AMD Ryzen 9 4900H coming for gaming, creator laptops this spring

AMD takes on Intel's Core i9-9980H processor for high-end laptop power in thin designs.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography, PCs and laptops, gaming and gaming accessories
Lori Grunin
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 will be the first laptop to use the Ryzen 9 4900HS CPU.

Sarah Tew/CNET

While we're still waiting for the 10th-generation versions of Intel's Core i9 mobile processors , AMD is officially introducing its flagship Ryzen 9 4900H-series processor, an eight-core competitor for the i9-9880H using AMD's Zen 2 process architecture. It's a 35-45-watt CPU intended for thin-ish gaming and creative laptop designs (a la the Razer Blade 15) with a discrete, low-power GPU like AMD's Radeon RX 5600M or the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060. It also takes advantage of AMD's more efficient power and thermal management technologies to eke out better performance without burning your lap.

The 4900H and 4900HS -- the 4900HS was announced at CES 2020 in conjunction with its debut laptop, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 -- are almost the same processor, differing by the trade-offs required to decrease the power requirement for the 4900HS to 35 watts. In other words, the 4900HS drops to 3.0GHz base/4.3GHz boost from the 4900H's 3.3GHz base/4.4GHz boost. Laptops with the new processors are slated to start shipping this spring.

One of the potentially noticeable advantages of the new processors is a system's ability to optimize speed over longer periods by incorporating surface temperature data -- heat is one of the ways laptop users experience fast performance. Most manufacturers keep laptops cool by simply throttling back the speed of the processor and graphics processor or spiking a single core while keeping the rest in a low-power state; in theory, this will allow AMD-equipped laptops to run cooler with less of a performance hit.

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