Intel has dominated the notebook space for processors at all price segments, though AMD managed to ship some APUs here and there in affordable notebooks. Ryzen brought about an opportunity to topple the giant and steal back some market share, but the 3000 series released in 2019 didn't live up to expectations.
With the switch to 7nm architecture, AMD is able to throw in more processor cores, up the clock speeds and keep power and thermals low. This resulted in the creation of the Ryzen 4000 series of mobile CPUs, including some within the Ryzen 9 family of SKUs. What this should mean on paper is exceptional performance and the numbers provided by AMD certainly backs this up.
AMD Ryzen 9 4900 H-series
Much like the desktop family of Ryzen processors, for mobile, AMD is keeping things simple by following Intel's vocabulary to help make it easier for us to compare processors in reviews and for consumers to decide on the right CPU for their needs. AMD Ryzen 9 4900H is a high-performance processor with plenty of power for gamers, creators, and enthusiasts.
AMD also announced a new Ryzen 9 4900HS, which is meant to be a slightly more power-efficient, lower-clocked version of the Ryzen 9 4900H, with the added benefit of rocking AMD's new SmartShift technology. What this allows manufacturers to do is cram in an 8-core CPU (with 16 threads of performance) in a more compact, lighter gaming laptop.
|Ryzen 9 4900H||8/16||3.3 (up to 4.4)||12MB||Radeon||45W|
|Ryzen 9 4900HS||8/16||3.0 (up to 4.3)||12MB||Radeon||35W|
There's not a whole lot that differentiates the two processors, aside from the clock speeds and rated TDP. While the 4900H omits the SmartShift tech, it's a neat piece of kit, allowing for the notebook to switch between the CPU and GPU for display output much faster, and allows for both components to perform well without heavy thermal restriction. Compared to the Ryzen 7 4800H, Ryzen 9 has a slightly faster graphics clock (1,750MHz vs. 1,600MHz) and an additional GPU core for a total of 8.
AMD is looking to go up against Intel's Core i9-9980HK with the Ryzen 9 4900H and while we still don't know how the new Ryzen mobile processors perform (until we get some review laptops in), AMD has been able to publish some serious figures that almost match what's being offered by the better established Intel Core series.
Here's how AMD's flagship Ryzen 9 4900H compares against the equivalent Core i9-9980HK from Intel.
|AMD Ryzen 9 4900H||Intel i9-9980HK|
|Base/Boost (GHz)||3.3 (up to 4.4)||2.4 (up to 5.0)|
The same cores and threads are shared across the two processors, but AMD edges out in the lead with not only a higher base clock speed, but also dedicated Radeon GPU cores, decimating Intel's UHD graphics processing. It'll also be interesting if AMD aggressively prices the Ryzen 9 4900H, which could lead to some savings for consumers without taking a performance hit.
The Ryzen 9 4900HS targets the Intel Core i9-9980H CPU and AMD wasn't afraid at a recent media briefing to showcase some figures in a chart to get the point across — Ryzen 9 mobile CPUs are capable workhorses for gaming and creative tasks. Even the slightly lower clocked 4900HS is able to smash the Core i9-9980H in various tests.
LAME, Blender, and Handbrake all showed promising results for the Ryzen 9 against the Core i9-9980H. When paired with an NVIDIA RTX 2060 GPU, AMD's mighty little HS processor is able to maintain more than 60 frames-per-second (FPS) in numerous titles, including Hitman, Total War, and Rise of the Tomb Raider.
Not only are you able to enjoy faster GPU performance within the CPU itself, AMD's SmartShift tech makes pairing up the Ryzen 4000 series of mobile processors with dedicated GPUs a seamless experience.
Bright future for AMD in mobile
The new Ryzen 4000-series mobile processors will likely allow AMD to make some ground in the war against Intel. How these processors will fare in the real world is yet to be seen and we'll have a better understanding once we get some laptops in for testing. On paper, AMD made some significant improvements to its mobile portfolio.
Besides the new H-series AMD also spilled the tea on new U-series for ultrathin laptops that reportedly beat Intel's 10th Gen series.
Will Intel take a beating without striking back? Absolutely not, which is why it'll be interesting to see just how flashy AMD's slideshow is once Intel has a chance to respond.
Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.
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