CES 2020 has been really fruitful for AMD. The new Ryzen 4000 APU (Renoir) series is of particular interest to notebook gamers. The use of Zen 2 cores means CPU power on par with Intel’s Coffee Lake offerings at lower price points. The move to the 7nm process means that cost and performance aren’t the only interesting things about Ryzen 4000: Smaller transistors mean that high-performance parts can be crammed into smaller laptops than ever before.
ASUS Zephyrus 14: Ryzen 4000 + NVIDIA RTX
Case in point: The Asus Zephyrus G14, claimed to be the world’s first 14-inch RTX notebook. The Zephyrus G14 will be powered by AMD’s 35W Ryzen 7 4800HS and the RTX 2060 Max Q. The 4800HS is an interesting SKU. It features the same 8 cores and 16 threads as the vanilla 4800H. It also features the same 2.9 GHz base clock and 4.2 GHz boost clock as the former. However, at 35W, it consumes less power than the 45W 4800H. Presumably, this means a lower all-core boost. That 2.9 GHz base clock means that we’ll still see all-core clocks in the 3-4 GHz range, which is not bad at all.
The RTX 2060 Max Q is a questionable choice: It’s the weakest RTX card period, and barely a few percent faster than the GTX 1660 Ti. It’s just about fast enough to deliver a reasonable ray-traced experience in some (but not all) RTX titles, such as Battlefield V. It does give Asus RTX bragging rights, though.
Apart from that, Asus gives gamers the option to choose between a 120 Hz 1080p panel and a 60 Hz 1440p panel, with nearly the same pixel density as the 13 in Mac Pro Retina. The RTX 2060 Max Q is actually a reasonably capable 1440p performer if you moderate your settings. At native res, games are apt to look stunning on that display. It’s also fast enough to deliver 120 Hz experiences in eSports games like Fortnite, so the screen option really comes down to your personal preference. The key features of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 are:
- Small size with a big impact: Compact and portable at only 17.9mm thin and 1.6kg, without compromising performance
- AniMe Matrix LED personalization: An optional, precision-cut LED on the lid lets users show custom graphics, animations, and other effects.
- Immersive gaming visuals: The first gaming notebook of this size to feature RTX graphics that produce high frame rates for popular games
- High refresh or high resolution: A choice of 120Hz refresh rate or WQHD resolution panels allows users to optimize for gaming or content creation.
- Nonstop speed: Latest AMD Ryzen 4000 Series Mobile Processor featuring the world’s first x86 8-core and 16-thread with advanced power efficiency.
At 1.6 kg, with an 18mm profile, it goes without saying that this is a svelte laptop approaching ultrabook proportions. That’s no mean feat from Asus.
ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15: A 240Hz, 15″ Gaming Laptop
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 is a 15″ gaming laptop that features an impressive 240Hz display. The specs under the hood are largely the same. You get the 8 core/16 thread Ryzen 7 4800HS CPU and on the GPU side the GTX 1660 Ti or the RTX 2060 (not Max-Q).
The display is more impressive. You get a 144Hz model and a 240Hz screen featuring AMD FreeSync. The key features of the ROG Zephyrus G15 gaming notebook are:
- Ultraslim portability: 19.9 mm-thin, 2.1 kg chassis is easy to carry, with USB-C charging and superfast WiFi 6 that offers flexibility for working anywhere
- Speed through anything: Up to an AMD Ryzen 7 processor has 8 cores and 16 threads to accelerate heavy-duty multitasking, content creation, and more
- Silky-smooth graphics: Up to a GeForce RTX 2060 GPU augmented by ROG Boost up to 1298 MHz at 65 W delivers reliable frame rates for popular games.
- A stunning display: PANTONE Validated color-accurate displays with up to 240 Hz / 3 ms panels feature AMD FreeSync technology for smooth gaming
The G15 is slightly thicker than the G15 at just 19.9mm with a weight of 2.1 kg.
New Lineup of ASUS TUF Gaming Laptops
ASUS also announced a new lineup of the popular TUF Gaming series (powered by the Ryzen 3000 Picasso APUs). The new lineup of TUF Gaming laptops will feature both the Ryzen 4000 Renoir APUs as well as Intel’s Comet Lake-H parts. These will most likely include the 7nm Ryzen 5 as well as the Ryzen 7 models like their predecessors.
On the GPU side, you get to choose between the GTX 1660 Ti, RTX 2060 or the Radeon RX 5600 XT, if you want an all-AMD gaming laptop. All three feature 6GB of GDDR6 memory.
There will be a 15″ model and a 17″ for both the Intel and AMD variants. You can opt for a 15.6″ 1080p 144Hz screen or a 120Hz 120Hz option. Both feature AMD’s FreeSync technology and up to 32GB of DDE4 3200MHz memory and 1TB NVMe SSD storage. The core features of the ASUS TUF Gaming lineup are:
- Next-gen processors for on-the-go performance: The new TUF Gaming laptops have up to the latest AMD Ryzen 4000 Series Mobile Processors or 10th Gen Intel processors
- GeForce and FreeSync power high-refresh displays: Up to GeForce RTX 2060 and AMD FreeSync combine for smooth gaming up to a 144Hz refresh rate
- Designed for both portability and durability: TUF Gaming is equipped with bigger battery options, a more compact chassis, and military-grade durability
As a side-note, ASUS’ laptops will feature the 35W Ryzen 4000 APUs while the rest of the OEMs will get the 45W models. These are the H series mobile gaming CPUs. The low-power ultrabook versions will have 15W CPUs with the U suffix. Here’s the entire Ryzen 4000 APU Renoir lineup:
|CPU||Cores / Threads||Base Clock||Boost Clock||GPU CUs / Cores||TDP|
|AMD Ryzen 9 4900H||8 / 16||TBD||TBD||TBD||45W|
|AMD Ryzen 7 4800H||8 / 16||2.9 GHz||4.2 GHz||8 / 512||45W|
|AMD Ryzen 5 4600H||6 / 12||3.0 GHz||4.0 GHz||6 / 384||45W|
|AMD Ryzen 7 4800U||8 / 16||1.8 GHz||4.2 GHz||8 / 512||15W|
|AMD Ryzen 7 4700U||8 / 8||2.0 GHz||4.1 GHz||7 / 448||15W|
|AMD Ryzen 5 4600U||6 / 12||2.1 GHz||4.0 GHz||6 / 384||15W|
|AMD Ryzen 5 4500U||6 / 6||2.3 GHz||4.0 GHz||6 / 384||15W|
|AMD Ryzen 3 4300U||4 / 4||2.7 GHz||3.7 GHz||5 / 320||15W|
There’s also a Ryzen 3 model for budget options but I suspect we’ll see them in only a few select laptops.