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AMD’s 7nm Ryzen 5000 mobile processors promise 2021’s best gaming notebooks

At its CES 2021 keynote, AMD has announced its new Ryzen 5000 mobile CPUs. Most (but not all) are based on the company’s 7nm “Zen 3” architecture. AMD CEO Lisa Su called the series “the most powerful PC processor ever built.”

As with the previous generation, the line 5000 has two categories for two very different audiences. There’s the H-Series – which you’ll find in laptops designed for gaming and content creation – and the U-Series, designed for ultraportable notebooks. (Three of the U-Series chips are based on the older Zen 2 architecture, which is a bit annoying.)

Within these categories are the Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 9 tiers (loose counterparts to Intel̵

7;s Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 and Core i9, respectively). The H-series keeps the suffixes H and HS from the 4000 series in addition to a new HX designation.

The main line of the U-Series is the eight-core 16-wire Ryzen 7 5800U with 1.9 GHz clock speeds that can increase up to 4.4 GHz. AMD claims that this chip delivers “the fastest productivity in ultra-thin laptops.” According to the company’s benchmarks, the Intel Core i7-1165G7 chip surpasses PCMark 10 by a factor of 1.23, beating it on a subtest involving a number of office apps including Excel and Edge (although the two chips are tied to PowerPoint, and Intel wins very narrowly on Word).

The company also claims that the 5800U can deliver up to 17.5 hours of battery life for normal use and 21 hours of movie playback. That would be a lot of juice, even for AMD, but we get more accurate estimates once we’ve tried the systems.

On the H-Series side, the big player is the Ryzen 9 5980HS, also with eight cores and 16 wires, but with 3.0 GHz clock speeds that increase up to 4.8 GHz. AMD says these are “the fastest mobile processors you can get.” The 5980HS is several steps above the Ryzen 9 4900HS, the monstrous chip that powers the Asus’ 2020 Zephyrus G14.

AMD claims that the Ryzen 9 5980HS beats the Intel Core i9-10980HP over the Cinebench R20 in both single-thread performance (601 to Intel’s 514) and multi-thread performance (4349 to the i9’s 3892). It also beats the newer Core i7-1185G7 in both cases.

New in the H series are HX chips, which AMD says are intended for “serious gaming.” AMD claims that its Ryzen 9 5900HX at 45W + TDP will power “2021’s best gaming notebooks.”

According to company benchmarks, the Core i9-10980HP chip beats the Cinebench R20 (single thread) by 14 percent, 37 percent on the Passmark P10 (measuring overall CPU performance) and 21 percent on the 3DMark Fire Strike Physics (which measures graphics performance).

Su expects more than 150 Ryzen 5000 laptops to be launched this year – she expects the first one to hit the shelves in February.

The big question will be how these processors compare to Intel’s new Tiger Lake H systems – the company announced these chips yesterday on its CES 2021 headline. All of these three chips (including two Core i7s and a Core i5) maximize at 35W and have only four cores and eight wires – half the number of Ryzen’s best deals. However, Intel says there is an eight-core processor with speeds up to 5 GHz coming “later this quarter.” That’s probably what AMD should look out for.

AMD Ryzen 5000

Model Cores / threads TDP (watts) Boost / base frequency (GHz) Cache (MB)
Model Cores / threads TDP (watts) Boost / base frequency (GHz) Cache (MB)
AMD Ryzen 9 59580HX 8C / 16T 45W + Up to 4.8 / 3.3 GHz 20
AMD Ryzen 9 5980HS 8C / 16T 35W Up to 4.8 / 3.0 GHz 20
AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX 8C / 16T 45W + Up to 4.6 / 3.3 GHz 20
AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS 8C / 16T 35W Up to 4.6 / 3.0 GHz 20
AMD Ryzen 7 5800H 8C / 16T 45W Up to 4.4 / 3.2 GHz 20
AMD Ryzen 7 5800HS 8C / 16T 35W Up to 4.4 / 2.8 GHz 20
AMD Ryzen 5 5600H 6C / 12T 45W Up to 4.2 / 3.3 GHz 19
AMD Ryzen 5 5600HS 6C / 12T 35W Up to 4.2 / 3.0 GHz 19
AMD Ryzen 7 5800U 8C / 16T 15W Up to 4.4 / 1.9 GHz 20
AMD Ryzen 7 5700U 8C / 16T 15W Up to 4.3 / 1.8 GHz 8
AMD Ryzen 5 5600U 6C / 12T 15W Up to 4.2 / 2.3 GHz 19
AMD Ryzen 5 5500U 6C / 12T 15W Up to 4.0 / 2.1 GHz 8
AMD Ryzen 3 5300U 4C / 8T 15W Up to 3.8 / 2.6 GHz 6

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