Subject: Mobile | January 24, 2018 - 12:20 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: vega APU, vega 8, vega 10, swift 3, ryzen mobile, raven ridge, Lenovo, ideapad 720s, amd, acer, 2700u, 2500U
Last October, when AMD launched their mobile-oriented Ryzen Processor with Radeon Vega Graphics product line (Raven Ridge), they talked about several different notebooks that would be shipping with these new parts. However, up until now, there has only been one officially launched and shipping product—the HP Envy x360.
We have an article on the performance of the Ryzen 5 2500U and the HP Envy x360 coming very soon, but today Ryzen Mobile-enabled notebooks have become available to order from both Acer and Lenovo.
First, we'll take a look at Acer's offering, the Swift 3.
For anyone who might be familiar with Acer's current notebook offerings, the Ryzen Swift 3 will seem very similar. From the photos, it appears to be nearly identical to its 8th Generation Intel equipped counterpart. That's certainly not a negative though, as I have been impressed with the Intel variant during some recent testing.
|Acer Swift 3|
|Screen||15.6” FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Display|
|CPU||Ryzen 5 2500U||Ryzen 7 2700U|
|GPU||Integrated Radeon Vega 8||Integrated Radeon Vega 10|
|RAM||8GB DDR4 Dual Channel (non-upgradable)|
|Storage||256GB SSD||512GB SSD|
|Network||802.11ac Dual Band 2x2 MU-MIMO|
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
48Wh Battery, "Up to 8 Hours Battery Life"
As far as specs are concerned, Acer seems to be checking all of the boxes. RAM will ship in a dual-channel configuration (although we don't know at what speed it will be running, likely 2133 or 2400,) but will not be user replaceable according to questions answered by an Acer representative on their Amazon listing.
Additionally, Acer seems to be the only notebook maker set to ship the Ryzen 5 2700U variant. Not only does the 2700U give users increased clock speeds of 200MHz at base speeds on the CPU portion, but the GPU sees a significant bump. The 2700U gets an upgrade from Vega 8 graphics with 512 stream processors running at 1100MHz to Vega 10 graphics with 640 stream processors at 1300MHz. This should provide a nice performance boost for the extra $200 Acer is asking.
The Acer Swift 3 is set to start shipping on February 9th from Amazon.
Next up is Lenovo, with their Ideapad 720S.
The only 13" Ryzen Mobile option to be announced, the Lenovo Ideapad 720S also shares a lot of design DNA with Lenovo's Intel counterparts.
|Lenovo Ideapad 720S|
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 5 2500U|
|Graphics||Integrated Radeon Vega 8|
|Memory||8GB DDR4-2133 (Single Channel)|
|Screen||13.3-in 1920x1080 IPS|
|Storage||512GB PCIe SSD|
|Camera||720p / Dual Digital Array Microphone|
|Wireless||802.11AC (1x1) + Bluetooth® 4.1|
|Connections||2 x USB 3.0
1 x USB 3.0 Type-C (DP & Power Delivery)
1 x USB 3.0 Type-C (DP)
|Battery||48Wh "Up to 9.5 hours battery life"|
12.0" x 8.4" x 0.5" / 305.9 x 213.8 x 13.6 (mm)
2.5 lbs (1.14 kg)
|OS||Windows 10 Home|
|Price||$1049 - Lenovo.com|
Disappointingly, the Lenovo Ideapad 720S will ship only in a single memory channel configuration. This will significantly affect the performance of the integrated graphics, as it is highly dependant on memory bandwidth. I wouldn't expect the memory to be user upgradable either; it's likely a single DIMMs worth of memory soldered onto the motherboard.
Curiously, although AMD listed a 2700U variant of the Ideapad 720S in their slides in October, those models have yet to be seen. However, we've seen this before from Lenovo where they start skipping a single SKU that is the most popular configuration and then filling out the rest of the options shortly after.
The Lenovo Ideapad 720S is available to order now directly from Lenovo, with an estimated shipping date or 5-7 business days.
At a price premium above the Acer Swift 3, the Ideapad 720S seems like a hard sell with lack of dual channel memory. However, for users who may be set on a 13" screen size, it appears it will be the only option.
Overall, I am excited to see more AMD-powered options in the thin-and-light notebook category, and I look forward to getting our hands on some of these new models soon!
Subject: Mobile | January 8, 2018 - 04:46 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: CES, CES 2018, acer, nitro 5, ryzen mobile, RX 560, Polaris, amd
Acer is showing off a new 15.6" gaming laptop at CES using both AMD's Ryzen Mobile processors and RX 560 discrete graphics cards. The Acer Nitro 5 is a stylized gaming notebook aimed at mainstream and casual gamers that are looking for a mobile platform for LAN parties and portable PC gaming.
