AMD’s “Raven Ridge” mobile APU, based on the “Zen” architecture, to come this year

AMD mobile laptops offerings AMD new Zen architecture was made public few months ago and significantly changed the game between Intel and AMD (hopefully, others too soon) in the scene of desktop CPUs. The new AMD Ryzen CPUs offer lots of cores for relatively low prices. For example, the Intel I5-7600K with 4c/4t priced at around $230 while the AMD Ryzen priced at around $250 will give you 6 cores and 12 threads – x3 the threads count of the Intel I5-7600K and x1.5 times the I7-7700K cores.

The benchmarks over the web were not conclusive. Some had strange results for single thread performance vs multithread performance. It’s quite obvious that the software developers need to optimize for the new architecture too. It’s also obvious that when you can utilize many cores, you’ll get more from the AMD CPUs. So, I think, like others, that the AMD CPUs have bright future, even though it will take time.

Now, AMD will release the new “Raven Ridge” APUs towards the end of the year. These APUs, Zen CPU + VEGA GPU (same die), are aimed at the mobile market, a market that was vastly controlled by Intel, even though there were some AMD offerings (not once it was due to AMD’s partners doing a low quality designs). With the new APUs, AMD promises much higher CPU performance (50%) and graphics performance (40%), while having lower power consumption (50%). These are big numbers and as usual, it’s not clear in what cases will see these boosts, but given that the new chip will be based on the Zen and Vega architectures, we can expect them to be indeed that much better than current AMD offerings.

If AMD will be able to provide the much needed CPU performance upgrade for their mobile chips, it could be, by itself, a big step forward. The previous generations were problematic even when coupled with a good GPU, because the CPU performance was a bottleneck. Another part was the manufacturers. Some AMD based laptops were loaded with a supposedly fast enough APU, with a very fast iGPU or dGPU, but the TDP was limited and basic requirements like dual channel memory that is needed to feed the hungry CPU and GPU, were not met. Add to that the problematic AMD drivers for mobile at the time, and you got yourself a mess. So, even though you could get an M385X equipped laptop for $500, it was crippled and basically delivered less than others, with weaker GPU.

AMD Raven Ridge mobile

Let’s hope that the new wind will push manufacturers to provide better offerings. At least until you could build a 3d pc easily.