This new AMD Ryzen laptop might not be as fresh as you think • The Register

AMD appears to have dug deep into its spares kit with the launch today of its 7020-series mobile processors, which it says will bring all-day battery life to entry-level notebooks.

“At every price point, users should be confident that they’re getting the best possible experience from AMD,” said Saeid Moshkelani, GM of AMD’s Client Business Unit, in a ready-made statement.

Unless, of course, you thought you were buying something with a remotely modern architecture. AMD’s 7020-series mobile chips aren’t based on Zen 4 like it’s found in desktop chips. They don’t even use AMD’s two-year-old Zen 3 architecture. No, these chips use AMD’s Zen 2 cores, which launched in 2019 along with the Ryzen 3000 series parts.

In fact, AMD’s 7020 series mobile processors are a hodgepodge of technology. Although they may be based on a three-year-old core architecture, the chips will be manufactured using a TSMC 6nm process. The chips also borrow the integrated RDNA 2 graphics introduced with AMD’s Ryzen 6000 handsets.

So while the CPU cores may be old, the GPU and the processing node are not so old. AMD says this combination made it possible to achieve up to 12 hours of battery life in notebooks that cost as little as $399.

AMD 7020 series mobile processors are available in three SKUs:

  • Ryzen 5 7520U: 4 cores / 8 threads, with a base clock of 2.8 GHz, a boost clock of 4.3 GHz and 6 MB cache.
  • Ryzen 3 7320U: 4 cores / 8 threads, with a base clock of 2.4 GHz, a boost clock of 4.1 GHz and 6 MB cache.
  • Athlon Gold 7220U: 2 cores / 4 threads, with a base clock of 2.4 GHz, a boost clock of 3.7 GHz and 5 MB cache.

All three chips have a TDP of 15 W, integrated Radeon 610M graphics and support for LPDDR5 memory.

Notebooks equipped with these chips are expected to ship in time for Acer, HP and Lenovo’s Christmas shopping season.

AMD recycled cores in its mobile line is by no means a new phenomenon. The x86 business has a long history of integrating older architectures into “new” chips as a cost-cutting measure.

However, the behavior has caused confusion among customers, who believe they are buying current-gen chips only to later discover that the hardware is based on an older Zen architecture. For example, AMD’s Ryzen 5000 processors used Zen 3 and Zen 2 cores, depending on which SKU you’re looking at. And to make matters worse, higher numbered SKUs weren’t always translated to the new architecture.

AMD tries to rectify that earlier this month with a new naming scheme for its mobile parts. Starting with the Mendocino and Dragon Range processor families, the first two digits now refer to the generation and product family, while the second two digits denote the core architecture and feature availability. A final character is used to identify the form factor and TDP. So the 7520U refers to a seventh generation Ryzen 5 with a Zen 2 core and a TDP of 15 W.

And as we saw at today’s launch, the naming scheme extends to the chip house’s long-running Athlon line, the not how Intel’s Pentium and Celeron brands are still kicking. ® This new AMD Ryzen laptop might not be as fresh as you think • The Register

Laura Coffey

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