AMD is announcing its new Ryzen Mobile refresh at CES this week. First-generation Ryzen Mobile CPUs debuted just over a year ago, and while this update slipped a bit in comparison, it can be thought of as the last hurrah for AMD’s 12nm Ryzen refresh cycle before 7nm chips begin arriving later in the year.
Over the past year, AMD’s overall push with Ryzen has seemed to focus primarily on desktop and server markets. We haven’t seen the same emphasis on pushing Ryzen into mobile form factors or spaces, but that may be changing with this new generation of products. The same adjustments to boost behavior and other features of second-generation Ryzen products are also baked into these new APUs, along with some modest clock improvements to both base and boost clock. Between the two, overall performance should be moderately higher than last year.
As always, take manufacturing benchmarks with a grain of salt.
The full line-up of parts is here:
There’s not much new to see here. AMD will launch high performance 35W parts alongside its 15W chips instead of shipping them in a staggered fashion. CPUs have received 100MHz clock bumps to base and boost clocks, with a 100MHz bump on GPU clock as well.
In situations like this, the devil is very often in the details. AMD made power changes to the second-generation Ryzen cores that allowed them to hold higher clocks and improved overall performance. The gains from Ryzen 7 1800X to Ryzen 7 2700X were, therefore, a bit larger than one might have expected based solely on clock speed.
AMD is also adding features to bring its newest laptops fully onboard with Windows Modern PC features, with support for wake-on-voice, Cortana Far Field, and support for the S0i3 sleep state. The company is partnering with Asus to create systems like the FX505DY TUF Gaming, a Ryzen 5 3550H CPU, and RX 560 mobile GPU. In a major announcement, AMD has stated that starting in Q1 2019, all Ryzen Mobile systems will receive graphics updates at the same time as their desktop brethren. This should fix a significant pain point that came up earlier in the year when it became clear that Ryzen Mobile laptops had gone over a year without a GPU driver update.
AMD is also positioning some of its old Excavator SKUs as Chromebook solutions. This isn’t a market we cover much as far as overall performance, so I don’t have much to observe about it, beyond noting that Excavator might well compare reasonably against the sorts of Celerons and Pentiums that typically played in this space.
Overall, we’d say AMD has definitely strengthened its overall plan for mobile, with a wider range of products. What we’d like to see now is a better suite of design wins. Ryzen Mobile didn’t feel like a major priority for many OEMs in 2018, and we’d like to see AMD start pulling down even a handful of really solid designs. The Asus gaming rig above might make for a decent start, provided the price is right. Adding feature support is always good for overall positioning, and the productivity and battery life gains are reasonable. We’ll see if the steady year-on-year improvements translate to more shelf space in 2019.
- New Utility Can Double AMD Threadripper 2990WX Performance
- What’s Ahead For AMD in 2019
- AMD Vaults Onto the NASDAQ 100 Stock Index