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Ryzen Mobile gets a boost, wants in the entry-level gaming laptop and Chromebook market

By Scorpus · 10 replies
Jan 6, 2019
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  1. The first important point to note about 2nd-gen Ryzen Mobile is these are not 7nm parts. AMD will discuss 7nm developments at their CES keynote on Wednesday, but these new mobile processors are built on 12nm using the existing Zen+ architecture. They also carry Ryzen Mobile 3000 series branding, as expected.

    This may be a little confusing considering 3rd generation Ryzen desktop parts are expected to form the rest of the Ryzen 3000 series and should be built using 7nm, but it does fit in with AMD’s existing lines. The Ryzen Mobile 2000 series, for example, debuted ahead of 2nd-gen Ryzen, but still used the original Zen architecture on 14nm. Ryzen Mobile 3000 is a natural successor, bumping their line-up to 12nm and Zen+, around 15 months after first-gen Ryzen Mobile.

    Because these are Zen+ CPUs on 12nm, this is not a major upgrade over the first generation. For the most part we’re looking at 100 MHz increases to the base clock, and between 100 and 200 MHz increases to the boost clock, for the CPU cores, facilitated by the minor bump from 14nm to 12nm.

    There are four U-series SKUs in the line-up. At the top end we have the Ryzen 7 3700U as four core, eight thread parts clocked up to 4.0 GHz. That’s the biggest upgrade to clock speeds you will see as the 2700U topped out at 3.8 GHz. We’re also seeing an extra 100 MHz added to the clock speed of the Vega 10 GPU, now hitting 1400 MHz up from 1300 MHz across 10 compute units. Cache is listed as 6 MB of L2/L3, which likely means the split of 2 MB L2 and 4MB L3 remains.

    click to enlarge

    Then we have the Ryzen 5 3500U with four cores with SMT, slightly lower clock speeds on the CPU compared to the 3700U, and Vega 8 graphics at 1200 MHz.

    The Ryzen 3 3300U comes in with a lower boost clock on the CPU, and the GPU is cut down to Vega 6 with 6 compute units. The Ryzen 3 3200U comes in as a 2 core, 4 thread part with Vega 3 graphics. This is all reminiscent to the first-gen line-up, but with higher clock speeds.

    There are some new parts in the line-up though. In particular, we have two 35W H-series CPUs designed for gaming notebooks. This is an area AMD says they want to get into more and are going to be pursuing more opportunities with across 2019. First-gen Ryzen Mobile did eventually get 35W H-series SKUs but they weren’t seen in any laptops, it sounds like that will change with second-gen.

    Looking at AMD’s table, there is no difference to the specifications between the 35W and 15W parts, except for the TDP.

    So the Ryzen 7 3750H, for example, has the same core configuration, clock speeds and GPU as the Ryzen 7 3700U. However with that higher 35W TDP, the 3750H will be able to sustain much higher CPU and GPU clocks for a longer time. It is a little unusual that base clocks have dropped from the mid-3.0 GHz range down to 2.3 GHz and 2.1 GHz, but I suspect the higher TDP will still allow sustained clocks above the 3.3 and 3.2 GHz base clocks of the previous generation for CPU workloads.

    With 2nd-gen Ryzen Mobile, AMD’s H-series processors still have the challenge of going up against Intel’s 45W H-series offerings, which are currently six core, 12 thread parts with similar clock speeds. The quad-core Ryzen 7 3750H will end up more closely matched to something like Intel’s Core i5-8300H, which is commonly found in budget-focused gaming systems.

    The Asus laptop AMD showed off that uses the Ryzen 7 3750H and Ryzen 5 3550H seems to be one of these budget-oriented machines as it packs a Radeon RX 560X GPU and has fairly typical entry-level gaming laptop dimensions. I think we’ll see the H-series used in similar designs across 2019.

    AMD has also introduced an entry-level Athlon APU into their Ryzen Mobile line-up for the first time, the Athlon 300U. This is a very similar APU to the Ryzen 3 3200U: 2 cores, 4 threads and 3 Vega compute units, but everything is clocked lower and it’s still built using 14nm. AMD says this chip is designed for the entry-level Windows and Chromebook market, where Ryzen 3 wasn’t really competing as well, so expect dirt cheap prices for that APU.

    All in all, nothing spectacular to see here and we likely won't see 7nm mobile parts until next year. This release is similar to Intel’s Whiskey Lake U-series with small increases over the last generation. Lots of AMD’s materials for this launch were focused on comparing 2nd-gen Ryzen to much older laptops which is a typical upgrade path for buyers.

    AMD did give a few vague performance metrics for some Ryzen Mobile 3000 series parts. You can see here a comparison between the Ryzen 5 3500U and the Core i5-8250U.

    In the next slide we have gaming data for the Ryzen 7 3700U’s integrated graphics up against Intel’s Core i7-8565U which is their latest 15W Whiskey Lake CPU. As expected, in both slides AMD’s product looks good.

    Perhaps the bigger announcement out of today is that proper Ryzen Mobile drivers will be available starting Q1 2019 for both first and second generation Ryzen Mobile processors. AMD says that when a new graphics driver comes out for discrete Radeon GPUs, that driver will also support all Ryzen Mobile products past and present.

