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RDNA 2 quietly arrives in budget laptops

RDNA 2 quietly arrives in budget laptops

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AMD announced some of the first chips in its new Ryzen 7000 mobile line earlier this year, and they’re just now starting to pop up in listings.

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The IdeaPad 1 open, seen from above on a white background.
A very boring render of the IdeaPad 1 from Lenovo’s website.
Image: Lenovo

Back in September, AMD launched some of the first mobile chips from its upcoming Ryzen 7000 line, the budget-oriented “Mendocino” series. At launch, they were described as tailored to “the everyday laptop,” combining last-gen Zen 2 CPU cores with high-end RDNA 2 graphics.

That RDNA 2, generally seen powering much more expensive machines as well as the PS5 and Xbox Series X / S consoles, could become widely available at a budget price point was an exciting prospect. But Mendocino only announced one partner at launch: Acer and its Aspire 3 series. Since then, we’ve basically heard... crickets about the Mendocino series.

That is, until today. Kudos to Notebook Italia for spotting several new items on Lenovo’s Product Specifications Reference website, making clear that the Mendocino has a new home: Lenovo’s Ideapad 1. If you look at the “Processor” section of the listing, you’ll see a number of Mendocino chips listed, including the Ryzen 5 7520U, the Ryzen 3 7320U, and the Athlon Gold 7220U.

A screenshot of a PDF of an IdeaPad 1 showing an Athlon Gold 7220U processor.
Here’s one of the Athlon Gold 7220U models being sold in Korea.

From the website, it doesn’t appear that Lenovo has Mendocino models on the US market. (Determined US shoppers will have quite a few other countries to parse for models, however, including the UK, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia.) So while it’s hard to make definitive statements about potential US pricing, I did find some models on Lenovo’s Hong Kong store starting at an equivalent of $437.

Most importantly, it’s always nice to see good technology available for lower prices. While the presence of RDNA 2 alone won’t make, say Microsoft Flight Simulator an easy lift, we’d certainly expect most esports titles to be significantly more playable on Mendocino devices than they would be on pretty much any other budget laptop. And the shortcomings of Intel’s chips (in both performance and efficiency) have made picking decent budget laptops out of this year’s class a difficult task. The more AMD you can find at lower prices, the better.