AMD’s Toy For CES: 8-Core 7nm CPUs For Laptops

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AMD’s Toy For CES: 8-Core 7nm CPUs For Laptops
Image: AMD

With the Ryzen 3950X and Threadripper series having just launched, AMD wasn’t likely to show up to CES 2020 with a brand new desktop CPU. Instead, they brought the future of Ryzen mobile, showing off a stack of chips that included a 15 watt, 8 core/16 thread chip with huge gains on the previous Zen chips.

AMD’s biggest gaps in their technology gap has always been two-fold: a lack of a proper competitor against Nvidia’s top of the line GPUs, and a lack of a true rival to Intel in the laptop market. AMD’s Ryzen desktop chips have clawed back a ton of market share from Intel, but that performance hasn’t been present in a smaller form factor.

This year, AMD might finally start making waves in laptops. The company announced two 8 core, 16 thread chips, one running at 15W for thin and light devices and another running at 45W for more traditional gaming laptops.

The single-threaded performance in the 15W 4800U wasn’t that much greater than Intel’s i7-1065G7, which only has 4 cores/8 threads and hits a max boost of 3.9GHz. But the real difference, and something that anyone who tries to use Photoshop or Premiere Pro on a thin and light laptop will appreciate, kicks in when running taxing, multi-threaded workloads

The 45W 4800H, meanwhile, is a laptop chip that’s being touted as a … rival to desktop CPUs. There was absolutely zero qualification during the livestream, but AMD touted the 4800U’s ability to beat the i7-9750H and 9700K desktop CPU in “gaming performance,” a claim difficult to swallow without seeing more detail on the precise game and conditions tested.

AMD announced a lot more than just those two laptop chips, however. The full Zen 2 stack was released outside of the CES keynote, with two new Athlon dual-core chips, and a four core/four thread Ryzen 3 4300U. Beyond that, every other chip in the Ryzen 4000 stack has at least six cores, which should hopefully put more pressure on Intel to move away from four cores as their baseline offering.

AMD also showed off a new graphics card, but it’s not one that’s likely to excite: the Radeon 5600 XT, a card targeted at 1080p gaming. Why AMD introduced another 1080p card after launching the 5500 XT just before Christmas is a bit strange, and I’m not sure how it’ll really play in the Australian market. Team Red’s due to release a more powerful offering later this year that supports real-time ray tracing, which should bring a bit more competition to the mid and high-range GPU market.

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