CES 2019 is underway and AMD is leading the leading the way by introducing its latest-gen Zen processors, a couple of which are bound for gaming laptops.
While being exceptionally popular among desktop gaming PC builders, the mobile version of Ryzen has seen very little use in high-end laptops. This might change with the just-released Ryzen Mobile 3000 series chips, previously know as Picasso. The improved Zen processors with Vega graphics are manufactured in a 12 nm process (as opposed to 14 nm), which allows for better power efficiency and higher clocks.
Two Potential Gaming Laptop CPUs
The new Ryzen processors are fundamentally the same as the previous chips, as there are apparently no changes to the architecture. Instead, AMD has slightly improved first Zen generation while also moving from a 14nm production process to 12nm for the Ryzen Mobile 3000. This has resulted in higher clock rates and a slightly lower power consumption.
More importantly, however, AMD now adds a couple of chips that will compete with the ubiquitous Intel Core i7-8750H and Core i5-8300H, which are staples in today’s gaming laptops. The new AMD H-series Ryzen CPUs come with a 35-Watt TDP and are already scheduled to appear in Asus’ upcoming FX505DY from the TUF lineup.
In the new Ryzen Mobile 3000 series, the CPUs of interest are the Ryzen 7 3750H and the Ryzen 5 3550H. Both have four cores and eight threads courtesy of Simultaneous Multi-Threading (SMT – AMD’s Hyperthreading analogue) and slightly different clock rates. The Ryzen 5 also has a somewhat less capable integrated Vega graphics chip, but these will be supplemented by dedicated graphics in gaming laptops.
As for the Asus FX505DY, this one looks like most other laptops in the entry-level TUF range, with the main difference being Ryzen CPUs and a dedicated AMD RX 560X graphics card.
We have already seen some putative benchmarks related to these chips, but AMD has so far only taken the lid of some numbers related to the lower-end Ryzen 5 3500U so far. AMD claims it offers a 14–27% improvement on the Intel Core i5-8250U at web browsing and media editing, respectively. A more interesting comparison would involve the H-series CPUs, but we will have to wait a bit longer for that.
AMD has also provided some gaming-related numbers related to the integrated Vega graphics. Although this chip will see little use in dedicated gaming machines, it may be of interest that the Vega IGP in the Ryzen 7 3700U can achieve an 87 fps average in Rocket League (720p/low quality) versus 73 fps for the IGP in Intel’s Core i7-8565U. In Fortnite it reaches 57 fps versus the Intel’s 48 fps (also low-quality settings).
Improved Mobile Driver Support
Another aspect of AMD’s CES announcement could be even more important, however. One of the major problems that has previously plagued AMD’s mobile gaming platforms is driver support, but the manufacturer had some good news regarding that, too.
Starting from sometime in the first quarter of 2019, all future updates of the AMD Radeon Software will also include support for all 3000-series CPUs. If AMD lives up to these promises we could see lots of Ryzen-based gaming laptops in a not too distant future.