Technology

AMD’s new Ryzen 6000 laptop chips promise the ultimate portable gaming machines

AMD has officially debuted its new Ryzen 6000 CPUs for laptops at CES 2022, featuring the company’s upgraded Zen 3 Plus architecture, a new 6nm process node, and the debut of AMD’s RDNA 2 graphics architecture for its integrated GPUs. AMD is promising some big gains here, too: up to 1.3 times faster processing, up to two times the gaming performance of the previous generation, and up to 24 hours of battery life.

The new chips succeed the Ryzen 5000 line of laptop chips announced last year at CES 2021. Like those models, the Ryzen 6000 chips will be offered in both an H-series line (with both 35W and 45W models of each chip) for more powerful gaming and creative devices, along with a 15W to 28W U-series line aimed for thin-and-light laptops.

The flagship of the lineup is the Ryzen 9 6980HX, with eight cores, 16 threads, a base clock speed of 3.3GHz, and a boosted maximum speed of 5.0GHz, along with 12 GPU cores with a maximum boost speed of 2.4GHz. AMD notes that the 5.0GHz maximum boosted clock speed there marks the “fastest Ryzen product” ever — on both mobile and desktop (which is technically true from a raw frequency perspective, given that the Ryzen 9 5950X for desktop from 2020 maxed out at a 4.9GHz clock speed).

The debut of AMD’s RDNA 2 graphics architecture — used on next-gen gaming products like AMD’s RX 6000-series GPUs, the Xbox Series X / S, and the PlayStation 5 — for the Ryzen 6000 series’ integrated graphics also marks a huge boost for the company’s laptops, which had previously been using the older Vega architecture.

According to AMD, the Ryzen 6000 series offers up to twice the graphics performance compared to Ryzen 5000 chips, with hardware ray tracing built in and a 50 percent larger GPU compute engine. That’s before factoring in additional gains from AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution supersampling, which is also integrated into the new chips and enables “truly playable AAA gaming on an ultrathin” laptop.

AMD’s benchmarks specifically call out its U-series chips here (which are more likely to be found on a laptop without a discrete GPU), with up to 73fps on Deathloop and up to 114fps on Call of Duty: Vanguard using the super-sampling technique.

And while the new Ryzen 6000 chips still use the broad Zen 3 architecture, AMD’s made improvements with a particular focus on power management, which — alongside inherent gains from the smaller 6nm process node — enable a maximum of 24 hours of battery life (up from 21 hours on 2021 models).

Lastly, there’s the slew of new hardware standards that the Ryzen 6000 series will support: USB4 with data transfer rates at up to 40Gbps, PCIe Gen 4, DDR5 at up to 4,800 MT/s and LPDDR5 at up to 6,400 MT/s, HDMI 2.1 with support for high frame rates and VRR, Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth LE 5.2. That said, it’ll be on device manufacturers to actually offer the hardware necessary to take advantage of that support.

The first laptops powered by AMD’s new Ryzen 6000 chips are already set to be announced at CES 2022 from companies like Acer, Asus, Alienware, Lenovo, Razer, and HP. AMD expects over 200 “premium” Ryzen 6000 laptops for 2022, with the first devices set to ship starting in February.