The notebook market has not been kind to AMD over the last decade – for a long, long time the company was only ever seen as the discount option for those on a strict budget. It didn’t help that OEMs only saw AMD in that light, fitting bulky units with sub-standard displays and storage options meant that even retailers were only presenting AMD as something for the budget conscious.

All that seems set to change. Fast forward to 2020, and notebook users are eagerly awaiting the arrival of products based on AMD’s latest Ryzen Mobile 4000 series processors, which combine up to eight Zen 2 cores and upgraded Vega graphics into a small CPU for the notebook market. AMD has already made waves with its Zen 2 cores in the desktop and enterprise space, and the company has already announced it plans to put eight of those cores, along with a significantly upgraded graphics design, into a processor that has a thermal design point of 15 W. These 15 W parts are designed for ultraportable notebooks, and AMD has a number of design wins lined up to show just how good an AMD system can be.

The same silicon will also go into 45 W-class style notebooks, with a higher base frequency. These parts are geared more towards discrete graphics options, for gaming notebooks or more powerful business designs. The gaming market (at 45 W), the commercial market (15W to 45W) and the ultraportable market (15 W) are where AMD is hoping to strike hardest with the new hardware.

Since earlier this year in January, at the annual CES trade show, we saw a number of early designs based on the new Ryzen Mobile 4000 family. These included TUF laptops from ASUS, the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7, Lenovo Thinkpads using Ryzen Mobile 4000 Pro, Dell’s G5 15 SE, the Acer Swift 3, and the ASUS Zephyrus G14 to name but a few. All of these are key design wins for different segments of the market, and the two that AMD seem to be pushing most are the Zephyrus and the Yoga Slim 7.


The rear panel of the ASUS Zephyrus G14 with its LED rear

The ASUS Zephyrus G14 is set to be the only 14-inch laptop on the market that has both a H-series processor, a 1080p 120Hz panel, and an RTX 2060 discrete graphics card solution in that form factor. The aim here is to have something both portable and high performance, with within the right thermal envelope, for gamers and users who need something with a bit more oomph while on the road, such as video editors who need up to 32 GB of DDR4 inside. There’s an added rear panel effect with moveable LEDs, just for a DJ to show off or to show a logo. The Zephyrus G14 will also be the first design with a HS-series processor, which we’ll cover in a bit.

The second key system AMD is promoting is an ultraportable, the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7. It comes with the highest grade Ryzen Mobile 4000 15 W U-series processor, the Ryzen 7 4800U, and is designed to turbo up to 25 W when needed based on the design of the chassis. Paired with Wi-Fi 6, a FreeSync display, and LPDDR4X, this is the system that AMD is using for all their battery life performance demonstrations.

AMD is working with Lenovo to source these units for press sampling, which should have been for today, however due to the world situation the shipment of these have been delayed, and users will start to see reviews from next month, even though they might be available in China before then.

The Processor Offerings

As with Intel’s mobile processors, AMD’s latest lines fall into two categories. For the ultraportable and low end gaming market, we have 15 W parts called ‘U-Series’. For the gaming market where discrete GPUs are used, there are 45 W parts called ‘H-Series’. The commercial market will take from both sets, and later in the year we might see mini-PC manufacturers (like Zotac, perhaps) use one or the other to bolster their portfolio.

Not previously announced until today is the AMD Ryzen 9 4900H family, the new halo Ryzen Mobile 4000 hardware. These are AMD’s first processors with the Ryzen 9 designation, and we have a specific news story about them here.

AMD Ryzen Mobile 4000 APUs
AnandTech Cores
Threads
Base
Freq
Turbo
Freq
L2 L3 GPU CUs
GPU Freq
TDP
H-Series
Ryzen 9 4900H 8 / 16 3.3 GHz 4.4 GHz 4 MB 8 MB 8 / 1750 MHz 45 W
Ryzen 9 4900HS 8 / 16 3.0 GHz 4.3 GHz 4 MB 8 MB 8 / 1750 MHz 35 W
Ryzen 7 4800H 8 / 16 2.9 GHz 4.2 GHz 4 MB 8 MB 7 / 1600 MHz 45 W
Ryzen 7 4800HS 8 / 16 2.9 GHz 4.2 GHz 4 MB 8 MB 7 / 1600 MHz 35 W
Ryzen 5 4600H 6 / 12 3.0 GHz 4.0 GHz 3 MB 8 MB 6 / 1500 MHz 45 W
Ryzen 5 4600HS 6 / 12 3.0 GHz 4.0 GHz 3 MB 8 MB 6 / 1500 MHz 35 W

The H series processors are split into H and HS parts. For all except the Ryzen 9, the specifications between the two match, aside from the TDP, which is 45 W for the H and 35 W for the HS, but both of them are considered ‘H-Series class’ processors. Technically the H series can be de-rated to run at 35 W, however to get the S in the name requires collaboration with AMD, which we’ll get into later.

