Ryzen 5000 mobile review: AMD wins big in laptops

AMD's Zen 3-based Ryzen 5000 chips put the screws to Core i7 laptops.

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Core count matters, too. Even tthough the Acer Predator Triton 500 packs a GeForce RTX 2080 Super, its 6-core Core i7-10750H is likely putting it behind the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 with its 8-core Ryzen 9 4900HS and GeForce RTX 2060.

Of interest here is the Asus Flow X13 and its 8-core Ryzen 9 5980HS. Set to Turbo, with its modest onboard GeForce GTX 1650, it just about matches the Acer Predator Triton 500.

Once we finally get our hands on the Asus XG Mobile with its GeForce RTX 3080, we’ll rerun this test to see to see where the Flow X13lands with a faster GPU.

ryzen  9 5980hs pugetbench premiere IDG

Longer bars indicate better performance

Photoshop Performance

Up next is the application so ingrained in society that people say “Photoshop it” to mean they edit a photo. We again use Puget Systems PugetBench, which actually recommends 32GB of RAM for reliable scores. Despite this recommendation, we’ve found it to be fairly reliable on 16GB of RAM.

Unlike Premiere, Photoshop doesn’t typically leverage the GPU as heavily, but it's still difficult to separate the two in results. When not leaning on the GPU, it’s mostly lightly threaded work, and CPUs with high efficiency and high clock speeds matter. We’ve also found indications of customization that favor’s Intel’s newest chips.

The results here are nothing but good for AMD and Ryzen 5000. Again, it’s difficult to separate GPU from CPU, but we can say that the three- pound ROG Flow X13 and Ryzen 9 with GeForce GTX 1650 can outperform much faster GPUs and equal core-count CPUs from Intel.

ryzen  9 5980hs pugetbench photoshop IDG

Longer bars indicate better performance

Lightroom Classic Performance

Our last PugetBench/Adobe test uses Lightroom to churn through hundreds of RAW files. Of the three apps, it seems less leveraged on the GPU, so we get a better feel for how the laptops and chips stack up. We’d basically call this a tie which, from AMD’s ponit of view, is a good thing. Both of the Ryzen 4000 laptops shoe a small  disadvantage against both Tiger Lake and Comet Lake. Ryzen 5000 and Zen 3 close the gap enough to make the difference negligible.

ryzen  9 5980hs pugetbench lightroom classic IDG

Longer bars indicate better performance

Topaz Gigapixel AI

Our final test ventures into the brave new world of AI. Intel’s 11th-gen CPUs all feature some form of AI acceleration under the umbrella of DL Boost. It may seem esoteric, but it can be very impressive. Topaz Lab’s Gigapixel AI takes advantage of it to enlarge photos in a manner far better than traditional upscaling methods. For our test, we use Gigapixel AI 5.3.1 to perform a 6X enlargement on an 8MP photo of an F-22 Raptor taken with a Canon 1D MK IIn. It’s an entirely realistic use case for someone looking to get more life out of an 10-year-old photo they love. Gigapixel AI uses Intel’s OpenVINO framework, which runs on all CPUs--but if you have a CPU that accelerates it, you save a bundle of time. For laptops with discrete GPUs, Gigapixel allows you to run on the graphics subsystem using OpenGL.

The fastest laptop here is the MSI Prestige 14 Evo with Core i7-1185G7 and Iris Xe graphics. That's despite having four cores, no discrete graphics, and a very lean power and thermal budget. The only laptops that stand a chance against it are those with fast discrete graphics. Here's one place where, at least right now, Intel has a very big advantage.

ryzen  9 5980hs topaz gigapixel ai raptor IDG

A shorter bar indicates better performance

Ryzen 5000 mobile conclusion

We’ll close out our review by looking at how well the Ryzen 5000 scales from light loads to heavy loads. While it’s based on an older 3D modelling application which may not necessarily represent all workloads, we think it’s a nifty way to visualize just where the strengths of the new chip are.

We take Cinebench R15 and run it from a single thread to the maximum of threads on each CPU. Below we compare the Ryzen 9 4900HS to the Ryzen 9 5980HS.

ryzen 9 5980hs vs ryzen 9 4900hs threadscale IDG

Longer bars indicate better performance

For a different angle (below), we look at the same data as percent difference. On the right side of the chart below, the Ryzen 5000 typically outperforms the Ryzen 4000 by 10 to 12 percent. Ryzen has already demonstrated its lead in multi-core, so the work on the left side of the graph is what matters more. There we see the Ryzen 5000 turning in far greater leads over its predecessor. So yes, mission accomplished. 

ryzen 9 5980hs vs ryzen 7 4900hs percent threadscape IDG

Longer bars indicate better performance

Next we compare the 8-core Ryzen 9 5980HS to the 8-core Core i7-10870H. As you can see below, it’s across-the-board outpacing the Core i7-10870H, with a 20-percent lead in a single thread, and 22 percent with 16 threads.

ryzen 9 5980hs vs core i7 10870h percent threadscape IDG

Longer bars indicate better performance

Remember, the Ryzen 9 5980HS is accomplishing this in a three-pound convertible laptop versus a six-pound gaming laptop.

We’re not entirely sure Ryzen 5000 will scale up as you put it into fatter laptops with better cooling and more power—but we do know you can’t squeeze Intel’s current 14nm 8-core CPUs into laptops this thin, nor this light. For now, Ryzen 5000 is the ruler of all it sees.

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