AMD does a great job of differentiating each CPU product on the desktop.For example, in the Ryzen 5000 lineup, the Ryzen 9 5950X is at the very top, then the 5900X, then downstream.But when we're talking about laptops, things get confusing.
Like Intel, AMD has several families of laptop chips, including the U, H, and HS series.But what are the main differences between AMD's notebook chips and what should you know?
Understanding AMD's Laptop Chips
On the desktop side, AMD chips have jumped at 2000 intervals instead of 1000 over the past few generations.That means, from Ryzen 3000, we went straight to Ryzen 5000, and now, we're moving up to Ryzen 7000.Which makes you wonder, where did the Ryzen 4000 and 6000 go?
If you guessed a laptop, you'd be right. Ryzen 4000 is a version of Zen 2 for laptops and pre-built PCs, while Ryzen 6000 is only for laptops, based on AMD's Zen 3+ architecture, skipping desktops entirely - Ryzen 5000 uses Zen 3, while Ryzen 7000 will use Zen 4 .
If you've looked at AMD-powered laptops, you've probably also noticed Ryzen 3000 and 5000 laptops with confusion.That's right, Ryzen 3000 laptop chips are based on AMD's old Zen architecture, while Ryzen 5000 is a mix and match of Zen 2 and Zen 3 chips.Does this mean we'll see Ryzen 7000 laptops in the future?You can probably count on it because Ryzen 6000 is Zen 3+ not Zen 4, and AMD may want to bring Zen 4 to laptops sooner rather than later.
AMD Ryzen U: still good base layer
Now that we've unraveled some of the mess behind AMD's notebook chips (or at least tried it), let's take a look at AMD's U chips.In fact, U-chip technically means "ultra low power".This means you can expect the U chip to be more efficient and consume less power than others.
However, it looks like AMD has a slightly different definition of "low power" compared to Intel's laptop chips.While Intel's lineup of U-shaped low-power chips goes up to 15W, the Ryzen 5 6600U and Ryzen 7 6800U have configurable TDPs ranging from 15W to 28W.Configurable TDP means laptop makers can set how much power the chip gets and adjust its performance and thermal output accordingly.
Because of this, Ryzen chips are more versatile than Intel's Core chips, as Ryzen chips can be used in thinner and thicker laptops and boost their performance accordingly.Despite its low TDP, the Ryzen chip is fast -- the Ryzen 7 6800U has a base clock of 2.7GHz, but it can boost all the way up to 4.7GHz. The Ryzen 5 6600U has a slightly higher base clock of 2.9GHz, but it drops to a more modest but still acceptable 4.5GHz.
AMD Ryzen H: The leader in the product line
Isn't heat an issue?Do you want to buy a chunky laptop that can compress through gaming?Well, if it's AMD, it might be powered by an H chip. The H chip is AMD's top of the line when it comes to laptops.
This suffix, like U, is also frequently used by Intel.In this case, though, for AMD and Intel, H means the same thing - laptop CPUs can be powered all the way up to 45W.
The increased thermal headroom allows for better performance, clock speeds, and other improvements, as long as the notebook can keep up in terms of cooling.Because of this, you'll typically see them on gaming laptops.Increasing the TDP does mean your laptop's battery will last for a shorter period of time, so that's something you need to consider when shopping.Having said that, gaming laptops usually don't have great battery life already, mainly because of the presence of a gaming GPU, so this may not be a huge loss.
AMD Ryzen HS: Midrange
There are also several variants of the H lineup that you need to know about before buying.And the first and most important one is the Ryzen HS lineup.
The Ryzen HS chip has many of the same things and features as the H chip, but reduces the thermal capacity to 35W.Other than heat output and possibly improved efficiency, there's really no discernible difference from the standard H chip.
You'll typically see these chips in gaming PCs, which strive for thinner, less bulky form factors -- maybe not particularly thin and light, but thinner than your average gaming laptop.
AMD Ryzen HX: The Absolute Best Pick
Finally, we have AMD's lineup of high-end laptop chips, the HX series.At first glance, it looks like a more advanced variant of the H chip.And it is...but it isn't either.
The HX suffix is the crown reserved for AMD's top-of-the-line flagship chip, the Ryzen 9.But there is no non-HX variant of Ryzen 9.As far as Ryzen 6000 chips are concerned, we have the Ryzen 9 6900HS, but no 6900H, jumping straight to the 6900HX.
There's no difference in TDP as it's also set to 45W, which leaves us with just one difference between the H and HX-overclocks. The 6900HX comes with an unlocked multiplier that allows overclocking, while the lower-end H chips don't.
Which AMD Laptop Should You Buy?
As we mentioned earlier, the U chip will serve most PC users well.While they're AMD's most efficient solution, they're also powerful, and they'll be solid no matter what PC you buy.
If you're going for a gaming laptop, you're probably going to want to get an H or HS chip, or if you're going to get an all-Ryzen 9, then probably the HX, if you can get the money.You'll rarely find an H chip outside of a gaming system, but if you do, you're probably better off going with the U.It might have better battery life and no huge difference in actual performance.
AMD U chips are the best for most people
Although AMD has multiple laptop lineups, the U is still the best in terms of price/performance.You'll find it on cheaper computers, and it offers great performance for everyone.
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