AMD Ryzen Mobile 4000 APUs
AnandTech Cores
Threads
Base
Freq
Turbo
Freq
L2 L3 GPU CUs
GPU Freq
TDP
U-Series
Ryzen 7 4800U 8 / 16 1.8 GHz 4.2 GHz 4 MB 8 MB 8 / 1750 MHz 15 W
Ryzen 7 4700U 8 / 8 2.0 GHz 4.1 GHz 4 MB 8 MB 7 / 1600 MHz 15 W
Ryzen 5 4600U 6 / 12 2.1 GHz 4.0 GHz 3 MB 8 MB 6 / 1500 MHz 15 W
Ryzen 5 4500U 6 / 6 2.3 GHz 4.0 GHz 3 MB 8 MB 6 / 1500 MHz 15 W
Ryzen 3 4300U 4 / 4 2.7 GHz 3.7 GHz 2 MB 4 MB 5 / 1400 MHz 15 W

The U-series parts, by the nature of the lower TDP, ultimately have a lower base frequency than the others. These CPUs also tend to rely more on the integrated graphics, which means that the power budget is often split between the CPU and GPU. AMD is also going for an interesting mix here of parts with-and-without simultaneous multithreading. The bottom processor, the Ryzen 3 4300U, even has half of its L3 cache disabled.

All of these CPUs support DDR4-3200 (up to 64 GB, 51.2 GB/s) and LPDDR4X-4266 (up to 32 GB, 68.3 GB/s), and it will be up to the OEM which one to use: LPDDR4X should offer better idle battery life and peak performance, but DDR4 offers more capacity. It is likely that we’ll see the ultraportable market use LPDDR4X, while the more gaming and workstation class systems will use DDR4.

All of the CPUs are PCIe 3.0 only, rather than PCIe 4.0 like the desktop parts. This is primarily due to power – the double bandwidth of PCIe 4.0 requires more power, and given that storage or graphics rarely need peak speeds, AMD felt the product portfolio would prefer battery life in this regard. Each chip has sixteen PCIe 3.0 lanes, split such that x8 is available for a graphics card, and two x4 links for storage. There are separate PCIe lanes for other modules such as Wi-Fi 6 or mobile network access (4G/5G).

Display support for the CPUs allows for two 4K monitors through DisplayPort over Type-C, an additional 4K monitor if Thunderbolt is used, and a fourth monitor if USB 4.0 used. AMD has designed Renoir to not need additional chips to detect which way a Type-C is connected – that is all handled on die. With the display and USB support, the processor allows for concurrent USB 3.2 and DisplayPort use, with the peak DP v1.4 8.1G HBR3 standard in play using display stream compression (DSC).

Silicon Details

AMD surprised us by offering some details on the silicon here. The APU was manufactured on TSMC’s N7 process (7nm DUV), using a 13-layer metal stack. The whole die is 9.8 billion transistors. In January, we calculated through photography the die size to be about 150-151 mm2. AMD is stating that it is 156 mm2, which given previous measurements, probably doesn’t include scribe lines.

While we don’t have performance numbers for Renoir today, due to world events, we do have some deeper details into the platform that have not been disclosed before. These cover CPU and GPU improvements, significant changes to power management, Infinity Fabric, and how AMD is taking better control of thermals, performance, and battery life this type around.

AMD has stated that they expect to see 100+ designs using Renoir this year, with a number of those being key design wins that the company has not had in recent memory. Considering where the company was only four years ago, surrounded in a vicious negative feedback loop, this is a significant upswing in OEM participation, putting AMD in premium designs. Ultimately it’s the consumer who wins, as we should now see some serious competition in the notebook market.

