AMD Is Finally Taking On Intel With Gaming Laptop CPUs

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is one laptop that will probably be getting the new high-end gaming CPUs. (Photo: Sam Rutherford, Gizmodo)

Intel could finally see some competition in the laptop gaming space. Today, AMD announced the addition of the Ryzen 9 4900HS and Ryzen 9 4900H processors to its mobile lineup. Based on the company’s 7nm Zen 2 architecture, they will take on Intel’s Core i9 laptop line. Like the company’s Ryzen 9 desktop processors, this latest addition to the AMD processor family comes with the high-end gaming and content creation demographics in mind. AMD first announced its new series of mobile processors at CES 2020.

On the highest end, the Ryzen 9 4900H is an 8-core/16-thread mobile processor with a 3.3Ghz base clock (4.4Ghz boost), 45W of TDP, 12MB of cache, and a graphics frequency of 1750MHz. Here’s how that compares to the current line of available Ryzen mobile H-series processors:

  • Ryzen 7 4900H: 8-core/16-thread, 4.2 / 2.9GHz, 12MB, 1600MHz, 45W TDP

  • Ryzen 5 4900H: 8-core/16-thread, 4.0 / 3.0GHz, 11MB, 1500MHz, 45W TDP

The Ryzen 9 4900HS is made for what AMD calls its HS Design Standard—ultra slim, lightweight gaming notebooks under 20mm in Z-height (think thickness). The thin and LED-festooned Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 would be one example of an HS Design laptop.

The Ryzen 9 4900HS is an 8-core/16-thread mobile processor with a 3.0Ghz base clock (4.3Ghz boost), 35W of TDP, 12MB of cache, and a graphics frequency of 1750MHz. Here’s how that compares to the current line of HS mobile processors:

  • Ryzen 7 4900HS: 8-core/16-thread, 4.2 / 2.9GHz, 12MB, 1600MHz, 35W TDP

  • Ryzen 5 4900HS: 6-core/12-thread, 4.0 / 3.0GHz, 11MB, 1500MHz, 35W TDP

Both chips will also use what AMD calls its SmartShift feature, or the ability to shift power between the processor and graphics card to best optimise for whatever game you’re playing. AMD hasn’t provided reviewers a chance to benchmark the new processors yet, but it’s claiming that the Ryzen 9 4900HS is up to 28 per cent faster than Intel’s Core i9-9880H in multi-threaded performance in Cinebench R20, and can hit well-over 60 fps in games like Far Cry 5, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and League of Legends when paired with an Nvidia RTX 2060 Max-Q graphics card. With the SmartShift feature in particular, AMD says The Division 2 runs up to 10 per cent faster and up to 12 per cent faster in Cinebench R20.

Additionally, AMD is expecting to see over 100 Ryzen OEM laptop configurations throughout the rest of 2020, which includes Asus’ Zephyrus G14, and twice as many gaming notebook launches from year to year. AMD expects its new Ryzen 9 4000-series processors to be available in Spring 2020, although it did not give a precise date.

AMD’s 4000-series also includes the U-series, designed for every day laptops (think your Lenovo Yogabooks or HP Spectres). And even though those mobile processors aren’t specifically designed with gaming in mind, AMD claims higher framerates with its integrated graphics over Intel’s 10m-based Core i7-1065G7, twice the performance per watt over previous AMD mobile processors.

Again, we haven’t been able to benchmark AMD’s H or HS-series mobile processors or reviewed the likes of the Zephyrus G14, but if AMD’s performance and framerate claims are accurate, we could finally—finally!—see a much-needed injection of competition into the mobile processor market. AMD’s desktop processors have already shaken up the market share of desktop CPUs, particularly due to its 7nm technology, where Intel has struggled to bring 10nm to its desktops CPUs for some time. According to Steam’s February 2020 hardware survey, AMD now sits at a 21 per cent share, where Intel is around a 79 per cent share.

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