AMD Ryzen 4000: Everything you need to know

Ryzen 3000 CPUs were a landmark achievement for AMD. Now, with AMD launching its latest 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 using the U-series Ryzen 4000 processors, as well as performance-driven notebooks powered by beefier Ryzen 9 4900H and 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 early and later 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 in the coming months from a range of manufacturers, with two of the first cited models being the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 and Asus Zephyrus G14. Since then, a number of Ryzen 4000 laptops have launched.

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 launched in the spring and are being released throughout the year

After denying that its Ryzen 4000 desktop processors have been delayed, AMD went on to announce its Ryzen 4000 desktop APU based on the company’s Zen 2 core in late July. The new Ryzen 4000 desktop processors will be available in both consumer and commercial Pro-branded variants, but initially, you’ll only be able to find these chips in pre-built desktops, much to the dismay of gamers wishing to upgrade existing rigs.

Like the mobile counterpart, the Ryzen 4000 desktop processors will come with integrated Radeon graphics, which allows casual gamers to play 1080p titles without a dedicated and costly graphics card. These desktop chips are essentially Ryzen 4000 mobile processors that can be tuned for better performance thanks to larger thermal budgets in a desktop chassis.

AMD is also planning a second version of its Ryzen 4000 desktop processor based on the Zen 3 cores, but the company has not disclosed the timing for that launch.

Given that gamers cannot buy the Ryzen 4000 desktop chips a la carte, we do not have pricing information. However, we would expect a similar markup to the current Ryzen 3000 series, with CPUs ranging in price from $100 APUs, all the way up to around $750 for the most 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 just as the Ryzen 3000 desktop CPUs did, 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 claims 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.

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 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 claims that it is able to 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 7.5 hours when compared to Intel’s connected standby.

AMD may be working on optimizations for improved battery performance. A leak of an unannounced — and potentially shelved — Lenovo Legion 5 gaming laptop published by Notebook Check suggests that the AMD variant could have double the battery life of a comparable Legion 5 configuration equipped with Intel’s Comet Lake-H CPU. Lenovo’s leaked MobileMark 2018 battery tests showed that the AMD version can get up to 13.5 hours of battery life, versus 7.7 hours for the Intel version. If these benchmarks are accurate, this will be hugely beneficial to gamers on the go and creatives who need to use a mobile workstation while away from a power outlet.

AMD’s performance-driven 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 optimize power between the CPU and GPU for better gaming performance.

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 multithreaded 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 4.0GHz 7 Radeon Cores 15W
AMD Ryzen 5 4600H 6/12 3.0GHz Up to 4.0GHz 6 Radeon Cores 45W
AMD Ryzen 5 4500U 6/6 2.3GHz Up to 4.0GHz 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, which are aided by AMD’s traditionally strong onboard graphics. The Vega graphics architecture may be a few years old — it’s 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 multithreaded 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% faster on the Ryzen 4000 than on Intel’s quad-core Core i7-10510U. Strong multithreaded 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% improvement in single-core performance compared to the prior generation while still using 15W of thermal design power.

The eight-core Ryzen 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 for 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’s by 21% in its tests. AMD’s lead goes as high as 45% on Grand Theft Auto V, but performance was more level in titles such as League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. 

In fact, according to the AMD’s internal testing, the 4900HS beat out Intel’s Core i9-9880H by more than 25% on the Cinebench R20 benchmark. Similarly, AMD’s processor edged out its Intel rival by 23% on video transcoding, 32% on audio encoding, and more than 55% on image rendering. The company admitted that Intel’s i9 had beat it on a PCMark 10 benchmark by as much as 8%.

AMD’s metrics were largely confirmed by Techspot‘s testing of the Ryzen 7 4800H processor, which readily beats out Intel’s Core i9-9880H in both Cinebench R20 and R15 CPU encoding benchmarks, as well as on Handbrake’s video-encoding tests. Additionally, when it comes to decompressing zip files, the publication noted that AMD’s silicon holds a 32 percent advantage over Intel’s Core i7-10875H. AMD’s laptop processor does a good job of holding its ground against Intel in important Office tasks, but Intel’s newer mainstream mobile processors edge out the Ryzen when it comes to multimedia workflows.

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 a 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 said performance was as high as 104 FPS on Rise of Tomb Raider, and 90 FPS on both Far Cry 5 and Hitman. On e-sports 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 2-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, frame rates improved for smoother performance. AMD will 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 has 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 utilize 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 were used in the early Zen 2-based Ryzen 4000 desktop processor for the benchmark test.

Ryzen 4000: Desktop

AMD Ryzen 5 2400G & Ryzen 3 2200G Review fingers motherboard
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

On the desktop side, we’re expecting two new variants of the Ryzen 4000 chipsets, with staggered launches. AMD recently announced its first Ryzen 4000 desktop silicon, which will be based on the company’s Zen 2 cores. This first Ryzen 4000 desktop APU goes by the codename Renoir, and is essentially a scaled up version of AMD’s Ryzen 4000 mobile processor.

The Zen 2-based Ryzen 4000 processors start with the Ryzen 3 4300GE, which comes with four cores and eight threads and a base clock speed of 3.5GHz, and scales all the way up to a Ryzen 7 4700G, a processor clocked at 3.6GHz base speeds with eight cores and 16 threads that comes with eight integrated graphics core.

The consumer line is split between the GE series, which requires 35W TDP, and a G series, which requires 65W TDP. The GE series include the Ryzen 3 4300GE, Ryzen 5 4600GE, and Ryzen 7 4700GE, while the G series include the Ryzen 3 4300G, Ryzen 5 4600G, and Ryzen 7 4700G.