The laser etched top cover and stylish chassis holds a large 15.6" 1080p display and webcam up top and a full backlit keyboard and trackpad on the bottom half. A large crimson red hinge accents the slate gray and black angular body. There is support for USB 3.1 with three USB Type-A ports and one USB Type-C, one headset jack, one HDMI output, one SD card reader, and one Gigabit Ethernet jack. Audio is handled by Dobly Audio Premium and Acer TrueHarmony powered speakers. There is a numpad and the trackpad appears fairly large, but the arrow keys are somewhat squished between the standard keys and the numpad. The WASD keys can be outlined with brighter backlighting and CPU and GPU temps can be monitored with NitroSense software though, so there's that (heh).
Acer did not provide exact specifications, but the Nitro 5 will be able to be configured with Zen-based Ryzen Mobile processors and Polaris-based AMD RX 560 graphics. It is not clear which specific Ryzen Mobile chips Acer will use or if the Vega-based onboard GPU will be able to be used with the discrete graphics active (perhaps in DX 12 games). The AMD chips are paired with up to 32 GB of DDR4 RAM and 512GB of PCI-E based SSD storage. In addition to the wired networking, the Nitro 5 also has dual stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
The AMD-powered Acer Nitro 5 will be available in North America in April starting at $799. EMEA (countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) availability is also slated for April starting at €1,099. It is nice to see AMD getting some design wins with Ryzen Mobile, though discrete mobile Vega would be a nice thing to see happen sooner than later.
Subject: General Tech | December 9, 2017 - 04:27 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: amd, qualcomm, LTE, ryzen mobile, wireless
On the opening day of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Tech Summit, the company brought AMD on stage and announced a partnership that would see AMD use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon LTE modems alongside Ryzen Mobile SoCs to enable always connected Windows devices.
PC Perspective’s Ryan Shrout and Ken Addison attended the event and gleaned a few more details about the announcement. According to Ryan on the podcast, AMD plans to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon LTE modems in Ryzen Mobile-powered laptops and tablets. While road warriors will be able to enjoy cellular connected AMD laptops, Ryan notes that these devices may not support the new “connected standby” standard where a Windows PC is able to keep the cellular connection and the PC in a very minimal power state to download notifications, emails, and other updates in the background while the PC is otherwise sleeping.
Reading this announcement piqued my interest though for the future of this partnership. While the first devices are likely to include the Qualcomm modem on the motherboard, in the future AMD may be allowed to integrate the modem into its mobile APUs which would help AMD to compete with Intel in this space. Qualcomm is a big player and could give AMD a strong and competitive wireless solution without AMD having to navigate the murky patent waters and huge R&D costs involved with coming up with its own in-house modems.
What are your thoughts on this Qualcomm and AMD partnership?
Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | November 30, 2017 - 06:48 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: asus, AM4, ryzen, Vega, ryzen mobile, APU, raven ridge
ASUS recently made new BIOS updates available for several of its motherboards that suggest desktop Raven Ridge APUs are coming soon. The BIOS updates contain AGESA! V9 RavenPi-FPS-AM4 188.8.131.52 along with Raven Generic VBIOS to add support for the Zen-based Raven Ridge CPU cores and Vega-based graphics.
Desktop Raven Ridge APUs have been promised in AMD roadmaps for awhile now, but details are still scarce. These desktop parts have the same four CPU cores as Ryzen Mobile Ryzen 5 2500U and Ryzen 7 2700U, but will run with higher TDPs (up to 65W) and higher clockspeeds along with a much larger GPU with up to 11 CUs (704 Vega cores). As of this writing the rumors of a HBM-equipped APU is still just that, a rumor. The first desktop Raven Ridge parts are sure to use standard DDR4, however.
Speculation over at [H] suggests that ASUS may have jumped the gun a bit on making the BIOS updates available by a few days which suggests that AMD is planning a December launch for the desktop parts (likely a soft launch though hopefully not as terribly long as Bristol Ridge!) and BIOS updates coming from other manufacturers at that time.
Guru3D has a list of links to the BIOS updates currently available from ASUS covering 13 of their motherboards including X370, B350, and A320 PRIME series motherboards and X370 and B350 ROG STRIX motherboards. Missing from the AMD AM4 lineup are the EX-A320M-GAMING, PRIME A320M-C and -C R2.0, and ROG CROSSHAIR VI Hero and Extreme boards.
