AMD Ryzen 4000: Everything you need to know

Ryzen 3000 CPUs were a landmark moment for AMD. But with AMD launching its eight-core Ryzen 4000 mobile processors, the company is intensifying its competition with Intel’s desktop and laptop silicon. The goal for AMD is to release laptops that are just as powerful as they are thin with the U-series Ryzen 4000 and performance driven notebooks powered by beefier Ryzen 9 4900H and the Ryzen 9 4900HS chips.

As has been the case with the past few generations of AMD’s Ryzen processors, the 4000-series will be made up of current-generation architecture mobile processors and new-generation architecture desktop chips, with launches split between the start and latter portions of the year.

Here’s everything we know about AMD Ryzen 4000 CPUs.

Pricing and release date

Zen improvements

AMD debuted the first Ryzen 4000 CPUs at CES 2020, where it showed off a new generation of mobile accelerated processing units (APUs). That’s Zen 2 CPU cores (found in Ryzen 3000 desktop CPUs) paired with Vega graphics cores.

A full range of chips was announced, from the low-end to the high, and they will begin showing up in laptops over the coming months, with two of the first cited models being the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 and Asus Zephyrus G14. The Yoga Slim 7 will launch with a 14-inch display and a price of $850. Here, you’re getting an eight-core Ryzen 7 4700U processor in a 2.2-pound form factor designed to compete against Ultrabooks powered by Intel’s processors.

Mobile gamers will be drawn to AMD’s flagship Ryzen 4000 mobile processors, including the Ryzen 9 4900H and 4900HS CPUs. Both chips are designed to take on Intel‘s Core i9 silicon in the high-end mobile gaming space. Laptops with AMD’s Ryzen 9 4900H and 4900HS are due this spring.

Desktop Ryzen 4000 CPUs with Zen 3 architecture will likely arrive later in the year, and recent rumors posted by Wccftech suggests that these processors will be available by as early as October, but an announcement could be made earlier in the August or September timeframe.

Interestingly, AMD may announce its Zen 3-based Ryzen 4000 processors alongside its new RDNA 2-based Radeon RX Navi 2x graphics card. The Ryzen chips will have several performance enhancements. though AMD hasn’t announced any models or pricing information yet. We would expect a similar makeup to the current Ryzen 3000 series, with CPUs ranging in price from $100 APUs, all the way up to around $750 for the most heavily capable multi-threaded CPUs.

Architecture

Ryzen 4000 series CPUs, like Ryzen 3000 before them, will use a combination of two architectures throughout the range. The new Ryzen 4000 mobile CPUs will leverage the existing Zen 2 architecture as Ryzen 3000 desktop CPUs, though in a different manner. Where the latter used a chiplet design, whereby CPU cores are portioned into miniature chiplets and paired with a larger I/O die, the Ryzen 4000 Zen 2 mobile CPUs are built using a more traditional single monolithic die.

AMD claimed that the benefits of the chiplet design were far less notable on a laptop CPU, and it opted to integrate more elements — like LPDDR4X and low power audio — onto its monolithic die design.

This should mean greater power efficiency since the I/O die won’t be present and require its own power. Cache will be reduced, however, and there is the possibility of additional memory latency due to an uncoupling of the infinity fabric with system memory. We’ll need to see some more real-world benchmarks and tests before we can know for sure.

AMD Ryzen 4000 Series

Zen 2 on Ryzen 4000 mobile chips will still be a major upgrade over existing Ryzen 3000 mobile APUs based on the Zen+ design, though. It drops the process node size from 12nm to 7nm and has a number of architectural efficiency improvements. Similar to Zen 2 desktop chips, the first Ryzen 4000 laptops will feature a higher instructions per clock of 15% and increased base and boost clock frequencies.

The eight mobile cores are split into two CCX units, with L3 memory reduced to 4MB per CCX from 8MB on the desktop design. Thanks to a 7nm design, AMD claimed that it was able to bring reduce power consumption on active and idle modes. Latency has also been lowered, so laptops benefit from faster boot time and snappier applications along with better battery life.

In early test results released by AMD, the Ryzen chip on a Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 bested a comparable Intel Core i7-1065G7 system in web browsing and graphics activity, with battery life being comparable. In idle time, however, AMD’s system still loses by seven and a half hours when compared to Intel’s connected standby.

AMD’s performance-drive mobile Ryzen 9 4900HS is an eight-core, 16-thread processor with a base clock speed of 3.0GHz and boost speeds that top out at 4.3GHz. The chip consumes just 35W of TDP. The 4900H processor consumes a bit more power at 45 watts TDP, but this allows it to have a faster 3.3GHz base speed and 4.4GHz boost speed.

