AMD stole (not for the first time) the spotlight at CES in Las Vegas by launching its 7 nm Ryzen 4000 mobile chips on Monday. After many years of being the desktop raced as well, AMD now seems to pose Intel’s lineup with a credible threat.
Gordon Mah Ung of PCWorld spoke with AMD’s David McAfee to get more detail about Ryzen 4000 and its implications for mobile computing. McAfee named it a “watershed moment for AMD” where new chips like the Ryzen 7 4800U will be selling the four cores of 8 cores vs. Ice Lake. “A lot of things people are doing today with their computers, getting more core lets them do whatever they want,” he explained. “It just gives you more freedom to have more cores.” Do mobile users notice the difference? “You can feel the responsiveness… you will feel the potential with that processor to do more,” McAfee said.
One thing consumers will note is the laptops themselves (several have been revealed at CES), typically more premium in functionality and build quality than previous AMD mobile offerings generations. Another example is the Dell G5 15 SE gaming laptop, and another is the Asus ROG G14. They too are surprisingly thin, given the8-core CPU’s heft.
AMD’s McAfee said the 7 nm process of Ryzen 4000 offered a performance and efficiency balance that allowed for thinner systems. “Using 7 nm and the performance benefits per watt, the 8-core processor will run all the way down in a 15W power envelope, where the base frequency for all 8 cores is still 1.9GHz,” explained McAfee. “It gives you the ability to offer truly amazing multithread efficiency even in systems with a height of less than 15 mm. That also scales up to 45-watt H series devices, like the ROG Zephyrus device. “Battery life is one of the major factors that has yet to be checked. Mark Hachman of PCWorld noted that Acer’s Swift 3, which will be available in both Intel and AMD variants, has specified a longer battery life for its Intel version than its AMD version. Acer did not provide any further detail on the disparity, but McAfee of AMD had some general comments on the power efficiency of Ryzen 4000. “We made improvements by adding things like LPDDR4 memory support and up to 20 percent lower SOC capacity in a number of workloads.” McAfee further cited the ability of the chip to adapt its performance to the workload at hand, “to get in and out of low power states much faster. You want to get work done, “explained McAfee,” you want to go to the lowest power level, and then you want to be able to dither back and forth very quickly in order to give the end user responsiveness.
Efficiency also explains why Ryzen 4000 is more of a monolithic chip than the desktop Ryzen chiplet design. McAfee said AMD wouldn’t want to spend more power shuttle data across multiple chips, as the desktop design require.
One thing is for sure: Intel has a lot more competition in mobile space from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon to AMD’s Ryzen 4000, making it a really interesting time to buy a laptop. At CES, a range of Ryzen 4000-based laptops have been revealed, and we hope to learn more as we get to check in some of those new models.