AMD Advances Against Intel on the Desktop with its range of Ryzen 3000 desktop processors. The company is now targeting ultra-thin, high-performance laptops with the new Ryzen 4000 mobile APUs (CPU with integrated GPU).
AMD enters territory controlled by Intel
Laptops are a segment of PC firmly dominated by Intel despite attempts by AMD, Qualcomm and others to overthrow it. AMD is unlikely to overtake Intel anytime soon, but the company does publish APUs that run as high or higher than what Intel has to offer.
Similar to what’s going on on the desktop, new AMD processors threaten to compromise Intel’s popularity. In 2020, a hundred laptops with new Ryzen 4000 mobile APUs are heading for us, and a few will strike this spring. AMD wants to make six- and eight-core processors with multithreading the standard on laptops. It would be a noticeable increase in performance over what you can get now.
AMD vs. Intel: the real battle begins
Just like on the desktop, AMD is considered the cheapest option for laptops, while most people opt for the more powerful and efficient Intel processors.
This image started to change slightly with the advent of Ryzen 3000 mobile processors, but it promises to make serious progress with the new generation of AMD APUs. Assuming the experience of using the Ryzen 4000 lives up to the hype.
Right now, eight-core multi-threaded processors aren’t that common. You can find them in the upper echelons of the Core i7 and Core i9 processors, of course. The bulk of laptops, however, do switch the Core i3 and Core i5 processors. In this range, Intel mobile processors are solidly four-core with up to eight threads, with a few six-core and six-threaded options.
Don’t get me wrong, AMD will also have Ryzen 4000 APUs with fewer threads and kernels. The Ryzen 3 4300U, for example, will only have four threads and four cores. Most of the Ryzen 4000 processors we’ve seen so far, however, are six cores, twelve threads and more.
The company is also increasing its laptop portfolio promising about 100 different laptop models to hit stores throughout 2020. That’s a solid number for AMD, especially if each model has multiple Ryzen-based options for offer a range of prices.
So what are the Ryzen 4000 processors? First of all, let’s be clear, there is no plan for the Ryzen 4000 desktop processors at the moment. Ryzen 3000 on the desktop is still relatively new and very successful.
Ryzen 3000 mobile APUs exist, but they are a generation behind their desktop counterparts. Ryzen 4000 aims to close this gap. The new laptop APUs use the architecture of the Zen 2 processor just like Ryzen 3000, as well as the same 7nm (nanometer) process. This means that Ryzen 4000 laptop processors should be more efficient and offer better heart-to-heart performance compared to Ryzen 3000 laptop APUs.
Note: Ryzen 4000 7nm chips should be comparable in performance to 10nm Intel Lake Ice chips. Don’t hang on to the nanometer size, as it is generally considered a marketing term these days.
AMD also offers what it calls SmartShift power technology with high-performance Ryzen 4000 Class H chips. SmartShift allows APUs to intelligently move power demands between the CPU and GPU based on the part of the system that requires more power at any given time. This could improve overall performance.
One thing Ryzen 4000 will not have is PCIe 4 support. We expect this to be due to the fact that the power and cooling requirements of the new standard do not yet make it practical for laptops.
Some questions also remain on energy consumption. AMD hasn’t announced anything about battery life expectation as it continues to optimize power consumption, according to PC World. We don’t know what to think of this, but the manufacturers’ promises of autonomy were everywhere on the map for CES 2020, based on the PCWorld report. It’s a bit of a red flag and suggests that the smart solution is to wait and see what independent third-party reviews have to say about battery life before taking a Ryzen 4000 laptop.
AMD goes crazy basic
Now let’s see what we know so far about the Ryzen 4000 chips.
First, we have the 15W TDP U-Series CPUs, which are intended for ultra-thin notebooks. At the top of this range is the Ryzen 7 4800U, an eight-core, sixteen-threaded processor with a base frequency of 1.8 GHz up to 4.2 GHz. Next, the Ryzen 7 4700U, which is an eight-core, eight-wire model with frequencies similar to the 4800U.
Next, we have a six-core, twelve-thread processor in the Ryzen 5 4600U; the six-core, six-wire Ryzen 5 4500U has a base of 2.3 GHz and a boost of 4 GHz; then there is the aforementioned four-core, four-wire Ryzen 3 4300U.
For laptops that need better performance for tasks like gaming and video editing, AMD deploys the Ryzen 4000 H-Series. The Ryzen 7 4800H is an eight-core, sixteen-threaded processor that has a base clock of 2.9 GHz and a boost of 4.2 GHz. Finally, there is the six-core, twelve-wire Ryzen 5 4600H with a 3 GHz base and a 4 GHz boost.
How much will Ryzen 4000 laptops cost?
All of this looks great, but what kind of price should we expect when laptops start rolling out? Considering the typical AMD strategy, processors should be cheaper than similar Core processors such as the Core 10nm i7-1065G7 or the Core 14nm i9-9980HK. Current laptop models with a Core i9-9980HK often cost well over $ 2,000, while a laptop with a Core i7-1065G7 ranges between $ 600 and $ 1,000, although some gaming laptops are a lot more expensive than that.
If AMD-based laptops cost roughly the same price as Intel, the company will not start off on the right foot. The price confrontation is a confrontation that AMD will not win, at least not yet.
At CES 2020 in January, Lenovo unveiled its Yoga Slim 7 series, which will be released in April, with advance prices sporting the Intel Ice Lake and Ryzen 4000 options. The price of the 14-inch Slim 7 with Ryzen 4000 starts at $ 850, while Ice Lake valves start at $ 1,210, according to Tom material. That’s a difference of about $ 360.
If Lenovo’s price is a sign of things to come, then the AMD laptop is the usual strategy of delivering equal or better performance that underpins Intel’s price. This is where AMD’s strength is in the office – Ryzen 3000 offers solid cores and performance at lower prices than Intel – and it should be the same with laptops.
If we end up with equally performing processor platforms on store shelves in 2020, you’ll have more real choice for laptops and a better range of pricing options overall.