AMD Ryzen 6000 Series ‘Zen 3+’ Laptop Processors Launched; Thin gaming laptops are expected to dominate sales in 2022
AMD has unveiled its Ryzen 6000 series of laptop processors, which it says are largely designed for premium thin-and-light laptops, including gaming laptops that are thinner and more portable than what people might expect. According to the company, buyers are strongly gravitating towards models less than 18 mm thick, even in the gaming segment. AMD claims to have achieved a 35% market share in gaming laptops over the past few years as its Ryzen 5000 series has allowed OEMs to design such models. The new Ryzen 6000 series processors are said to focus on power efficiency and maximizing performance density, enabling even smaller and more capable laptops than the previous generation.
More than 200 new laptop models with Ryzen 6000 series processors are expected to be announced in 2022, with Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Microsoft confirmed, with the first models to be announced by April, and models based on Ryzen 6000 Pro mobile processors are expected to follow. AMD also says buyers can expect to see ultraportable laptops with 24-hour battery life later in 2022.
The Ryzen 6000 series processors announced today are all based on the Zen 3+ architecture and are codenamed “Rembrandt”. One of the main highlights of this generation is the long-awaited move to RDNA2 graphics architecture for a claimed doubling of integrated graphics performance. AMD says you can now expect playable frame rates with nearly all current games at 1920×1080, using reasonable settings. FidelityFX super resolution upscaling support can further improve the performance of ultraportable laptops, eliminating the need for a discrete GPU.
Four categories of Ryzen 6000 series chips have been announced so far. “Ultra-enthusiast” models with the HX suffix will have TDPs of 45W+ while -H models rated for 45W will be seen in more mainstream gaming laptops and -HS models will be capped at 35W for thin and light gaming laptops. The -U models are rated for a 15-28W TDP range and will be seen in productivity-focused ultraportables that are still capable of some gaming.
Ryzen 6000-series processors will power laptops that rival those running Intel’s 12e Gen ‘Alder Lake’ processors. AMD says its competitor is “struggling” to produce chips suitable for high-performance thin-and-light laptops, pointing out that Alder Lake mobile processors feature between two and six performance cores compared to AMD’s eight. While its own comparison showed a Ryzen 9 6900HS outperformed by Intel’s latest Core i9-12900HK in Cinebench with all threads active, AMD claims 2.62x better sustained performance per watt, at 35W versus 110 W, and that too in a much more compact laptop.
Compared to the Ryzen 5000 series, AMD claims 1.3X CPU and 2X GPU performance improvements for the same 28W TDP level, plus a 3 hour increase in battery life even when using the same chassis and the same laptop battery.
The performance of the integrated GPU is said to be up, both for gaming and for content creation. AMD has reintroduced model names for the RDNA2 generation of integrated GPUs – Ryzen 9 and Ryzen 7 “Rembrandt” parts will include all Radeon 680M iGPUs that have 12 render units. AMD says it performs close to Nvidia’s GeForce GTX1650 MaxQ GPU at 1920×1080 in some games, and can beat it with FidelityFX super resolution set to balanced mode. The Ryzen 5 processors will all have Radeon 660M integrated graphics, with 6 rendering units.
Platform-level changes include a long-awaited upgrade to PCIe 4.0 for increased bandwidth to discrete GPUs and SSDs. Ryzen 6000-series mobile processors will require DDR5 (up to 6400MT/s) or LPDDR5 (up to 4800MT/s) RAM, and AMD says it doesn’t expect supply to be a constraint for laptop OEMs. Microsoft’s Pluto security and encryption technology has been integrated across the range. There’s built-in AV1 decoding with DisplayPort 2.1, UHBR10 adaptive sync, HDMI 2.1 (48GB), Wi-Fi 6e and Bluetooth LE 5.2.
AMD has added support for 40Gbps USB4 with charging, video out and PCIe tunneling, which should be functionally similar to Thunderbolt. External GPUs will be supported. All Ryzen 6000 based laptops will need to support 40Gbps USB4, not use the slower 20Gbps version. Although certification may take time, some laptops may ship with the hardware and enable this feature later through an update.
The improvement in power efficiency comes from several changes, the most significant being the switch to TSMC’s 6nm N6 manufacturing process. AMD claims to have aggressively optimized power drain, and new power blocking techniques as well as firmware and platform updates all result in significant overall reductions in battery consumption. Users can allow their laptops to dynamically manage the operating system’s power state instead of choosing between “performance” and “battery life” on a slider.
Support for <1W display panels and auto-refresh will reduce GPU workloads when only a small part of the screen needs to be updated, that too at a low refresh rate , for example when a video is playing in a window. Additionally, the processor can move faster between power states, at intervals as short as tens of milliseconds.
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