Years ago, hardly would you find a laptop powered by an AMD chip around, but today AMD is on a whole new level and you’ll find AMD chips in a few of the best notebooks around. AMD has revealed that this year its chips will feature in 200 different laptop models — and with the just-revealed “Mendocino,” announced at Computex 2022, AMD is set to “redefine the everyday laptop” while offering a budget machine with decent battery life.
For now, it’s still unclear if AMD can deliver on that notion or not, but fingers are crossed as we await the rollout of its promises. A good start will be a new series of Ryzen laptop chips that combine four last-gen Zen 2 CPU cores with the latest RDNA 2 graphics on TSMC’s 6nm process set to deliver over 10 hours of battery life on a single charge — at a price of between $399 and $699. That includes both Windows machines and Chromebooks.
In the year 2020, AMD surprised tech enthusiasts with its gaming laptop coming top of the year for the first time ever. Until the release of the Asus Zephyrus G14, AMD CPU and AMD GPU had been running in circles without a laptop topping the competition. Ever since the year, 2020 AMD laptops exceeded in value in price. Several months afterward, AMD is set with eyes systems higher than mid-range gaming machines. By the year 2023 AMD is looking to deliver extreme gaming laptops with new CPUs.
According to AMD’s technical marketing director Robert Hallock, “Most people are used to four, five, six hours on a notebook in the $399 to $699 space, at a minimum, we want 10 hours out of these notebooks.” Now maybe that sounded like an outrageous battery life estimate but given we have a reference from a representative of the manufacturers, time will tell if that claim is true or not. But on second thought that claim delivers goosebumps all over — a decade ago at the very same Computex tradeshow, AMD was similarly trying to pitch a quad-core chip with better battery life and better graphics as the way to stop being seen as the cheapo alternative to Intel. Did it succeed?
But again, back then laptop manufacturers didn’t quite take the company seriously. Now, it’s clear the company chases clout as those manufacturers introduce laptop after AMD powered laptop. That includes one AMD says has the longest battery life ever measured on a recent benchmark (the HP Elitebook 865 G9, of which one particular configuration managed 26.1 hours of battery life on MobileMark 2018), and an array of new gaming machines with both AMD CPUs and AMD graphics, which it’s branded “AMD Advantage.”
One of those that catches the eye is the Corsair Voyager — an AMD exclusive. This year, Corsair is pulling a Razer by launching its first-ever gaming laptop. AMD gaming boss Frank Azor claims it’s the “first laptop ever designed to be a truly mobile streaming solution.” Thanks in part to a secondary touchscreen that acts like an Elgato Stream Deck you can easily take on the go. (Corsair bought both Elgato and Origin PC a few years back.) The main display is a 16-inch, 240Hz panel with FreeSync Premium.
According to The Verge, there is also a new 16-inch Lenovo Legion Slim 7 with a 99.99Wh battery at 17mm thick, a non-slim version that has force sensors built into its WASD keys, and a new version of the HP Omen 16 that, while mostly identical physically, is the first laptop to ship with a feature called AMD SmartShift Eco that can automatically shift to integrated graphics for longer battery life in a game — 60 percent longer in League of Legends, they claim.
The fine print suggests AMD cheated a tad there, though, dropping the graphics down to medium and setting the laptop to “Best Battery” mode (compared to a high spec and “Best Performance”) to get that result. Similarly, AMD touts earlier in the presentation that the 2.2-pound ultralight Asus ZenBook S13 “can play triple-A games at 60fps average at 1080p” using Godfall as one example, but the fine print shows that AMD ran Godfall at low settings and with FidelityFX Super Resolution turned on — so it wasn’t really rendering a native 1080p. (FSR definitely has its uses, though.)
If the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 Pro X can deliver the numbers seen below, even at its ultra-thinness and low spec, that appears to be a pretty decent result. Inside is an AMD Ryzen 6800HS and Radeon 680M graphics, chips similar to what Steam Deck will bring to their handheld gaming PCs scheduled for later in the year 2022. Hopefully, a number of these claims will be put to test in no time.