    Users will be able to download and install this universal driver on any system that uses those products, which is great news that we had anticipated a few months ago but we're finally closer to actual execution.

    Poor driver support was a key issue with Ryzen Mobile products, OEMs were shipping and using outdated revisions which also lead to a buggy experience for users. Advanced users looked into solutions such as hacking desktop or APU drivers to work on their Ryzen Mobile laptops and be treated to much better performance and stability. That shouldn’t be a problem going forward and AMD has gotten their act together on this.

    A few loose ends... AMD is expecting 33% more design wins for Ryzen Mobile in 2019. That’s a modest improvement considering there are only a few laptops on the market that use AMD’s mobile processors at the moment.

    AMD also announced the A6-9220C and A4-9120C as processors specifically designed for Chromebooks. These compete with Intel’s low-end Atom chips like the Celeron N4200. These are based on AMD’s older APU designs on 28nm , but they do pack 2 cores and 2 threads at decent enough clock speeds in a 6W power envelope. These will be seen in Chromebooks from HP and Acer to begin with.

    Permalink to story.

  2. yeeeeman

    yeeeeman TS Addict Posts: 154   +119

    Too bad they used 3750H designation for a 4 core 8 thread CPU. They should have taken the 2600X and make it fit 45W TDP and call it 3750H if they wanted to copy Intel's naming and reach performance parity.
  3. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 714   +270

    I would rather they have kept with the correct naming scheme for mobile. Mobile chips will lag behind and that's understandable, but why use the same name when it's a generation behind?
    Sausagemeat likes this.
  4. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,808   +3,195

    What AMD is doing is nothing new here. They did it with the 2000 series mobile chips, Intel has done it with mobile chips in the past and with their HEDT parts as well. In fact every Intel "tick" generation is the same thing AMD is doing here, with a bump to the efficiency and clocks. I see no reason why they wouldn't label these 3000 series processors, as they are in fact Zen+ while the predecessors are Zen.
  5. Sausagemeat

    Sausagemeat TS Maniac Posts: 409   +202

    Ryzen Mobile so far has been a complete heap of garbage. The Ryzen 7 equipped Lenovo yoga I bought was able to drain the battery in under an hour in most use cases for me. I promptly returned it for the same model equipped with an i5 8250 which gets around 2.5-3.5 hours of use and the fans spin up less often. I did compare gaming performance, Ryzen was better but both were piss poor. The Intel laptop also had thunderbolt whereas Ryzen didn’t.

    I don’t think a few extra frames in fortnite make up for the tragic battery life these “mobile” products have.
  6. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,645   +304

    AMD focused on battery life with this generation, and promised 12 hours battery and 10 hours while watching video. We'll have to wait and see how this turns out in the real world, but it at least sounds promising.
  7. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 714   +270

    I didn't like it then, either. People who aren't following it closely will think that the Ryzen 3000 Mobile class chips are the same as the regular Ryzen 3000 class chips and will in fact be deceived. Doesn't make good business sense to me. In the end, it probably won't matter to most people anyway, except to enthusiasts.
  8. m3tavision

    m3tavision TS Addict Posts: 182   +121

    We are talking ultra portables notebooks... people don't usually consider these for gaming, or their battery life... but for their convenience and small design (what fans?). Now you can have a little of both. Laptops are a whole other story..

    If you need something with a battery life, stop looking at gaming laptop & notebooks, plz.
  9. Sausagemeat

    Sausagemeat TS Maniac Posts: 409   +202

    The Lenovo Yoga, the one I purchased is an ultrabook class notebook which folds over and doubles as a tablet. Lots of ultrabooks have fans these days. I’m quite impressed at how small they are. Not at how quiet they are though because they are quite loud I think.

    AMD need to drastically improve their battery life as we certainly aren’t buying these things to play fortnite or other games at 720p. They and/or the manufacturers of Ryzen based laptops also need to include thunderbolt support and I checked, this is open to be used, Intel haven’t locked it down.

    For me a good test of battery is being able to play a movie on a short 1-3 hour flight and right now Intel’s solutions just about do it but Ryzen mobile falls flat on its face, you’d barely be off the ground before the low battery warning prompts are in your face. The story is even worse when playing games.

    If AMD can match Intel’s battery life and include thunderbolt then the added gaming performance will be a nice bonus to give me a few more fps in Diablo or Civ when I end up having a quiet evening in the hotel and fancy playing a game. But as I primarily use my laptops for work and watching movies abroad, battery life is the deciding factor. AMD are quite far behind Intel here.
  10. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,808   +3,195

    Why do you continue to buy AMD products and then spend half your posts here bashing them?

    If you don't like AMD, which your post history clearly shows, stop buying them.

    Otherwise TechSpot's own Ryzen mobile review completely contradicts your opinion.
  11. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,808   +3,195

    I agree, it can be confusing. The only problem might be, how can it be done better? These new mobile chips are on a smaller node and slightly refined architecture. How do you signify to the customer that improvement? Simply increasing the model number in the 2000 generation doesn't quite convey the changes made under the hood IMO and if you don't keep that within the expected model numbers, customers searching for a 2700U might not even know something like a 2750U exists. On the otherhand, customers do now that the 3700U is a bump up from the 2700U simply by the naming.
    Danny101 likes this.

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