I too had a lot of the same concerns as the OP since I used Intel for so long. I heard the same horror stories…
I’m two to three years in…starting with 2nd gen Ryzen… here’s what I have noticed…
1.) AMD has some amazing magic sauce internally on their CPU’s that really get the most out of the silicon WITHOUT much help from the user… I’m used to overclocking and then maybe under-volting with Intel to get the most out their CPU’s. Yes, Intel’s cores may be a bit stronger in a ALL core overclock, but you can do the same with a AMD chip but then you may loose the PEAK clock AMD’s chips automatically tunes for you if you only need a lesser number of cores.
2.) AMD is constantly updating its Chipset and CPU drivers to get the most out of their silicon. Stability wise, I have personally had NO issues. I have only see improvements to thermals, efficiency and performance with updates and no debilitating problems from not being up to date on drivers/firmware.
3.) Price- AMD is being so competitive now and ALSO their technology is evolving to be more energy efficient and productive (at 7nm silicon). Intel has been pedaling the same 14nm silicon for what… 5 generations now upping the TDP (Power to get more, and more cores etc.). I have a i7-8086K and haven’t felt a need to upgrade that system.
4.) Motherboard sockets, Intel forces new motherboards every two generations or so. AMD’s ecosystem has a much longer cycle of compatibility, you may not get the latest and greatest features, but you have the option depending on your needs offering flexibility. This is nice.
All in all AMD is definitely on par performance wise with Intel at this point I would say. It would be special case scenarios you would notice a difference between the two. If you need productivity AMD is your friend or for multi tasking. For gaming, you would be hard pressed to notice more than a few frames difference between Intel and AMD, besides where games offer scaling based on having more cores…which I think will be coming in the future… so may be a safe investment.
These are my experiences as being a HARDCORE Intel guy for years, I have now built and played with over half a dozen AMD systems and I really like them. The idle temps freaked me out at first compared to intel, then again I was used to a delided, liquid metal application, liquid cooled intel chip. I soon got used to it. Tuning is very different and I’d say not needed on AMD really. The chip already compensates clock speed for temps and power draw automatically… again secret sauce
Bottom line, I really have turned and done a 180 on AMD. I think you would be happy with a AMD purchase these days.