AMD’s new RDNA 3 GPUs will compete with Nvidia for mid-range gaming laptops

AMD is announcing at CES several RDNA 3-based GPUs for laptops.
Enlarge / AMD is announcing at CES several RDNA 3-based GPUs for laptops.

AMD

AMD announced at CES this week several new laptop GPU models to go along with updates to the company’s desktop and laptop CPU lineups. Although not as wide-ranging as Nvidia’s laptop GPU announcements earlier in the weekall of these graphics chips target low-end-to-mid-range gaming laptops and mobile workstations, which date suggestions is what most people are buying when they shop for those kinds of PCs.

AMD announced seven GPUs, four of which are new RDNA 3-based models in the mid-range 7600 and 7700 series (the other three are spec tweaks for existing low-end RDNA 2 laptop GPUs). The 7600 and 7700 series support the same core features of other RDNA 3 GPUs, including improved ray-tracing performance and hardware-accelerated encoding and decoding of the AV1 video codec. All four GPUs will be available in laptops starting in February.

The full range of new (and new-ish) GPUs.
Enlarge / The full range of new (and new-ish) GPUs.

AMD

There are two new GPUs here, available in four configurations. One GPU has 32 of AMD’s compute units (CUs), 2,048 shaders, and an 18Gbps memory speed. The second GPU drops to 28 CUs, 1,792 shaders, and a 16Gbps memory speed. Both GPUs share an 8GB pool of GDDR6 memory, a 128-bit memory interface, and 32MB of AMD’s Infinity Cache.

The 32 CU chip will be sold as both the RX 7600M XT and the RX 7700S. The 28 CU chip will be sold as the RX 7600M and RX 7600S. The difference between the M and the S series is that the S GPUs have a slightly lower maximum power range than the M chips, meaning that they can fit into smaller laptops with less-capable coolers but also indicating that they may run at lower peak and sustained clock speeds to compensate.

AMD compared the 7600M XT favorably to the desktop version of Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060, showing it beating the 3060 (as well as the old RX 6600M) by a decent margin in a wide range of games. That’s all well and good, although one could argue that comparing a laptop GPU to other laptop GPUs might be more relevant for potential buyers.

As for the S-series, AMD showed the 7700S beating the previous-generation 6700S but offered no direct comparisons to any Nvidia GPUs. AMD also showed results for a mostly different set of games, making comparisons between the 7700S and 7600M XT difficult—the handful of games that were run on both GPUs showed nearly identical results at the same 1080p graphics settings, though.

The dedicated RDNA 3 GPUs will also be joined by an as-yet-unnamed RDNA 3-based integrated GPU in Ryzen 7040 processors. With up to 12 CUs and its reliance on shared system memory, it will fall far short of the 7600S or 7600M, but it should still be a solid step up from older AMD integrated GPUs or Intel’s aging Iris Xe integrated GPU.

AMD has not announced any high-end laptop GPU to compete with the RTX 4080 and 4090-series laptop GPUs that Nvidia announced earlier this week.

Nvidia may also be able to press the power efficiency advantage that the RTX 4000 series has over the RDNA 3-based GPUs in our testing of the desktop versions. Nvidia teased a 40 W RTX 4000 laptop GPU with the same performance as a laptop RTX 3070, while AMD is talking about mid-range GPUs with power figures in the 50 to 120 W range. That said, we’ll need to wait and see how these GPUs compare in actual laptop designs, where performance can differ quite a bit between laptops with the same components based on how the laptops are designed.

Of the three RDNA 2-based GPUs AMD introduced, the RX 6550M and RX 6450M are barely improved versions of the existing RX 6500 and RX 6400, respectively. The CU counts, 4GB memory size, 64-bit memory interface, and all the other most important hardware specs are the same. Both serve as low-end, better-than-integrated GPUs for budget gaming laptops.

The third RDNA 2 GPU is the RX 6550S, which like the other S-series GPUs is just a version of the RX 6550M with a lower minimum power limit (35 W, down from 50 W) that will help it fit into smaller designs.

Listing image by AMD

Leave a Comment