Interestingly, desktop Raven Ridge is the second APU generation to work with the AM4 socket, and is is allegedly not the last. AMD has stated previously that it intends to support the AM4 socket for quite a while and their own roadmaps list support for at least two more Ryzen CPU generations and one more generation of APUs. Specifically, AMD plans to support Bristol Ridge, Raven Ridge, and Picasso (which is essentially the Zen+ APU generation) APUs along with Summit Ridge (Zen), Pinnacle Ridge (“12nm” Zen+), and Matisse (“7nm” Zen 2) CPUs on the same AM4 socket which is refreshing to see. Of course, AMD is introducing new chipsets (e.g. X400 series with Pinnacle Ridge) with each new generation, but it is nice to know that at least there is an upgrade path if you want it and don’t need whatever new I/O the new motherboards offer.
Subject: Mobile | November 30, 2017 - 03:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hp, Envy x360, ryzen mobile, Ryzen 5 2500U
The Tech Report have been spending quite a bit of time with the Ryzen powered HP Envy x360, contrasting its performance to Intel based laptops. They have moved from performance to battery life, something which means a great deal to those who travel with laptops or simply want to use the laptop without getting tangled in cords. Their focus in this look at battery life is the impact of using an external screen only, with the built-in display disabled. They chose a 2560x1440 display and tested the Envy against a Acer Swift 3 with an Intel i5-8250U to see how long the battery lasts without needing to power the integral display. The results are quite striking and show a large difference in power efficiency.
"As we've continued testing AMD's Ryzen 5 2500U APU over the past few days, we've been confronted with the problem of comparing battery life across laptops with different screen sizes. Many readers suggested that I should take each machine's internal display out of the picture by hooking them up to external monitors. While I wanted to get real-world battery-life testing out of the way first, I can certainly appreciate the elegance of leveling the playing field that way. Now we have."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
More Mobile Articles
- Here's a first look at the battery life of HP's Ryzen-powered Envy x360 @ The Tech Report
- The MAX-Q Laptop Battle - ASUS vs Gigabyte @ Hardware Canucks
- LG V30 @ Techspot
- The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro @ TechARP
- OnePlus 5T is like the little sister you always feared was the favourite @ The Register
- TechSpot's Guide to the Best Smartphones @ Techspot
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | November 20, 2017 - 08:25 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows hello, stylus, ryzen mobile, Ryzen 5 2500U, hp, convertible, amd
Last month AMD formally launched its Ryzen Mobile APUs with partners Acer, HP, and Lenovo announcing that systems using the new processors would be out by the end of the year. The first system to become available for purchase appears to be the HP Envy X360 convertible notebook which is available with a Ryzen 5 2500U APU. The 15.6” 2-in-1 starts at $574.99 (at time of writing) and thankfully appears to take full advantage of the AMD processor.
The HP Envy X360 was spotted by Anandtech who noted that the notebook is currently being sold at HP.com as well as brick and mortar Best Buy stores. The notebook is part of the company’s higher end Envy brand. It weighs in at 4.75 pounds and measures 14.16” x 9.8” x 0.77”. The 360° hinge allows the touchscreen display to flip around to lay flat with the underside of the keyboard enabling tablet mode. The top half with thin bezels holds the 15.6” 1920 x 1080 display and IR capable Windows Hello camera. The bottom half holds the rest of the hardware and features a backlit island-style keyboard with numpad, a wide trackpad, and the various I/O ports around the edges including USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 with DisplayPort 1.4 and USB Power support (for charging), two full size USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, HDMi, and a headset jack. Other features include Bang and Olufsen audio with dual speakers and a stylus that can be used with Windows Ink, One Note, and other apps.
Internal specifications include the above-mentioned Ryzen 5 2500U, up to 16 GB of dual channel 2400 MHz memory, and mechanical and solid-state storage options. The base model of this laptop starts at 8 GB DDR4 at 2400 MHz (2 x 4GB) and 1TB of 7200 RPM hard drive storage. Users can configure the notebook with up to a 1TB NVMe SSD or a combination of SATA hard drive and NVMe M.2 drives. The HP Envy X360 also features Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi and it is all powered by a 3-cell 55.8 Wh battery. The APU is a 15W TDP chip with four Zen-based CPU cores (eight threads) running at 2 GHz base and up to 3.6 GHz boost, a RX Vega-based GPU clocked at up to 1100 MHz with 8 CUs (512 cores), and 6 MB of cache (2MB L2 and 4MB L3).
The HP Envy X360 15z Touch convertible laptop is available now starting at $574.99 and going up to $1374.99 fully loaded with Windows 10 Pro.