So far, there hasn’t been any official third-party benchmarks released, but AMD’s internal testing suggests that its silicon will be very competitive with Intel’s high-end mobile offerings. AMD’s mobile processor also makes use of the company’s SmartShift technology to allow laptops to intelligently to optimize power between the CPU and GPU for better gaming performance.

On the desktop side, we should see two new variants of the Ryzen 4000 chipsets. The first release, which is expected to happen within the coming months, should be based around an architecture with Zen 2 cores. That architecture codenamed Renoir was recently spotted on a Gigabyte B550 AORUS PRO AC motherboard in the wild by Twitter user @_rogame.

The early CPU sample had its processor cores clocked at 3.5GHz and a GPU that was clocked at 1750 MHz, similar to the speeds that AMD had used on its Ryzen 7 4800H and Ryzen 9 4900H processors. The similarities here could mean that the Ryzen 4000 Renoir design could ship with an 8 CU design with 512 cores, Wccftech speculated, with the enhanced Vega chip giving it a graphics boost over the 12nm Ryzen 3000G series.

A second desktop Ryzen 4000 release is expected later this year, which will feature an upgraded Zen 3 design known as Vermeer. The Zen 3-based Ryzen 4000 desktop CPUs  won’t be such a drastic improvement, but it will bring some notable enhancements. AMD had confirmed that it will rely on a new CPU architecture for Zen 3, and early reports posted by Wccftech suggest that this design could deliver a 17 percent boost in IPC and 50 percent increase in floating-point operations.

The Zen 3-based Ryzen 4000 is based on the 7nm+ process node from TSMC and is made using the new extreme ultraviolet lithography process, which should improve the efficiency of the chips, but also lower production costs. The latest speculation suggests that Zen 3 will deliver 20% greater transistor density than Zen 2, as well as reduce power requirements by 10 percent.

In October, WCCFTech reported that Zen 3’s improvements will include lower cache latency and higher infinity fabric speeds. That would help increase the IPC (instructions per cycle) by 8% over Zen 2 and deliver an additional 200MHz per core.

Performance

AMD Ryzen 9 3900x
Ryzen 3000-series CPUs Dan Baker/Digital Trends

The Ryzen 4000 mobile CPUs should see a significant performance uplift over their Ryzen 3000 counterparts. We saw AMD’s move to 7nm Zen 2 deliver inter-generational improvements of between 15% and 20% for single-threaded tasks, and 25-30% in multi-threaded scenarios. That was most notable in games, where the increased cache helped deliver 20% to 30% uplifts in frame per second and huge improvements to the lowest 1% and lowest 0.1% frame rates.

Compared to Intel’s mobile architecture, AMD claimed that its Ryzen 4000 mobile chip delivers two times better performance per watt. That meant much greater consistency and frame rate stability.

Cores/Threads Base Boost Graphics TDP
AMD Ryzen 7 4800H 8/16 2.9GHz Up to 4.2GHz 7 Radeon Cores 45W
AMD Ryzen 7 4800U 8/16 1.8GHz Up to 4.2GHz 8 Radeon Cores 15W
AMD Ryzen 7 4700U 8/8 2.0Ghz Up to 4.1GHz 7 Radeon Cores 15W
AMD Ryzen 5 4600 U 6/12 2.1GHz Up to 4Ghz 7 Radeon Cores 15W
AMD Ryzen 5 4600H 6/12 3GHz Up to 4GHz 6 Radeon Cores 45W
AMD Ryzen 5 4500U 6/6 2.3GHz Up to 4GHz 6 Radeon Cores 15W
AMD Ryzen 3 4300U 4/4 2.7GHz Up to 3.7GHz 5 Radeon Cores 15W
AMD Ryzen 3 3250U 2/4 2.6GHz Up to 3.5GHz 3 Radeon Cores 15W

That will likely be the case with Ryzen 4000 Zen 2 chips too, aided by AMD’s traditionally strong onboard graphics. The Vega graphics architecture may be a few years old — they’re based on the aging GCN architecture rather than AMD’s newer Navi designs — but improvements on the 7nm process node have reportedly increased its power by almost 60% over the last-generation counterparts.

With multi-threaded performance, the eight-core, 16-threaded Ryzen design will give content creators serious power over laptops with a quad-core design. In an encoding test, video encoded 40 percent faster on the Ryzen 4000 than on Intel’s quad-core Core i7-10510U. Strong multi-threaded performance makes Ryzen laptops powerful mobile workstations, with AMD closing in on Intel’s lead with single-core performance. AMD’s test using the Cinebench R20 tool showed a 25 percent improvement in single-core performance compared to the prior generation while still using 15W of thermal design power.