What’s New in CPU, GPU, and Connectivity for the Renoir APU
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  • lisabmassey - Wednesday, March 25, 2020 - link

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  • superflex - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    Do you have to swallow for $6150 Reply
  • RamIt - Monday, March 16, 2020 - link

    Looking forward for a test unit. Battery life and mild gaming may make me shift to AMD. Reply
  • EliteRetard - Monday, March 16, 2020 - link

    I think a 48-4900 HS without a GPU would be the perfect laptop for most people.
    I've been wishing for something like this for a very long time.

    High core count and TDP for real work, with enough IGP for casual gaming. Still lower power than a 45w chip, especially since they're always paired with at least a 25w GPU (even though most don't need it).

    U series for those who care about battery above all else, HS + IGP for the vast majority, and H + DGPU for gamers and mobile workstations.

    Please make it so!
    Reply
  • deksman2 - Monday, March 16, 2020 - link

    Actually, I'd prefer they give the APU full 45W TDP 'breathing room', otherwise it will 'choke' on the 35W TDP constraints.

    Most laptop OEM's don't really pay too much attention in designing adequate cooling systems for their designs, which can lead to thermal throttling, overheating and performance losses.

    I'd rather they work with the 'maximum allowed TDP' for the chip (say 45W) design a cooling system that's more than enough to handle it and work from there.

    I'd prefer seeing 4900H with a decent dGPU such as RX 5700M and proper cooling design to produce limited noise under full load and that both CPU/IGP and dGPU can reach/sustain their maximum advertised performance indefinitely (or for as long as one needs them).

    I need productivity on the go, and I have no time for cooling shenanigans from OEM's.
    Reply
  • EliteRetard - Monday, March 16, 2020 - link

    35w gives tons of "breathing room", it's over twice the TDP of U series parts.
    It's also half the power of a 45w CPU plus low end 25w DGPU.
    I fully expect it'll maintain a good 3+GHz under full load (vs 2GHz for U series).
    For cooling, OEMs can just slap on the cooler from their 45w designs.

    The vast majority of people don't need a DGPU, but they are currently forced to buy one if they want any performance CPU. That costs them more money, increases weight, and reduces battery life (two fold, less space for battery and higher draw).

    You obviously want a gaming laptop, and that's not at all what I'm discussing.
    80% of the market would be incredibly well served with a 35w HS APU.
    Far better than the crappy U series they've been forced into.

    For the 10% who want battery life over anything, they can get a 15w U series.
    For the 10% who want max gaming they can get a 45w H series.

    I've been begging for a logical laptop for so long... I seriously can't understand why OEMs have refused to even consider it. In what other industry do manufactures refuse to service the needs of 80% to cater only for the odd 20%? "Oh you want something practical? HA screw you!"

    Imagine if you could only buy a 2 seat scooter for $15+k, or a massive 4 door 8ft bed truck for $100+k. And there are literally no other options, new or used...there has been only these two choices being sold by every car maker in the entire world. If you want to do anything more than a scooter can handle, you are literally forced to buy a massive overkill option no matter how impractical.

    That's literally how the laptop market has been for almost a decade.
    Reply
  • wolfesteinabhi - Tuesday, March 17, 2020 - link

    i totally see where you are going with this ...but for vast majority .. people dont care about CPU's and performance ... all they ask is a cheap laptop with good battery life....they dont even compare or ask for model numbers for CPUs .... they jsut see its as core i3 or core i5 ... or Ryzen 3/5 .. thats all they "perceive" as performance..... and lastly they want it dirt cheap. (also they expect to have a dGPU to always out perform iGPU ....even if dGPU is pants like MX150) Reply
  • erple2 - Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - link

    Frankly, the 4800 is much more capable than what most people need in a laptop. I've seen people effectively develop applications on an Atom based Chromebook with great success, and based on what I see other people that aren't enthusiasts doing, even the bottom tier 4600H is more than they need. It's exceedingly rare for any normal user to need more than even 4 cores to do their normal workload of opening tabs, checking email, talking on videochat. Reply
  • Namisecond - Thursday, March 26, 2020 - link

    I agree, for general computing tasks, 4 cores or 4 fully powered threads is good enough for most people. In a laptop, for a lot of people, the important factors are: size/weight, screen quality, battery life, design aesthetics, not necessarily in that order.
    I used to buy thin-and-light gaming laptops for my own perceived needs...but recently, I've found that I'm carrying the atom-powered thin and light, because the screen is good enough, the size and weight is good, and it has all-day battery life.
    Reply
  • Teckk - Monday, March 16, 2020 - link

    This supports Thunderbolt 3? Reply

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