Here’s everything AMD announced at CES 2022
Spoiler alert: It’s a lot
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At CES 2022, AMD announced an entire charcuterie board of new hardware coming to laptops and desktops this year. There are so many neat things coming to gamers and content creators, and after you see how many tricks AMD has up its sleeve, it just might be enough to forget there is still an ongoing chip shortage.
AMD pulled the curtain back on its Ryzen 6000-series mobile processors, along with a bevy of new laptop graphics cards and a special desktop gaming processor that utilizes 3D chip stacking technology. There’s a lot to unpack, so let’s get started.
AMD’s upcoming Ryzen 6000-series mobile processors are still based on the chipmaker’s Zen 3 architecture, which currently powers the company’s 5000-series mobile and desktop CPUs, but there’s a twist. Dubbed Zen 3+, AMD isn’t moving to a totally new architecture, but the company says it’s made enough tweaks to optimize power consumption, battery life, and performance across the board. (Especially where gaming with an integrated graphics card is concerned.)
Zen 3+ chips will feature up to eight processor cores, up to 12 GPU compute units (CUs) with ray tracing, as well as a 1.5X larger GPU compute engine, up to 1.5X more memory bandwidth, and twice the amount of L2 cache for faster processing. The integrated GPU is based on AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture, which powers its current-gen 6000 series desktop graphics cards. RDNA 2 is also a big reason why AMD is now able to incorporate ray tracing into its APUs, or chips with integrated graphics. And AMD is the first chipmaker to ever have a ray-tracing capable APU.
AMD says its upcoming Ryzen 7 6800U APU will have up to 3.02X times the in-game frame rates compared to Intel’s Core i7-1165G7 and Nvidia’s GeForce MX450, and up to a 2.07X jump in graphics performance compared to its Ryzen 7 5800U, depending on the game. But there’s still some question about how these new 6000-series chips will compare to the graphics performance of Apple’s M1 Pro and Intel chips outfitted with Iris Xe.
In our previous tests, we discovered a Ryzen 7 5800U can manage around 28 frames per second (fps) at 720p with the graphics preset on Low in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. At the same resolution and graphics preset, the Ryzen 7 6800U should net somewhere around 50 fps, if AMD’s performance claims are true. AMD did not provide specific frame rates during its CES 2022 keynote. On paper, it seems like the Ryzen 7 6800U could at least have comparable graphics performance to certain Intel and Apple processors, but we’ll have to get our hands on some AMD-based laptops to know for sure.
Outside of gaming and graphics performance, the new 6000-series chips can also reach clock speeds of up to 5GHz, which AMD says translates to about 1.3X faster processing time compared to its 5000-series Ryzen chips. The new chips feature up to eight processor cores, with up to 1.28X multi-core performance, 1.11X single-core performance, and up to 1.28X productivity performance.
AMD also claims its new Zen 3+ mobile chips can help laptops reach up to 24 hours of battery life with video playback, due to the 6000-series mobile processors using up to 30% less power for video conferencing, 15% less power during web browsing, and 40% less power during video streaming. The company says this massive reduction in power usage and battery life boost is due to all the architectural and software changes, which allows the system to optimize for user behavior.
Essentially, the chip is supposedly able to discern what kind of task you’re performing and figure out if it needs less or more power to complete it. Again, it will be interesting to see how AMD’s power management compares to what Apple and Intel are doing with their hybrid CPUs.
Laptops with AMD’s new 6000-series processors will become available starting in February 2022 and support USB4, DDR5, HDMI 2.1, PCIe 4.0, and Wi-Fi 6, which is not too different from what its 5000-series processors already support.
AMD had a lot to announce regarding its upcoming desktop processors. First up was its new Ryzen 7 5800X3D desktop processor, which is part of its 5000-series of chips the company first announced in October 2020. But this new chip is special—it has something AMD calls 3D V-Cache, or its branded version of 3D chip stacking technology.
With the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, AMD has vertically stacked the cache dies directly over one another. Stacking the dies like this lets AMD add more cache on the same surface area, and more cache can ultimately result in reduced processing times in some tasks like archive compression/decompression and gaming. If this 3D chip stacking tech sounds familiar, Intel tried it with its Lakefield CPUs, but those were discontinued in July 2021.
The Ryzen 7 5800X3D CPU will be available sometime in Spring 2022 and will have eight cores, 16 threads, up to a 4.5GHz boost clock, 64MB of AMD 3D V-Cache, and 32MB of 2D Cache. It will also be compatible with AMD 400 and 500 series motherboards with the company’s long-running AM4 socket.
However, AMD’s 7000-series desktop processors will be moving to the company’s Zen 4 architecture, which means those chips will be getting a brand new socket—AM5. Not only that, AMD is ditching the PGA microprocessor socket it’s used for several years and moving to a land grid array (LGA) socket, which is the same kind of socket Intel has used in its desktop processors for a long time. There are numerous benefits to changing the socket type, but perhaps it will now be easier to remove the CPU cooler without being afraid of pulling off the CPU with it because you used too much thermal paste.
AMD’s Ryzen 7000-series desktop processors and compatible motherboards should be available sometime in the second half of 2022. (Don’t worry, AMD socket AM4 coolers will still be compatible with the new hardware.)
AMD is expanding both its mobile and desktop graphics cards, too. First up is its RX 6000S series mobile GPUs for thin and light gaming laptops weighing less than 4.5 pounds. These graphics cards will come in three configurations: RX 6800S, RX 6700S, and RX 6600S. According to the company, all three GPUs can achieve 80+ fps or higher when you set the graphics preset to high.
The company is also adding more mobile GPUs to its well-received RX 6000M series: RX 6850M XT, RX6650M XT, RX 6650M, RX 6500M, and RX 6300M, which should make AMD even more competitive with laptops configured with Intel and Nvidia components. This also means we’ll see more “AMD Advantage” laptops enter the gaming space or laptops with both an AMD CPU and GPU. (We’ve had great experiences with these types of laptops before, like the Asus ROG Strix G15 and MSI’s Delta 15.)
There’s another desktop GPU coming our way, too: the Radeon RX 6500 XT, an entry-level GPUs for lower-end systems, or budget systems. AMD says the RX 6500 XT is up to 1.6X faster than Nvidia’s most budget desktop GPU, the Geforce GTX 1650, depending on the game. It will be available starting January 19, 2022 for an MSRP of $199.
We look forward to checking out all this gear in our labs soon. Until then, watch this space for more CES 2022 coverage.