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AMD’s 7nm Zen2 Core CPU for laptops

Can Ryzen Mobile 4000 series melt Ice into a Lake?

AMD’s announced its 7nm Zen 2 core based Ryzen 4000 series in CES 2020 on 6th Jan 2020 at Las Vegas, USA. These are the first 7nm x86 processors for the mobile market.  It is mainly targeting Intel’s new Ice Lake lineup. Kudos to the timing and consistency of AMD’s product availability. One thing that I really like about AMD is how they first deploy their latest micro-architecture and process node development to its desktop range. Intel’s Ice Lake has only limited it to the thin and light section of notebooks. Zen 2 micro-architecture and 7nm process node had been on the desktop platforms in the previous generation itself, while Ryzen mobile 3000 series still used the older 12nm process node and Zen+ architecture.

This major release with new Zen 2 core based on 7nm node in the third generation of Ryzen Mobile processors is a significant upgrade and ready to go head on with Intel’s latest Ice Lake lineup. It has been introduced in identical Ryzen 3,5,7 performance levels. In order to make it convenient for us to identify the TDP that distinguishes the mobile workstation from a thin and light or ultrabook, Intel-like U and H name series has been used. It is funny how Intel turned the naming scheme into a puzzle for us with Ice Lake. AMD’s Radeon graphics has been highly optimized to deliver great value and performance in a thin and light laptop to beat the Gen 11 engine based Iris Plus graphics in some of the Ice Lake CPUs.

Following were the highlights of AMD’s presentation in CES 2020 at Las Vegas for Ryzen Mobile 4000 series:

  • Ryzen 7 4800U titled as World’s highest performing ultrathin laptop processor by AMD. It features a 8-core/16 threads CPU with 15W TDP with the base frequency of 1.8 Ghz. It comes with eight Vega graphics core with up to 59% more power per CU owing to the new 7nm process node.

  • Dedicated 4800H from H-series for gamers and creators with a TDP of 45W. It would offer desktop caliber performance for all with the higher base frequency of 2.9 Ghz.

  • Almost 2X power-efficient in comparison with 12nm based Ryzen Mobile 3000 series. It is going to be new year gift for AMD enthusiasts on the mobile platforms.

  • AMD SmartShift technology uniting the Ryzen CPU and dedicated Radeon RX graphics in a dynamic ratio to give overall increased gaming performance and content creation productivity.

In the presentation, AMD did a head-on comparison with 10th Gen Ice Lake and displayed some of promising figures as far as the performance of CPU and graphics goes. Ryzen 7 4800U turned out to be up to 4% faster in single-thread and up to 90% faster in multi-threaded performance versus Intel® Core i7-1065G7 processor. Multi-threaded performance result is mind-boggling. It is almost twice as fast, thanks to the 4 extra cores. It still claims to be up to 18% faster than i7-1065G7 in graphics performance. AMD claims Ryzen 7 4800H to be approximately 5% faster in single-threaded and up to 46% greater multi-threaded performance than Intel’s i7-9750H. These figures are just phenomenal. H-series offers 25% faster 4K video encoding using Adobe Premier and 31 percent greater performance in Blender. It is a dream come true for content creators. A special shout-out to AMD’s simultaneous multi-threading support for 7nm Zen2 Core Ryzen 7 4800H as it can astonishingly beat Intel’s desktop i7-9700K processor in multi-threaded performance by a good margin. Of course, we will have to wait for the final products to see this for ourselves. But, it is just mind-blowing on paper.

AMD SmartShift is an unique technology even in its initial stage. It creates a dynamic and almost perfect amalgamation of Ryzen CPU and Radeon RX dedicated graphics for a given task or job for the system. Depending on what you are doing, utilizes the unused CPU or dGPU in an optimal ratio to increase productivity. AMD claims this technology has potential to deliver up to 10% more gaming performance and up to 12% better content creation performance. Both the components talk to each other over infinity frabic. It might not be a lot but it is interesting to see how an advanced technology can efficiently bridge two components for greater output. This extra performance boost that you get while gaming or editing content like videos is exceptional in mobile platforms. This kind of power sharing or shifting between CPU and dGPU has tremendous potential if you ask me. It would redefine how we look at gaming laptops today. Remember how automatic graphics switching in Macbooks enchanted us in the beginning. This is similar but on a different scale. I am impressed.

The beauty of efficient and smaller 7nm manufacturing process on both the CPU and GPU cores gave AMD an prerogative to pack 8-cores into a mere 15W package. To make it practical, AMD showcased Lenovo Yoga 7 in CES 2020, the world’s thinnest 8-core 14” laptop.

Ryzen Mobile 4000 U-series is not just taking over the new 10nm Ice Lake CPUs but also the Intel’s 10th Gen Comet Lake U 6-core chips. Ryzen CPU’s 8-cores puts it approximately 30 to 40 percent ahead in multi-threaded tasks. Consumer had to either pick Comet Lake U-series for better multi-core performance with dated graphics chip or the new 10nm Ice Lake CPUs for overall efficient yet powerful CPU and updated graphics. Ryzen Mobile U-series with its 8-cores fill the gap as it offers the best of both worlds without any sort of compromises.

To conclude, power efficiency, great CPU and graphics performance with improved battery life is what Ryzen 4000 Mobile series offering us using advanced micro-architecture design and exclusive 7nm process node in mobile platforms. AMD has promised no less than a 100 premium and budget laptops based on Ryzen chips this year starting in first quarter itself. I am sure with consistent product availability and releases from various manufacturers, AMD is going to win substantive market share in the realm of ultra-books and gaming laptops. It has already won my heart as a pro user of thin and light laptops. I wish to own a 8-core Ryzen 7 4800U based laptop as soon as possible. Do you?

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Manish Gehlot

I am a privacy, security, encryption and software freedom enthusiast. I am into VPNs, TLS security. Recently I also got into technical writings including guides.

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