In all this looks to be a good design win for AMD is a promising start for the future of Ryzen Mobile. Thankfully the APU appears to be running at its full 15W TDP and is not being held back by single channel memory like past AMD mobile chips have allegedly been. I am looking forward to seeing what AMD’s other partners have to offer. Until then though, we have a Ryzen 7 1700 powered Asus ROG gaming laptop to ponder about!
A potential game changer?
I thought we were going to be able to make it through the rest of 2017 without seeing AMD launch another family of products. But I was wrong. And that’s a good thing. Today AMD is launching the not-so-cleverly-named Ryzen Processor with Radeon Vega Graphics product line that will bring the new Zen processor architecture and Vega graphics architecture onto a single die for the ultrathin mobile notebook platforms. This is no minor move for them – just as we discussed with the AMD EPYC processor launch, this is a segment that has been utterly dominated by Intel. After all, Intel created the term Ultrabook to target these designs, and though that brand is gone, the thin and light mindset continues to this day.
The claims AMD makes about its Ryzen mobile APU (combination CPU+GPU accelerated processing unit, to use an older AMD term) are not to be made lightly. Right up front in our discussion I was told this is going to be the “world’s fastest for ultrathin” machines. Considering that AMD had previously been unable to even enter those markets with previous products, both due to some technological and business roadblocks, AMD is taking a risk by painting this launch in such a light. Thanks to its ability combine CPU and GPU technology on a single die though, AMD has some flexibility today that simply did not have access to previously.
From the days that AMD first announced the acquisition of ATI graphics, the company has touted the long-term benefits of owning both a high-performance processor and graphics division. By combining the architectures on a single die, they could become greater than the sum of the parts, leveraging new software directions and the oft-discussed HSA (heterogenous systems architecture) that AMD helped create a foundation for. Though the first rounds of APUs were able to hit modest sales, the truth was that AMD’s advantage over Intel’s on the graphics technology front was often overshadowed by the performance and power efficiency advantages that Intel held on the CPU front.
But with the introduction of the first products based on Zen earlier this year, AMD has finally made good on the promises of catching up to Intel in many of the areas where it matters the most. The new from-the-ground-up design resulted in greater than 50% IPC gains, improved area efficiency compared to Intel’s latest Kaby Lake core design, and enormous gains in power efficiency compared to the previous CPU designs. When looking at the new Ryzen-based APU products with Vega built-in, AMD claims that they tower over the 7th generation APUs with up to 200% more CPU performance, 128% more GPU performance, and 58% lower power consumption. Again, these are bold claims, but it gives AMD confidence that it can now target premium designs and form factors with a solution that will meet consumer demands.
AMD is hoping that the release of the Ryzen 7 2700U and Ryzen 5 2500U can finally help turn the tides in the ultrathin notebook market.
|Core i7-8650U||Core i7-8550U||Core i5-8350U||Core i5-8250U||Ryzen 7 2700U||Ryzen 5 2500U|
|Architecture||Kaby Lake Refresh||Kaby Lake Refresh||Kaby Lake Refresh||Kaby Lake Refresh||Zen+Vega||Zen+Vega|
|Base Clock||1.9 GHz||1.8 GHz||1.7 GHz||1.6 GHz||2.2 GHz||2.0 GHz|
|Max Turbo Clock||4.2 GHz||4.0 GHz||3.8 GHz||3.6 GHz||3.8 GHz||3.6 GHz|
|System Bus||DMI3 - 8.0 GT/s||DMI3 - 8.0 GT/s||DMI2 - 6.4 GT/s||DMI2 - 5.0 GT/s||N/A||N/A|
|Graphics||UHD Graphics 620||UHD Graphics 620||UHD Graphics 620||UHD Graphics 620||Vega (10 CUs)||Vega (8 CUs)|
|Max Graphics Clock||1.15 GHz||1.15 GHz||1.1 GHz||1.1 GHz||1.3 GHz||1.1 GHz|
The Ryzen 7 2700U will run 200 MHz higher on the base and boost clocks for the CPU and 200 MHz higher on the peak GPU core clock. Though both systems have 4-cores and 8-threads, the GPU on the 2700U will have two additional CUs / compute units.
Subject: General Tech | June 1, 2017 - 12:33 PM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: x299, WD, VROC, video, Vega, toshiba, Threadripper, snapdragon 835, ryzen mobile, qnap, podcast, nvidia, msi, max-q, Killer xTend, Intel, evga, Core i9, asus, asrock, arm, amd, agesa, a75, A55
PC Perspective Podcast #452 - 01/01/17
Join us for talk about Computex 2017 and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano
Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
0:55:00 RX Vega pushed to end of July (SIGGRAPH), FE on June 27th
Subject: Processors | May 18, 2017 - 01:01 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Zen, Vega, ryzen mobile, ryzen, raven ridge, APU, amd
AMD teased its upcoming Zen-based APUs aimed at mobile devices during its Financial Analyst Day where the company revealed the "Raven Ridge" parts will be aptly known as Ryzen Mobile. The Tech Report managed to acquire a couple slides which confirm some of the broader specifications and reveal how they stack up to AMD's latest Bristol Ridge A-Series APUs – at least as far as AMD's internal testing is concerned (which is to say not independently verified yet so take with a grain of salt).
