Based on the CES 2022 product announcements, it looks like a busy start to the year for AMD, with a mind-melting array of things for everyone. AMD’s launch focused on better battery life during gaming, thinner gaming laptops, better gaming performance… a lot of gaming.
The company also teased its next-generation Zen 4 desktop processor launch and an upcoming desktop processor that will include dual-cache (a larger 3D V-cache and a standard cache) of its new 3D stacking technology. It introduced the Radeon RX 6000S series of mobile GPUs for thin and light gaming laptops and offered an expansion of its RX 6000M series as a result of switching to a 6-nanometer process.
There are also Ryzen 6000 and Ryzen 6000 Pro mobile CPUs, based on the updated 6nm Zen 3 Plus architecture and with the new RDNA 2-based integrated GPU. And AMD showed off a low-end desktop graphics card, the Radeon RX 6500 XT, aimed at what used to be a sub-$200 price bracket (but who knows these days). And those are just the main attractions.
what’s coming to your pc
The entry-level Radeon RX 6500 XT desktop graphics card for 1080p-class gaming arrives January 19th with 16GB of GDDR6 memory and 16 compute units—that’s half the processor of the RX 6600 XT. The base price is theoretically $199, but who knows.
I’ll bang my head against the wall when I come to it. ($199 is roughly £150 or AU$280, but changed prices won’t necessarily reflect international pricing.) There’s also a model specific to the prebuilt system, the RX 6400. Guys, please replace your GTX 1060 already, so we can finally stop to hear from Intel, AMD, and Nvidia about why everyone should be listening.
AMD gave some hints about its next-generation Ryzen CPU architecture, the 5nm Zen 4, which is likely to launch in the second half of this year.
Those hints include a new AM5 socket (so you’ll need a new motherboard instead of upgrading your current one), as well as chipset support for PCIe 5 and DDR5 RAM. The company expressed no plans to move to a hybrid architecture combining performance and efficiency cores (a la Apple’s M1 or Intel’s 12th-gen Elder Lake) in the near future, saying that it will start from Zen 4. Pleased with the performance and efficiency I’ve seen so far.
And by June we’ll most likely get the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, an eight-core gaming CPU for 105-watt power-targeted systems (mainstream gaming), which it claims will more or less ties in with the Ryzen 9 5900X and Intel Core Performs better than both. i9-12900K for 1080p. Its secret is the 3D-stacked chip architecture AMD announced in May last year.
The company’s new Ryzen 6000 CPUs come in a variety of flavors, with a couple of U-series options for general thin and light systems (15 to 28 watts), some HS-series CPUs for thin gaming systems (35 watts), Some H CPUs for mainstream gaming laptops (45 watts) and two HX versions for high-end gaming laptops (45 watts and up). Notably, AMD’s Ryzen 9 6980HX and 6980HS are both capable of hitting 5GHz boost frequencies, a first for the company on any consumer platform.
The Zen 3 Plus update and 6nm process brings a number of power management upgrades that lead to AMD’s claim of up to 24 hours of battery life, though that’s something companies have often promised over the years and rarely achieved. Integrated rDNA 2nd-generation graphics also mean hardware ray-tracing acceleration. This is new to laptops but I doubt it will make that much of a difference depending on the desktop card; Far more important are faster clock speeds and larger memory caches.
Other features to come with the new platform include DDR5 and LPDDR5 memory, support for USB 4, PCIe 4, Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, integrated graphics, and FreeSync support via HDMI 2.1. It’s also DisplayPort 2-ready, which means it will require a firmware update if the display with DisplayPort 2 ships. I doubt that many systems will actually ship with DDR5, as it is still short supply and expensive.