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

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An H-series and a U-series

AMD CEO Lisa Su holds up a Ryzen 5000 mobile chip at CES 2021.
AMD CEO Lisa Su unveiled the Ryzen 5000 mobile series onstage at CES 2021.
AMD

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

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

Within those categories are the Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7, and Ryzen 9 tiers (loose counterparts to Intel’s Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, and Core i9, respectively). The H-series keeps the H and HS suffixes from the 4000 series, in addition to a new HX designation.

Headlining the U-series is the eight-core, 16-thread Ryzen 7 5800U, with 1.9GHz clock speeds that can boost up to 4.4 GHz. AMD claims that this chip delivers “the fastest productivity in ultrathin notebooks.” Per the company’s benchmarks, the chip outperforms Intel’s Core i7-1165G7 by a factor of 1.23 on PCMark 10 and beats it on a subtest involving a number of office apps including Excel and Edge (though the two chips tie on PowerPoint, and Intel wins very narrowly on Word).

The company also claims the 5800U can deliver up to 17.5 hours of general-usage battery life and 21 hours of movie playback. That would be quite a lot of juice, even for AMD, but we’ll have more accurate estimates once we’ve tried the systems out.

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

AMD claims that the Ryzen 9 5980HS beats out Intel’s Core i9-10980HK on 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 to the H-series are the HX chips, which AMD says are meant for “serious gaming.” AMD claims that its Ryzen 9 5900HX, at 45W+ TDP, will power “2021’s best gaming notebooks.”

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

Su expects over 150 Ryzen 5000 laptops to launch this year — she expects the first to hit shelves in February.

The big question will be how these processors compare to Intel’s new Tiger Lake H systems — the company announced those chips yesterday at its CES 2021 keynote. All three of those chips (including two Core i7s and one Core i5) max out at 35W and have just four cores and eight threads — half the count of Ryzen’s top offerings. However, Intel says there’s an eight-core processor with speeds up to 5GHz coming “later this quarter.” That’s likely what AMD has to watch 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 5980HX 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