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AMD’s 8 new Radeon GPUs might finally rival Nvidia in gaming laptops

AMD has completed its mobile GPU lineup, as announced at CES 2022, and now might have what it takes to rival Nvidia. The announcement came alongside a bevy of other products, all a part of the AMD CES 2022 keynote.

Going from eight RX 6000 GPUs in 2021 to over 18, AMD is doubling down on its efforts in 2022. Do these new GPUs finally have what it takes to make a dent against Nvidia?

New Radeon RX 6000M additions

A press image revealing AMD's new RX 6800M graphics.

First off, the company is announcing five new mobile graphics cards, starting with its most powerful option, the Radeon RX 6850M XT. AMD claims this model is 7% faster than the RX 6800M, its previously most powerful mobile GPU. Meanwhile, the RX 6650M XT and RX 6650M are upgrades over the original RX 6600.

AMD is even filling out the entry-level market with the RX 6500M and 6300M. The RX 6400M was conspicuously left out.

All the new models are built on TSMC’s 6nm process, similar to AMD’s new Ryzen 6000 processors. AMD also says these GPUs feature 14% faster memory and 7% higher clock speeds.

Unfortunately, those are all the details that were provided about these new cards. We’re still waiting on some hard performance data to see how they compare against Nvidia’s best.

Radeon RX 6000S graphics

Infographic about AMD's new Radeon RX 6000S series graphics cards for laptops.

But that’s not everything. AMD has also announced three GPUs in a brand new line, the RX 6000S series. In AMD’s verbiage, the “S” in the name refers to “slim,” meaning these are for the growing segment of thin-and-light gaming laptops. For AMD, that means laptops 0.78 inches or thinner, which is 20% thinner than what the previous GPUs could handle — as well as 4.5 pounds or lighter.

AMD claims the RX 6800S at 100 watts can hit over 100 frames per second (fps) in 1080p gaming at max settings in select titles. AMD also mentioned that the 6800S offers up to 10% higher performance on average over Nvidia’s best in games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Battlefield V, Back 4 Blood, Borderlands 3, and more.

AMD mentions this was tested in a pre-production sample of the ROG Zephyrus G14, which was equipped with a Radeon RX 6800S — against a Razer Blade 14 which came with an Nvidia RTX 3080.

This has been a hole in AMD’s lineup and acts as a counter to Nvidia’s Max-Q technology. And like Max-Q, these chips have power efficiency optimizations and “new performance per watt technologies.” AMD already had processors for these laptops in the Ryzen HS series, but now it has GPUs to match.

Laptop availability

New laptops that will use AMD's processors and graphics.

AMD’s success with its mobile graphics cards has been limited. Laptops like the Dell G5 SE and ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage were incredibly promising, especially given their prices. But the options were extremely few and far between.

AMD says it has over 20 new laptop designs in 2022 that will use both AMD Ryzen processors and AMD Radeon graphics. So far, the only two announced are the Alienware m17, which features up to an RX 6850M XT — and the ROG Zephyrus G14, which features the Ryzen 9 6900HS and the Radeon RX 6800S.

The AMD Advantage

An AMD GPU and CPU, sharing power while gaming.

AMD has a number of smart technologies and frameworks that benefit all-AMD laptops. Smart Access Memory is around, yes, but the company is also announcing SmartShift Max, which dynamically lets the system shift power between the CPU and the GPU using these new components.

Then, there’s SmartShift Eco, which is expected to be available later this year. According to AMD, SmartShift Eco is projected to offer up to twice the amount of battery life while gaming with these latest components by shifting between discrete and integrated graphics seamlessly.

Lastly, there’s Smart Access Graphics, which AMD says can deliver 15% better performance on average by letting the Radeon GPU directly, as opposed to transferring control through the integrated graphics.

Many of these features are hard to measure, as there are no laptops that use Radeon graphics without Ryzen processors.

Details, details, details

These GPUs are exciting entries in theory, but AMD was light on the details. No word on compute units, cache size, or memory size just yet. Most worrying, AMD did not provide specific frame rates in games.

We do know that laptops with these new graphics cards are expected to be available starting in the first quarter of 2022.

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