One point we touched on in AMD’s giant mobile Ryzen launch on Monday but didn’t dive into is the fact that AMD wants to take the fight directly to Intel in the top of the mobile market, and it’s doing it with parts and products that Intel is going to struggle to match.
The Ryzen 9 4800H and 4800HS are basically specially binned versions of the Ryzen 7 4800 family. The 4900HS runs at 3GHz base / 4.3GHz boost in a 35W TDP, while the 4900H is clocked at 3.3GHz base / 4.4GHz boost in a 45W TDP. The 4900H and HS will also have an additional GPU core unlocked, with 512 GPU cores rather than just 448 on the Ryzen 7 Mobile or 384 on Ryzen 5 Mobile.
Statistically, then, the difference between the Ryzen 7 4800H and the 4900H is 1.14x base clock speed, roughly 5 percent boost, a 9 percent higher CPU clock, and a 1.14x increase in GPU cores. Exactly what should we expect in terms of real-world improvements? On the CPU side, it will depend on sustained clocks. On GPU, it will depend on memory bandwidth pressure. While the additional cores and clock will boost some workloads, RAM bandwidth has always been the biggest bottleneck of any embedded solution. AMD has made further improvements to Vega to improve its memory efficiency, but nothing can change the fact that the GPU only has two channels of DDR4 memory to work with.
In short, the gains on the Ryzen 9 4900H over the Ryzen 7 4800H, or the same comparison done with HS CPUs, are modest. Bandwidth limits and the clock speed realities will limit the impact and the TDP difference between the 4900H (45W) and the 105W desktop-class 3800X (105W) means that the latter is going to outrun the former in any sustained workload.
AMD isn’t giving us details on the 4900H/HS’s performance yet, but the figures it has released for the 4800 family look pretty good.
Obviously we can’t verify these numbers yet, but AMD is claiming that the Ryzen 7 4800H can challenge the Core i9-9980H, Intel’s second-fastest laptop CPU. That would leave just the Core i9-9980HK, with its top-clock of 5GHz, for the Ryzen 9 4900H to handle.
The HS CPUs aren’t just better-binned versions of H-class CPUs — they’ll only be sold into SKUs that meet certain other requirements for performance and thickness. Our guess is that AMD wants to establish a bit of a premium brand for itself, the way Intel has with its Core i9 CPUs or like Nvidia’s Max-Q program. And while yes, AMD has to demonstrate that it can hit these sorts of performance figures in shipping laptops, Ryzen has been a powerhouse on 7nm. The performance from these CPUs has been very good in every segment. Hopefully, we’ll have hardware before too long and will be able to tell you more about how these solutions stack up.