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AMD is still getting shortchanged by laptop brands

We made it. New laptops are finally coming with both Intel and AMD variants, even in higher-end models. AMD has worked its Ryzen platform for years to get to this point.

But as evidenced by the division in HP’s newly announced Envy laptops, certain premium features are still being reserved exclusively for Intel.

HP announced an updated version of its Envy x360 15 laptops that is geared toward content creators with its sleek design and powerful internals. On the surface, the only thing separating the Intel and AMD models are the color of the chassis, with one in black and one silver.

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But when you dig into the configurations, you’ll find a dirty little secret: HP has reserved its most premium laptop features only for the Intel models. Namely, the AMOLED 4K screens won’t come to the AMD option, nor will the Nvidia MX450 graphics card.

If these laptops weren’t aimed at creatives, that wouldn’t be a big deal. But with a 15-inch Envy, that’s your main audience. For photographers, designers, and other content creatives, a high-end screen and more powerful graphics are crucial. The base AMD configuration comes with only a 1080p screen and integrated Radeon graphics. That’s likely not going to entice the target market for these laptops.

That’s a shame, especially when AMD offers the better multi-core performance, especially in the thin-and-light laptop form factor. The Ryzen 7 5700U has eight cores and 16 threads, twice of what Intel’s models include, which will greatly increase the content-creation capabilities of these laptops.

Therein lies the problem. Laptop brands like HP, Dell, and Lenovo are forcing customers to choose between multi-core performance and high-end laptop features. You can’t have both. It’s not as important in larger laptops that use an 45-watt Intel processor (which have up to eight cores), but here, the discrepancy does not have the buyer’s best interest in mind.

Gaming brands have already happily adopted AMD Ryzen components in their highest-end configurations, but the rest of the industry is still behind.

We still don’t why laptop manufacturers are making this choice. They keep saying demand for Ryzen is skyrocketing, but apparently, it’s not enough to shake off old mentalities about AMD as a budget brand. In 2021, that’s simply not true — and it’s time we started seeing that in the available laptops we can buy.

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Luke Larsen
Senior Editor, Computing
Luke Larsen is the Senior editor of computing, managing all content covering laptops, monitors, PC hardware, Macs, and more.
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