performance on offer is greater than the additional cost. Regardless of whether we’re looking at minimum or maximum settings.
This is of course based purely on Xmg’s pricing, expect different results with different models based on prices.
Non Gaming Differences
Of course outside of gaming when it comes to production workloads. In general, intel is actually ahead of AMD this generation, as long as the processor power limits can run high.
With lower power limits though, AMD was generally ahead. It will depend on the specific laptop. But generally, in CPU-only workloads, most laptops should be capable of going higher than they can in games.
Battery life is an area where Ryzen does better. If you’re going to be running mostly unplugged. Need maximum run time then perhaps this is more important to you.
That said, I’d never relied on battery power for running games as you get much less performance.
Conclusion - 5800h or 11800h for Gaming Laptop
All things considered, purely for gaming. I think it makes sense to pick intel’s 11th gen over AMD's Ryzen 5000 assuming comparable prices.
11th gen does better in gaming, and despite costing a bit more at XMG it does still seem worthwhile. Plus you also get nice extra features like faster PCIe 4 storage and Thunderbolt 4.
Where intel’s 11th gen has really caught up this generation is in productivity workloads. With higher power limits, the intel 11th gen system was often beating Ryzen.
The only thing intel really seems to be lacking at the moment is battery life.
Ryzen does still have an edge there. But yeah if gaming is your focus you’ll probably be staying away from battery power anyway.
Now all that said, it’s not like the performance on offer from AMD is bad or anything.
As we saw in many of the games tested, at higher setting levels there was only a minor difference between both of these laptops. Especially if you run at the native 1440p resolution.
In some games, the difference was so small. I doubt you’d actually be able to notice it playing on both of them side by side. AMD or Intel for gaming.