AMD reveals Ryzen 5000 series mobile processors at CES 2021

The processors, which include a new overclockable HX line, will start showing up in laptops in February.

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AMD announced its Ryzen 5000 series mobile processors on Tuesday, with Chief Executive Lisa Su taking to the virtual stage for her CES 2021 keynote. The new line includes a 35 watt version intended for a new generation of thin-and-light gaming laptops, directly competing with the 11th-gen Tiger Lake H35 CPUs announced by Intel the previous day. It also includes low-power U series processors which are used in mainstream lightweight laptop designs. 

The reveal follows the graphics card maker's reveal of the desktop equivalent in November, which debuted the Zen 3 processing cores, the latest version of the 7nm architecture on which the bulk of the Ryzen 5000 series is based. For the H series, which for both Intel and AMD denotes the higher-powered processors, AMD adds a new HX tier; those CPUs can be overclocked, accessing power beyond their base 45w rating for better performance. 

AMD Ryzen 5000 series mobile processors

Cores/threadsTDPBase clockSingle-core boost clock
Ryzen 9 5980HX 8/1645+w3.34.8
Ryzen 9 5980HS 8/1635w3.04.8
Ryzen 9 5900HX 8/1645+w3.34.6
Ryzen 9 5900HS 8/1635w3.04.6
Ryzen 7 5800H 8/1645w3.24.4
Ryzen 7 5800HS 8/1635w2.84.4
Ryzen 5 5600H 6/1245w3.34.2
Ryzen 5 5600HS 6/1235w3.04.2
Ryzen 7 5800U 8/1615w1.94.4
Ryzen 7 5700U 8/1615w1.84.3
Ryzen 5 5600U 6/1215w2.34.2
Ryzen 5 5500U 6/1215w2.14.0
Ryzen 3 5300U 4/815w2.63.8

A host of laptop manufacturers launched new and refreshed models incorporating the 5000-series CPUs. Most notable is Asus, which incorporates the highest-end Ryzen 9 parts in multiple systems, including the novel ROG Flow X13 with the 5980HS and the ROG Zephyrus Duo SE and ROG Strix Scar, both of which top out with the 5900HX. The Acer Nitro 5 will come in a model with the 5900HX.

Watch this: New Asus ROG laptops revealed at CES 2021

Not all the 5000 series CPUs take advantage of Zen 3, though. Of the U series processors announced at CES, only the Ryzen 7 5800U and Ryzen 5 5600U do; the others are based on Zen 2, the same as the last generation of Ryzen 4000 mobile CPUs launched a year ago. There are several differences between Zen 2 and Zen 3, but perhaps most important in this context is Zen 3 delivers better performance per watt. In other words, better battery life.

As for actual performance in a head-to-head with Intel's equivalents, that will have to wait until we start getting models in to test. (Both AMD and Intel cite test results compared to each other, but those aren't very meaningful.)

Su also offered a demonstration of AMD's upcoming third-generation Epyc server chip, code-named Milan, running weather forecasting software. In the test, a server with dual processors, each with 32 cores, outpaced a dual-processor Intel server using Xeon Gold 6258R chips with a 68% performance advantage.

That's the kind of performance that appeals to customers like Lucasfilm, which built a special effects studio in Sydney entirely with AMD-based systems. "We just need as much firepower as possible," said François Chardavoine, Lucasfilm's vice president of technology, during the keynote.

Su also highlighted AMD's efforts to help COVID-19 research, having donated computing power to universities across the world, an effort that's used AMD's Epyc processors.