Any attempt to predict the future of mobile PC computing must first grapple with how much things have changed in just the past few years. The market AMD faces in 2023 is substantially different compared to just three years ago. The pandemic and associated increase in working from home drove enormous growth in laptop sales. PC sales soared.
But if the pandemic changed the PC market, it also changed the types of PCs customers were buying, and what they were buying them for. Camera quality and robust wireless connectivity have both become increasingly important as more and more meetings are held on services like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Battery life has always been an important feature, but the rapid proliferation of online daily meetings puts even more pressure on PC manufacturers to deliver products that can last a full day.
The shift towards thin-and-light laptops and away from the heavier, thicker laptops of yesteryear suggests that while laptop customers want more battery life and new technological features, they don't want to turn the clock backwards to bulky plastic laptops with low overall build quality to get them. Smartphone and tablet manufacturers have managed to simultaneously improve performance, connectivity, build quality, and battery life over the past decade. People expect the same combination of features from modern mobile PCs.
Decades ago, performance and power consumption improvements in mobile PCs were driven primarily by new manufacturing process technologies. Such lithography advances are still a vital part of improving performance, but they now represent just one of the tools AMD has for enhancing mobile devices in the long term. Future mobile devices will leverage advances in both hardware and software to strengthen security, reduce power consumption and boost performance rather than relying solely on process node enhancements.
Features like AMD SmartShift and Smart Access Memory allow AMD to efficiently manage power and memory between the processor and graphics card, while AMD's chiplet strategy is an important hardware innovation. Moving to chiplets has allowed AMD to break free from the limits of monolithic scaling and improve device performance and power consumption simultaneously. With the new Ryzen(TM) 7045HX series processors, AMD is bringing those benefits to higher performance mobile laptops. Meanwhile, Ryzen AI - a new, dedicated on-chip AI engine included in the Ryzen 7040 series processors - can perform advanced video processing in a fraction of the power a processor or graphics card would consume for the same task.
One of the best attributes of today's thin and light laptops is what end users aren't asked to give up. Today's thin and light systems offer up to eight processor cores and 16 threads, with powerful built-in graphics capable of running modern games.
AMD isn't just concerned with improving systems at the top of the market. The Ryzen 7020 series is explicitly designed to improve the everyday laptop experience and battery life, specifically, in the entry segment where lackluster machines are all too common. The Ryzen 7030 and 7035 build on this foundation by adding additional processor and graphics cores, as well as features like USB4 and powerful built-in Radeon(TM) 600M series graphics as one moves farther up the stack.
Technologies like AMD's FidelityFX(TM) Super Resolution (FSR) 2, which debuted in 2022, enables game developers to deliver higher quality visuals with less performance impact. While there's still a significant difference between the graphics capability of a dedicated mobile gaming system and a thin-and-light laptop with integrated graphics, built-in Radeon 600M- and 700M-series graphics are capable of higher fidelity gaming, at higher frame rates than ever before. Fifteen years ago, mobile gaming without a discrete graphics card was a contradiction in terms. In 2022, that's no longer the case.
As far as new and emerging technologies, artificial intelligence holds tremendous long-term potential. AMD will offer hardware AI acceleration on select 7040 series processors in 2023 and expects to expand the total number of processors with onboard AI hardware over time. This hardware AI integration represents an important long-term transition for the entire computing industry. Just as the graphics card was invented to speed up the unique demands of graphics engine processing, so has the Ryzen AI engine been introduced for the specialized demands on AI processing. The new Ryzen 7040 series processors offer intriguing options for improving performance and battery life without relying solely on conventional approaches that have begun to deliver diminishing returns.
The most successful and desirable PCs of the future are the machines that leverage relevant advancements both hardware and software, both conventional manufacturing process improvements and emerging computing approaches like Ryzen AI. AMD is well positioned to take advantage of these trends, thanks to the unique position it occupies across the PC gaming, mobile, server, workstation, handheld, and console markets. From FPGAs and GPUs to the advanced AI instruction support on the latest Ryzen 7000 processors, AMD plays a leading role in deploying and advancing these technologies and in shaping the future of mobile devices.