These processors, according to AMD, will only be available, at least initially, on pre-built PCs, so you won’t be able to upgrade your existing desktop to a Ryzen 4000 APU at launch.

The company also announced commercial variants of its desktop APUs, with the Ryzen 3 PRO 4350G, Ryzen 5 PRO 4650G, and Ryzen 7 PRO 4750G at 65W TDP and the Ryzen 3 PRO 4350GE, Ryzen 5 PRO 4650GE, and Ryzen 7 PRO 4750GE at 35W TDP, ZDNet reported.

Like with their mobile counterparts, AMD is promoting the strong graphics performance of these processors. The strength of the integrated GPU, according to the company, will allow you to play games without a discrete graphics card.

AMD’s early internal benchmarks show a boost between 99% and 274% in popular games when compared against Intel’s Core i7 9700 processor. Games used for the comparison include titles like CS:GoRocket LeagueCivilization VI, and GTA V.

In multi-threaded performance and content creation tasks, the company’s benchmarks showed that its Ryzen 5 4600G performed between 39% and 100% better than Intel’s ninth-generation Core i5-9500, PCMag reported.

These processors only support PCIe 3.0, not the newer and faster PCIe 4.0 specifications.

A second desktop Ryzen 4000 release will feature an upgraded Zen 3 design known as Vermeer. Vermeer will be based on an entirely new architecture, according to AMD senior vice president Forrest Norrod. Like rival Intel, AMD will follow the tick-tock cadence with its chip releases, with the Zen 2 design forming the basis of the “tick” cycle.

Zen 3’s tock cycle will come with a new architecture and an enhanced 7nm+ process node. AMD could potentially lean on TSMC to manufacture this chip on its enhanced 7nm node. For the Zen 3-based Vermeer release, AMD is said to focus on three main features for its silicon: IPC gains, faster clock speeds, and higher efficiency.

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% boost in IPC and 50% increase in floating-point operations.

AMD Epyc Milan Zen 3
Source: AdoredTV

Based on the information we know about AMD’s Zen 3 plans for its EPYC Milan processors that are destined for servers, we can infer similar changes to the new Vermeer architecture for desktops. AMD had confirmed that Zen 3 EPYC will benefit from a unified cache design, and according to AdoredTV, we should see double the L3 cache available to each Zen 3 core. And because of the new design, each core will have equal access to the cache on the same die, leading to more consistent performance. Hopefully, these changes will get ported to AMD’s desktop silicon as well.

Early engineering samples of Vermeer obtained by Igor’s Lab revealed that the chip can come with a 16-core architecture with a 4.6GHz boost clock speed and 3.7GHz base speed. Notable details about Vermeer could likely change when the chip launches, however, so this information should be taken with a grain of salt. If Igor’s Lab is accurate, then Vemeer compares favorably against the Ryzen 9 3950X, which ships with 16 cores and 32 threads and has a maximum boost speed of 4.7GHz and 3.5GHz base speed.

The eight-core Zen 3 Ryzen engineering samples are said to have a base speed of 4GHz and a boost speed of 4.6GHz, representing an uplift of 100 MHz compared to the Ryzen 7 3800X.

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%.

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 to 300MHz per core. This should not only make Ryzen 4000 faster than its predecessors, but will allow AMD to be more competitive with Intel on clock speeds. We still don’t have much information on core count, but with Zen 2 doubling the core count of Zen, we should expect to see even more cores with Zen 3.

AMD also squashed a recent report from DigiTimes suggesting that Ryzen 4000 may be postponed to early 2021 to allow AMD to skip the 7nm design for Zen 3 in favor of a smaller 5nm EUV node. Since the report was published, AMD clarified its product roadmap to TechPowerUp, stating that rumors of a delay are inaccurate. The company also showed a presentation slide stating that Zen 3 will be based on a 7nm process.

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.

It was reported by Tom’s Hardware that AMD had reversed its decision to only support Zen 3 desktop processors on the latest B550 and X570 motherboards following backlash. Now, AMD announced that it will extend support for Zen 3 and Ryzen 4000 CPUs to the B450 and X470 motherboards, according to AnandTech.

“We’ve heard our audience, and we understand the concerns,” AMD said of its plans. The company revealed that it will be working closely with its motherboard partners to enable support through BIOS updates. “We are going to work out a way to support Zen 3 on our 400-series chipsets between now and launch – we’re still working out the what and the how, but we will update you closer to Zen 3 launch.”

A recent leak of AMD’s X670 chipset showed that Zen 3 will retain support for the AM4 socket. The X670 chipset is expected to arrive in the fourth quarter of 2020 and will feature enhancement, such as enhanced PCIe Gen 4.0 support. It will also feature increased I/O from additional M.2, SATA, as well as USB 3.2 ports, though Wccftech reported that native Thunderbolt 3 support may still not happen on this chipset. AMD also recently announced a budget-friendly B550 chipset that supports the AM4 socket and brings PCIe 4.0 support to a lower price point.

Ryzen 5000, expected in 2021, will move beyond AM4 to a new AM5 socket design that’s rumored to be built around technologies such as DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0, according to Wccftech.

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.

Updated on July 24, 2020: Added Ryzen 4000 desktop APU launch information; added AMD’s internal desktop APU benchmarks and Intel ninth-gen comparisons; added notes about commercial Pro-branded Ryzen 4000 desktop APU.

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