Update May 31, 2017: It's not all Ryzen and Threadripper at AMD's Computex press conference, AMD and Asus also showed off the first Ryzen Mobile gaming notebook, with the ROG GL702ZC.
Just how good is Ryzen? Well, right now it’s taking prime position in our pick of the best gaming CPUs...
The Republic of Gamers laptop was teased a little while before Computex and today we got to see it in the flesh for the first time. It looks every inch the ROG gaming machine, with the familiar logo and red LED highlights.
In terms of specs it's sporting the Ryzen 7 range of CPUs with a Radeon RX580 GPU at its heart to take care of the graphical grunt. The ROG GL702ZC also comes with a FreeSync capable panel.
And, along with all of AMD's Ryzen CPUs, it gets the VR stamp of approval. The CPUs are all getting Oculus Approved support and the ROG laptop itself gets the full Premium VR Ready tag. Perfect for when Intel and HTC get their wireless Vive out in the wild...
Update May 19, 2017: Among a whole heap of Vega and Ryzen threadripper announcements at their recent financial analysts day AMD also revealed they’d be releasing the mobile version of Ryzen this summer. Now Asus have teased a Ryzen-powered ROG laptop set to make an appearance at Computex in a couple of weeks.
With the title “Something has awakened” Asus’ little YouTube teaser shows nothing more concrete than a silhouetted Republic of Gamers against the AMD Ryzen logo a #Computex2017 hashtag in the video description. But with Asus lining up to produce serious gaming laptops based on AMD’s inaugural Ryzen and Vega-powered APU that’s a great sign for the red team.
If other laptop manufacturers see the potential in the Raven Ridge platform as a genuine gaming component too there could be a whole swathe of Ryzen notebooks flooding the show floor at Computex. We’ll be your boots on the ground, full of stinking tofu (it’s an acquired taste) and jetlag, to bring you all the news.
But while the Asus tease hasn’t really given anything away AMD have released a little more detail about what we can expect from the first union of the Zen CPU architecture and the Vega GPU tech. The consumer variants will launch in the second half of this year, with AMD absolutely having to hit the massive back-to-school laptop market around September.
The Ryzen mobile Raven Ridge APU is promising on-die Vega graphics and lengthy battery life. That means we’re not talking about discrete mobile Vega cards yet, just a single processor with both Zen CPU and Vega GPU vying for space on a single die.
AMD are promising Raven Ridge will offer 50% greater CPU performance and 40% higher GPU performance all with 50% less power compared with their most recent Bristol Ridge APUs. Those numbers would seem to confirm the earlier speculation that we’re talking about a quad-core Ryzen part as a 50% performance improvement over a 7th Gen APU puts it in the same ballpark as a modern mobile Intel Core i5 chip.
The performance boost on the graphics side is possibly the most exciting part as it means we could start to see laptops with an ultrabook aesthetic capable of delivering genuine 1080p gaming performance.
But for the ROG likes of Asus’ tease though - gaming laptops desperate for a little more graphical grunt - they’re likely to be pairing the Raven Ridge APU with a dedicated graphics card like the RX 470 Alienware used in their 15- and 17-inch gaming machines.
Original story May 11, 2017: An engineering sample of AMD’s upcoming APUs has been spotted in a benchmark database and promptly hidden from public view. These Raven Ridge chips should feature the union of AMD’s Zen CPU architecture and Vega GPU tech. Salivating yet?
The SiSoft Sandra benchmark database is becoming a real spawning ground of new tech rumours recently; yesterday we reported on the new Core i7 7740K which popped up in there and now we’ve potentially got some more detail on AMD’s unreleased Raven Ridge chips.
AMD have this year delivered the fruits of their Ryzen CPU labours and are also set to unleash their high-end Vega GPUs on the world in a matter of weeks. The next step is to bring those together in some kind of beautiful silicon marriage and that’s precisely what we’re hoping to get out of these Raven Ridge APUs.
The online database entry has since been made private but Fudzilla have still got screencaps of the uncensored results page. The benchmarks themselves don’t really mean a lot right now, but the specs alone are quite interesting.
One thing to note though is this is likely to be a sample designed for laptops and small form factor designs, rather than a desktop APU you’ll be able to buy and drop into an AM4 motherboard. AMD’s processor roadmap has the mobile Raven Ridge chips appearing before the end of the year, with the desktop variants following in 2018.
The interesting specs coming out of this leak surrounds the chip featuring four Ryzen cores, using simultaneous multi-threading (SMT) to split that out into eight threads, and 11 compute units with an expected total of 704 Vega-based stream processors. Even if they were simply Polaris-based GPU shaders that would still place it just below the specs for the current Radeon RX 560 and above the RX 550 discrete graphics cards.
The GPU portion of the chip was reportedly only running at 800MHz - unsurprising for a mobile, power-conscious part - which does put it slower than those two 500-series graphics cards, but still offers a potentially huge amount of performance for an integrated graphics chip.
The CPU side of things is almost the complete opposite. The Zen cores were reportedly running at a base 3GHz clockspeed with a 3.3GHz boost clock. And that seems to be mighty high for a mobile chip - they're normally clocked down to conserve power when running on battery.
As ever though the challenge for AMD is going to be encouraging enough laptop manufacturers to take a punt on their new APU line. But if they can show enough CPU and GPU performance to make lower-end discrete graphics cards unnecessary then they could really be onto a winner.