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AMD CES 2021 highlights: Ryzen 5000 mobile and more

After rival Intel debuted a number of processors targeting business, education, and gaming yesterday, all eyes are on AMD today to see what the company has in store to take on its biggest rival in the processor space. Last year was quite the year for AMD with the launch of its latest Ryzen 5000 desktop processors and Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards. These advances are expected to continue in 2021.

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With AMD’s CES keynote now wrapped up, we’ve listed the highlights from CES. We’ll also be updating this post throughout CES with all the latest news from AMD, so be sure to refresh your browser to get the updates on all the announcements. Be sure to also follow the Digital Trends’ CES 2021 hub for all the latest news.

High-performance computing

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“High-performance computing has never been more important to our daily lives or to our future,” AMD CEO Lisa Su said as she kicked off her CES keynote. Su gave examples of how AMD is using high-performance computing to combat some of the world’s most-pressing problems, like fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

In many businesses, digital transformations accelerated, Su said, noting that though the pandemic has different effects on people, it had made 2020 a more productive year for technology companies. She said our relationship with technology has fundamentally changed over the last year, and high-performance computing is at the center of this change.

Microsoft partnership

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Su talked about AMD’s partnership with Microsoft by welcoming Microsoft’s hardware chief Panos Panay, who appeared virtually.

“At Microsoft, the PC has become more essential than before,” Panay said. He noted the importance in productivity and connecting with others, along with entertainment and gaming on the PC and desktop.

The two executives talked about their co-engineering partnership.

“When we talk about partnership, we’ve got to talk about gaming,” Panay said, highlighting the silicon inside the Microsoft Series X and Series X consoles. “These are two teams coming together working in detail. These are real depth partnerships.”

Panay also talked about his excitement of moving AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture into the PC, adding that he is a Windows guy who loves gaming.

In a promotional video, Microsoft detailed all of its partners’ Windows-enabled laptops and desktops powered by Ryzen and Radeon silicon.

“I think AMD is doing amazing things right now, and your tech is moving the world forward,” he said.

Zen 3 goes mobile

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In November, AMD introduced its new Zen 3 processor architecture, highlighting improved performance and energy efficiency, Su said.

Now, Zen 3 is going mobile with the Ryzen 5000 mobile processor designed for ultrathin and gaming notebooks.

“These new chips offer tremendous performance and battery life,” Su said, noting that AMD is the only company with an eight-core processor in an ultrathin. “You can expect to do more, be more productive,” Su said, highlighting the chip’s gaming potential in a light notebook.

The chip comes in up to an eight-core configuration, Su said, adding that the “Ryzen 5000 series sets a new bar for leadership performance.”

The U-series operates on a 15-watt TDP design. The company compared the Ryzen 7 chip against Intel’s 11th-Gen Core i7, and it showed how the Ryzen beats Intel’s Core i7.

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Battery life is rated at up to 17.5 hours for general usage or 21 hours for movie playback.

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For gaming, the company announced an unlocked 45-watt HX series for high-performance computing and gaming, which can be overclocked. The AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX boosts up to 4.6GHz. The company showed Horizon Zero Dawn at smooth frame rates at over 100 frames per second (fps) at 1080p resolution.

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The company promises up to 4K gaming on mobile notebooks. Compared to a an Intel Core i9, the Ryzen wins by a wide margin, Su said.

Up to 150 designs will launch this year, compared to just 100 designs for Ryzen 4000. This is a 50% jump in design, offering more choices to AMD laptop fans.

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Su introduced partner HP to talk about some of the computing trends that the tech industry has seen the past year.

HP said that with the pandemic, the PC has become the center of the home, as it’s being used for work, play, study, and entertainment.

RDNA 2 gaming on mobile coming this year

AMD claimed that four in five U.S. consumers have played a video game in the past year, and that gaming is on the rise.

“Gaming is so much at the heart of what we do at AMD,” Su said.

Su highlighted gaming consoles as among the most popular products powered by AMD, including Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Sony’s PlayStation 5. On the desktop, AMD introduced the Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards.

“The underlying graphics architecture for these products is RDNA 2,” Su said, noting a 65% performance per watt gen-on-gen increase.

The company announced that it will bring RDNA 2 to notebooks next. They’re slated to arrive in the first half of 2021.

Threadripper Pro

AMD brought on partner Lucasfilm to showcase how AMD is impacting the film industry. Lucasfilm talked about how it went exclusively with AMD for its render farm when it built up its new facility. Lucasfilm was among the first to adopt AMD’s high-performance Threadripper processors, noting the firepower that the chip provides thanks to the number of threads and cores.

With Threadripper, artists are able to make changes and see immediate results, Lucasfilm said.

“AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO Processors will now be directly available to consumers through participating global retailers, e-tailers and system integrators,” AMD said in a statement ahead of Su’s keynote. “Ryzen Threadripper PRO Processors offer an unmatched feature set to workstation customers with up to 64 cores, 8 channels of memory, RDIMM and LRDIMM support, 128 PCIe Gen 4 lanes, and AMD PRO security technologies.”

More Ryzen for desktop gamers

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Though AMD did not have time during its keynote to unveil new Ryzen processors, the company did send a release to media stating that new processors with reduced TDPs will be available on prebuilt systems.

“AMD is also announcing reduced-TDP alternatives to the award-winning AMD Ryzen 9 5900X and AMD Ryzen 7 5800X desktop processors, coming to prebuilt OEM systems only,” the release stated. “Powered by the new Zen 3 core architecture and with a lower 65W TDP, the Ryzen 9 5900 desktop processor and AMD Ryzen 7 5800 will offer better performance to more users.”

Data center and cloud

AMD also gave an update on its EPYC processors at CES 2021.

“The largest cloud providers have adopted EPYC processors,” Su said.

AMD announced its third-gen EPYC processor, with up to 64 Zen 3 cores and previewed its Milan processors. Comparing Milan with 32 cores to Intel Xeon Gold, AMD showed weather-forecasting simulation completed at 68% faster than the competition.

Third-gen EPYC launches later this quarter, Su said.

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