Ryzen Mobile appears to be the new consumer-facing brand name for what has so far been code named "Raven Ridge". These parts will use a Zen-based CPU, Vega GPU, and integrated chipset. Thanks to the slides, it is now confirmed that the Vega-based graphics processor will be on-die. What has not been confirmed is whether the chipset will be on die or on package and exact specifications on CPU cores counts, GPU Compute Units, cache, memory support, and I/O like PCI-E lanes (you know, all the good stuff! heh). Note that rumors so far point towards Raven Ridge / Ryzen Mobile utilizing a single 4-core (8-thread) CCX, per core L2, 8MB shared L3 cache, and a Vega-based GPU with 1024 cores. HBM2 has also been rumored for awhile but we will have to wait for more leaks and/or an official announcement to know for sure if these Ryzen Mobile parts aimed for the second half of 2017 will have that (hopefully!).
With that said, according to AMD, Ryzen Mobile will offer up to 50% better CPU performance, 40% better GPU performance, and will use up to 50% less power than the previous 7th generation (Excavator-based) A-Series APUs (e.g. FX 9830P and A12-9730P). Those are some pretty bold claims, but still within the realm of possibility. Zen and Vega are both much more efficient architectures and AMD is also benefiting from a smaller process node (TSMC 28nm vs Samsung / GlobalFoundries 14nm FinFET). I do wonder how high the APUs will be able to clock on the CPU side of things with 4 GHz seeming to be the wall for most Zen-based Summit Ridge chips, so most of the CPU performance improvement claims will have to come from architecture changes rather than increases in clockspeeds (the highest clocked A-Series Bristol Ridge ran at up to 3.7 GHz and I would expect Raven Ridge to be around that, maybe the flagship part turbo-ing a bit more). Raven Ridge will benefit from the shared L3 cache and, more importantly, twice as many threads (4 vs 8) and this may be where AMD is primarily getting that 50% more CPU performance number from. On the graphics side of things, it looks like Bristol Ridge with its R7 graphics (GCN 3 (Tonga/Fiji on the Desktop)) had up to 512 cores. Again, taking the rumors into account which say that Raven Ridge will have a 1024 core Vega GPU, this may be where AMD is getting the large performance increase from (the core increase as well as newer architecture). On the other hand, the 40% number could suggest Ryzen Mobile will not have twice the GPU cores. I would guess that 1024 might be possible, but running at lower clocks and that is where the discrepancy is. I will admit I am a bit skeptical about the 1024 (16 CU) number though because that is a huge jump... I guess we will see though!
Further, I am curious if Ryzen Mobile will use HBC (high bandwidth cache) and if HBM2 does turn out to be utilized how that will play into the HBC and whether or not we will finally see the fruits of AMD's HSA labors! I think we will see most systems use DDR4, but certainly some SKUs could use HBM2 and that would definitely open up a lot of performance possibilities on mobile!
There is still a lot that we do not know, but Ryzen Mobile is coming and AMD is making big promises that I hope it delivers on. The company is aiming the new chips at a wide swath of the mobile market from budget laptops and tablets to convertibles and even has their sights set on premium thin and lights. The mobile space is one where AMD has struggled with in getting design wins even when they had good parts for that type of system. They will really need to push and hit Ryzen Mobile out of the park to make inroads into the laptop, tablet, and ultrabook markets!
AMD plans to launch the consumer version of Ryzen Mobile in the second half of this year (presumably with systems featuring the new APUs out in time for the holidays if not for the back to school end of summer rush). The commercial SKUs (which I think refers to the Ryzen equivalent of AMD Pro series APUs.Update: Mobile Ryzen Pro) will follow in the first half of 2018.
What are your thoughts on Ryzen Mobile and the alleged performance and power characteristics? Do you think the rumors are looking more or less correct?
- Zen and the Art of CPU Design
- AMD Launching Ryzen 5 Six Core Processors Soon (Q2 2017)
- AMD Vega GPU Architecture Preview: Redesigned Memory Architecture
- The AMD Ryzen 7 1800X Review: Now and Zen
- More Ryzen coverage!