AMD is announcing two new laptop CPUs this morning: the Ryzen 9 4900H and the 4900HS. The chips are the top-performing members of AMD’s new 4000 mobile series, which is based on the company’s 7nm Zen 2 architecture, and they aim to take on Intel’s Core i9 laptop line. You should see them in new laptops starting this upcoming Spring.
The chips are designed to power desktop-class gaming and productivity in (relatively) portable laptops. AMD announced that the 4900HS will appear in Asus’ 14-inch ROG Zephyrus G14, which weighs just over 3.5 pounds — that’s a pretty small form factor to feature a flagship processor. Asus is marketing the model as “the world’s most powerful 14-inch gaming laptop.”
The 35W 4900HS offers an eight-core, 16-thread design and 3.0 GHz clock speeds that can boost up to 4.3 GHz. The 45W 4900H has a 3.3 GHz base with a boost up to 4.4 GHz.
AMD hasn’t yet given reviewers a chance to benchmark the systems. But the company (unsurprisingly) promises that its new chips deliver superior performance to that of their Intel competitors. In AMD’s own testing, the 4900HS outperformed Intel’s Core i9-9880H by 28% on Cinebench R20 (which leverages the CPU to render a complex image), 23% on video transcoding, 56% on image rendering, and 32% on audio encoding. The i9 won out by 8% on PCMark 10 DCC, which measures overall system performance for content creation. No public benchmarks for the 4900H as of yet.
AMD also claims the 4900HS, paired with a Nvidia RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU, can surpass 60 frames per second on a number of AAA titles, including Rise of the Tomb Raider (104 FPS), Hitman (90 FPS), and Far Cry 5 (90 FPS). This isn’t particularly surprising, however — we’d expect most modern H-series chips to produce decent gaming results when paired with a 2060 Max-Q.
Both chips will be able to make use of AMD’s SmartShift feature, which enables the system to shift power between the CPU and GPU to optimize for games of different intensities.
To reiterate: these are AMD’s benchmarks, which we haven’t been able to independently verify. But if Ryzen 9 chips are at all comparable to Intel’s top-of-the-line processors, that certainly signals an upcoming shift in the mobile market. In recent memory, AMD’s mobile processors have been known as lower-cost options compared to Intel’s offerings; this would be the first time of late that AMD has offered a chip competitive with Intel’s best.
AMD’s Ryzen 4000 series also includes the Ryzen U-Series, designed for ultra-portable laptops, and other members of the Ryzen H-Series — the six-core Ryzen 5 4600H and the 8-core Ryzen 7 4800H. Onstage at CES 2020, AMD CEO Lisa Su claimed that the chips are twice as power-efficient as second-generation Ryzen chips.