The eight-core architecture delivered a 77% higher peak memory bandwidth for a total of 1.79 TFLOPS of throughput. As a result, graphics clock speeds have been increased, going up to 1,750 MHz. Together, they should make Ryzen 4000 APUs great entry-level gaming laptops. They will compete against Intel’s new Ice Lake and upcoming Tiger Lake mobile processors, with their more powerful Gen 11 integrated graphics. In gaming performance on Fortnite, AMD claimed that its graphics leads Intel by 21 percent in its tests. AMD’s lead goes as high as 45 percent on GTA V, but performance was more level in titles such as League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Go. 

In fact, according to the AMD’s internal testing, the 4900HS beat out Intel’s Core i9-9880H by more than 25 percent on the Cinebench R20 benchmark. Similarly, AMD’s processor edged out its Intel rival by 23 percent on video transcoding, 32 percent on audio encoding, and more than 55 percent on image rendering. The company admitted that Intel’s i9 had beat it on a PCMark 10 benchmark by as much as eight percent.

Despite better graphics, you’re still limited to 1080p gaming — enthusiast gamers will still need their own dedicated GPU — and you’ll need to tune down your game settings to get any desirable level of gaming performance. When AMD’s mobile processor is paired with Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card in a slim Max-Q gaming laptop design, overall performance can exceed 60 frames per second in a number of high-end titles, according to the company. AMD stated that performance was as high as 104 FPS on Rise of Tomb Raider, and 90 FPS on both Far Cry 5 and Hitman. With esports titles such as Rocket League and CS:Go, the Ryzen-RTX pairing delivered nearly 230 FPS.

In addition to the Ryzen 9 4900H and HS series, AMD’s mobile offerings also include the U-series, designed for ultra-slim laptops that could still be used for casual gaming. Given that thin and light laptops weren’t designed specifically for gaming, our early hands-on with AMD’s mobile Ryzen 7 4700U showed that the two-pound Yoga Slim 7 struggled with Borderlands 2 in 1080p even with lower game settings, squeezing out 30 to 35 frames per second.

If the resolution was scaled down to 720p, framerates improved for smoother performance. AMD will also have other variants of its H-series Ryzen processors as well, delivering direct competition to Intel’s Core i-series lineup, including the Core i3, i5, and i7. Compared to its Intel rival, AMD had often boasted about the Ryzen’s power efficiency.

On the desktop side, a leaked 3D Mark 11 benchmark of the Zen 2-based Ryzen 4000 processor based on the Renoir architecture was recently spotted, showing that the 4000G processor score 5,659 points.

The score places it just behind AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800U mobile processors, which utilizes a similar Zen 2-based Renoir design. The AMD Ryzen 7 4800U scored 6,309 points, while the Ryzen 7 4700U scored 5,713 points.

AMD 4800H comparison
Beating Intel at gaming on laptops would be a real game changer for AMD.

One possible explanation for the 4000G’s lower performance, despite operating at a higher 45-65W TDP than the 15W cap on the mobile counterparts, is that the leaked benchmark was tested using slower DDR4-2133 MHz memory. Faster memory here could give the Vega graphics a performance boost, according to Wccftech, and we still don’t know much about the cores and configurations that was used in the early Zen 2-based Ryzen 4000 desktop processor for the benchmark test.

Zen 3 improvements on desktop Ryzen 4000 CPUs won’t be quite so dramatic. With the architectural advancements, we’re expecting a roughly 10% increase in performance over Ryzen 3000 desktop chips, maybe as high as 15% in some cases. The IPC uplift is notable, however.

Since that applies to both single-threaded and multi-threaded settings, it should close the gap with Intel in gaming even further. Although Ryzen 4000 will have to compete with 10th-generation, 14nm Comet Lake CPUs, it should do so favorably and may be a more capable line of gaming chips.

AM4 socket

AMD Ryzen 9 3900x
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

One of the best features of AMD’s Ryzen CPUs has been their inter-generational support of the same AM4 socket. That’s meant that those who bought first-generation Ryzen CPUs and motherboards, have been able to upgrade their processors without the need to buy a new motherboard — they just need to update the BIOS. That will be the case with Zen 3 Ryzen 4000 processors too, though this will be the last generation of Ryzen chips to use the AM4 socket. Ryzen 5000, expected in 2021, will move beyond AM4 to a new socket design.

There will be a new motherboard chipset to support the new Zen 3 chips out of the box, but we don’t have any details on what, if any major new features we can expect from it.

Threadripper

In early 2020, stock of Threadripper 3000 CPUs is only just starting to catch up with demand, so details about Ryzen 4000 Threadripper CPUs are almost non-existent. We will have to wait and see what fourth-generation Ryzen Epyc server CPUs are like before we can guess at the capabilities of Threadripper 4000 CPUs.

Like Threadripper 2000, however, we would expect a more modest improvement in single-threaded performance, though whether we’ll see a similarly dramatic increase in core counts remains to be seen.

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