AMD CES 2022 Recap: RDNA2 APUs, RX 6500 XT, Goodbye AM4

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AMD’s keynote at CES 2022 is finally revealed, and nope, there were no very big game-changing announcements. Still, some of these low-power and efficiency-focused lineups may be quite interesting for Team Red’s rollout schedule for the next few months.

Part 1: Ryzen 6000 series (Zen 3+), featuring RDNA2-based integrated graphics

The first, and perhaps the most interesting announcement of the entire presentation, was the official product line reveal of the long-awaited Zen 3+ Ryzen 6000 mobile series APUs. These next-generation mobile AMD processors are advertised to provide the usual IPC improvements, with relative capabilities bringing them even closer to their desktop counterparts.

Quite unlike other big announcements by AMD, a big part of the unveiling was NOT dedicated to performance difference, but rather to efficiency. Fair enough, since the presentation was all about mobile processors, hence the priority to showcase its advantages in real-world laptop scenarios. Aside from practically eliminating the risk of thermal throttling, one rather big detail that was mentioned was battery performance.

Basically, the presentation claimed that in a video playback loop test, the Ryzen 6000 APU-infused laptop was able to last for about 24-hours, or three hours longer than the last time they tried to present similar information (Ryzen 5000 mobile). We have no battery spec information though, so we’ll just have to leave it up to near-future reviewers if that claim really holds up true or not.

Cores/Threads Max Boost L2+L3 Cache iGPU
Ryzen 9 6980HX 8C/16T 5.0 Ghz 20 MB RDNA2 (12 CU)
Ryzen 9 6980HS 8C/16T 5.0 Ghz 20 MB RDNA2 (12 CU)
Ryzen 9 6900HX 8C/16T 4.9 Ghz 20 MB RDNA2 (12 CU)
Ryzen 9 6900HS 8C/16T 4.9 Ghz 20 MB RDNA2 (12 CU)
Ryzen 7 6800H 8C/16T 4.7 Ghz 20 MB RDNA2 (12 CU)
Ryzen 7 6800HS 8C/16T 4.7 Ghz 20 MB RDNA2 (12 CU)
Ryzen 5 6600H 6C/12T 4.5 Ghz 19 MB RDNA2 (6 CU)
Ryzen 5 6600HS 6C/12T 4.5 Ghz 19 MB RDNA2 (6 CU)

Of course, as teased already by the sub-header and title of this article, Ryzen 6000 APUs will be the first of AMDs Zen 3+ CPUs to ditch the aging Vega architecture and switch to the most recent RDNA2 architecture. Yes, the very iGPU that will be featured in the Steam Deck.

Architecturally alone, it is already expected that these APUs will have a very huge boost in performance when it comes to graphical applications, especially in gaming. AMD boasts about 200% performance improvement of the previous mobile APUs (though to be fair, some of the supposedly positive benchmarks featured the use of FSR). If most Vega-based APUs had the power of a GTX 750 Ti, you can expect a typical RDNA2-based Ryzen 6000 APU to exceed the GTX 1050 Ti. This will be a revolution in discrete GPU-less gaming, especially in the current GPU crisis.

Part 2: The Radeon RX 6500 XT, and a bunch of other mobile GPUs

The middle segment of the presentation was dedicated to the introduction of the Radeon RX 6500 XT, the long-rumored entry-level discrete graphics card for AMDs RDNA2 architecture.

The shown benchmarks for the GPU had a rather odd focus on comparisons with the RX 570 and GTX 1650 (supposedly the “mainstream” low-end at the moment, according to the presentation). But, this also kind of confirms the fears that were already lingering within the PC enthusiast community since the leaks of its specs went out: that this will be yet another RX 480 reboot… for the fourth freaking time.

Well, not exactly. We can at least somehow expect that this will perform a bit better than the RX 5500 XT (RX 480 reboot ver. 3.0), even with the demo graphs shown. So in a sense, this is more actually in line with a GTX 1660. But, the tier doesn’t really move higher does it? This is quite unlike the RX 6600 XT, which at least had roughly the performance of its next higher tier (RX 5700 XT).

Needless to say, the worst part would be its price. Selling a 200 USD MSRP RX 480/580-ish card with a few fancier technologies a whole 6 years after such a card started gaining relevance wouldn’t really be considered a multi-generational improvement, wouldn’t it? And it’s not like it’s going to retail at that price anyway (expect like, at least 400 USD after the first wave gets wiped out).

Oh and, there will also be upcoming new RDNA2 discrete graphics cards for laptops (RX 6800S, RX 6700S, RX 6600S, RX 6850M XT, RX 6660M/XT, RX 6500M, RX 6300M), so there’s another thing to look forward to, we guess.

Part 3: 5800X 3D V-Cache Edition, Zen 4 (Ryzen 7000), New AM5 socket

Moving ahead from the old Ryzen 9 demo of AMD’s 3D V-Cache technology, the presentation also shows the true, retail version of the technology, in the form of the Ryzen 7 5800X3D. Which, as you might expect, is an amped version of the original Ryzen 7 5800X infused with the aforementioned cache-stacking tech. Specifically, an additional 64MB of 3D V-Cache is added on top of the already usable 32MB standard cache for the first version of the processor.

Technical explanations aside, the presentation claims that this will provide marked improvements over the original Ryzen 7 5800X. It is supposedly able to beat the Ryzen 9 5900X at an average of about 15% in gaming benchmarks, so it is poised to most likely be the ultimate AM4 socket chip before the inevitable switch to the newer platform. What about productivity benchmarks? None announced whatsoever. So we still have no idea how it would stack up to the Intel Alder Lake competitor the Core i7-12700K at the moment.

Oh and, did we mention AM4? Yup, the Ryzen 5 5800X3D is still technically Zen 3, and so it would snugly fit and work with existing supported motherboards, most notably the B550 and X570, of course.

Lastly, the presentation ended with a few more tantalizing details of the brand spanking new AM5 platform and Zen 4 (Ryzen 7000) series CPUs. Yes, direct upgradeability, a feature that was always a strong point for Ryzen CPUs since their inception in 2017, is going to be reset again in the near future.

Whereas previously its existence and cooler support were the only details teased, there are now four more important details that were further announced, which were:

  • AM5 will now use LGA-type sockets. So, bye-bye bent pins and cooler-stuck AMD CPU memes.
  • The socket is officially called the LGA 1718 (since it has, you know, 1718 pins)
  • The CPUs would have a drastically different design with weird indents on at least six sides (thermal paste nightmare?)
  • Much like Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake, it will also support PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 memory.

As for the Ryzen 7000 series CPUs themselves, they will be manufactured using the also brand new 5nm process node. Expect even more power efficiency improvements? Anyway, there really was no spec details revealed aside from these information bits, so the bigger news is still on the horizon.

If you need even more details, you can watch the entire presentation:

AMD 2022 Product Premiere
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