AMD Brings Chiplets, Zen 4, RDNA 3 and XDNA AI to Laptops: 5nm Dragon Range and 4nm Phoenix Arrive

(Image credit: AMD)

AMD revealed a cadre of laptop chips today in Vegas at CES 2023, including its first chiplet-based processors for laptops, the 5nm Dragon Range chips that come with the Zen 4 architecture. AMD also introduced its new 4nm Phoenix lineup that comes with the Zen 4 architecture and RDNA 3 graphics engine paired with AMD’s first Ryzen AI engine built on the new XDNA architecture. This new advance uses the tech from AMD’s Xilinx acquisition one short year after the purchase to infuse a dedicated AI engine inside AMD’s latest laptop chips.

AMD also introduced several other new designs, with the 6nm Mendocino, 7nm Barcelo-R, and 6nm Rembrandt-R series all coming to market early this year. The overhaul marks the broadest laptop portfolio AMD has ever had as it continues to chew away market share from Intel, so there’s a lot to cover. Let’s dive in.

AMD Ryzen 7045 Series: Dragon Range

The 5nm Dragon Range HX-Series marks the debut of AMD’s chiplet architecture on a laptop platform, crafting a new line of chips for ‘extreme gaming’ and creators. This new lineup of chips leverages AMD’s existing chiplets from its Ryzen 7000 CPUs but infuses them into a smaller BGA package specifically for laptops. This creates a 55W+ processor that wields the Zen 4 CPU core architecture and RDNA 2 integrated graphics, with the latter being used for light display tasks only -- these chips will come in the latest high-performance laptops for gaming, so they’ll always come in systems that have a discrete GPU.

The halo Ryzen 9 7945HX model tops out at 16 cores and 32 threads, just like the desktop PC models, giving AMD the highest ‘performance core’ count on the market. (Intel leads with 24 total cores with its recently launched laptop chips, but eight of those are cut-down efficiency cores.) This chip boosts up to 5.4 GHz, comes armed with an incredible 80MB of total cache, and has an official TDP rating of 55-75W+.

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Ryzen 7045 Processors
ModelCores/ThreadsBoost/Base Frequency (GHz)Cache (MB) TDP (W)
AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX 16/32 Up to 5.4 / 2.58055-75W+
AMD Ryzen 9 7845HX 12/24 Up to 5.2 / 3.07645-75W+
AMD Ryzen 7 7745HX 8/16 Up to 5.1 / 3.64045-75W+
AMD Ryzen 5 7645HX 6/12 Up to 5.0 / 4.03845-75W+

AMD tells us that these processors can be fed up to 100W in select laptop designs -- it’s up to the OEM to dictate the peak power delivery -- but still not have egregiously bad sub-4-hour battery life. Regardless, we expect you won’t want to stray too far from a wall plug with these laptops. AMD also has 12-, 8- and 6-core Dragon Range models that largely mirror what we see in the Ryzen desktop PC lineup, much like Intel does with its own HX series that is also derived directly from its desktop Core processors.

AMD provided benchmarks, but as with all vendor-provided test data, approach it with caution. The company claims the 7945HX is from 29% to 62% faster in CPU bound games than the Ryzen 9 6900HX. AMD also claims the 7945HX is 18% faster in single-threaded work and 78% faster in multi-threaded than its previous-gen halo chip, the Ryzen 9 6900HX.

AMD says these chips will not require an external discrete chipset due to the capabilities built right into the I/O die inside of the processor, though OEMs will need to use an external chip for USB.

Dragon Range is specifically for the highest-end extreme machines, so AMD says there won’t be a proliferation of designs on the market. The leading-edge designs arrive in February 2023. Meanwhile, the Phoenix chips will be the real workhorse of the new lineup.

AMD Ryzen 7040 Series: Phoenix

The Ryzen 7040 HS-Series ‘Phoenix’ chips slot in as the mainstay for ultrathin notebooks. These 35-45W chips come with the Zen 4 CPU architecture on the 4nm process paired with AMD’s RDNA 3 graphics engine, both debuting in the company’s mainstream laptop lineup for the first time. The flagship model wields eight cores and 16 threads that operate at up to 5.2 GHz. The chips also have 40MB of total cache. AMD also has a model with 6 cores and 12 threads.

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Ryzen 7040 HS-series Processors
ModelCores/ThreadsBoost/Base Frequency (GHz)Cache (MB) TDP (W)
AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS 8/16 Up to 5.2 / 4.040 35 - 45
AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS 8/16 Up to 5.1 / 3.84035 - 45
AMD Ryzen 5 7640HS 6/12 Up to 5.0 / 4.33835 - 45

The Zen 4 cores and RDNA 3 graphics in the Phoenix chips are plenty impressive, but the new XDNA architecture steals the spotlight. AMD has rapidly integrated the FPGA technology it acquired with Xilinx last year to integrate a new FPGA-based AI engine directly into the die of the new 7040 series processors. This engine can handle up to 4 concurrent AI streams, though it can be rapidly reconfigured to handle varying amounts of streams. AMD claims the fully programmable “Ryzen AI Engine,” which is based on the XDNA architecture, is faster than even Apple’s neural engine in its M2 processors.

AMD is delivering this hardware early - there aren’t a lot of workloads that benefit yet – but is working on an API to further software development work. Additionally, Microsoft is in deep collaboration with AMD to fully exploit the new engine in Windows, with several new features slated to be available soon, like camera tracking and eye focus features.  AMD tells us that it is fully committed to an AI roadmap with its XDNA architecture – there will be an XDNA 2 and XDNA 3, for instance. AMD expects other use-cases to emerge quickly, including in gaming, security, predictive UIs, and collaboration work.

The Phoenix processors arrive in March 2023.

AMD Ryzen 7035 and 7030 Series: Rembrandt-R and Barcelo-R

The 6nm Rembrandt-R and 7nm Barcelo-R chips are a refresh generation that come with the Zen 3+ and Zen 3 architecture, respectively. Rembrandt wields the RDNA 2 graphics engine, while Barcelo comes with Vega.

AMD also has the Mendocino chips that come with the Zen 2 architecture paired with the RDNA 2 graphics engine, all fabbed on the modern 6nm process.

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Ryzen 7035 Series Processors
ModelCores/ThreadsBoost/Base Frequency (GHz)Cache (MB) TDP (W)
AMD Ryzen 7 7735HS 8/16 Up to 4.75 / 3.22035
AMD Ryzen 5 7535HS 6/12 Up to 4.55 / 3.31935
AMD Ryzen 7 7735U 8/16 Up to 4.75 / 2.72015-28
AMD Ryzen 5 7535U 6/12 Up to 4.55 / 2.9 1915-28
AMD Ryzen 3 7335U 4C/8 Up to 4.3 / 3.0 1015-28
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Ryzen 7030 Series Processors
ModelCores/ThreadsBoost/Base Frequency (GHz)Cache (MB) TDP (W)
AMD Ryzen 7 7730U 8/16 Up to 4.5 / 2.02015
AMD Ryzen 5 7530U 6/12 Up to 4.5 / 2.0 1915
AMD Ryzen 3 7330U 6/12 Up to 4.3 / 2.31015
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Ryzen Pro 7030 Series Processors
ModelCores/ThreadsBoost/Base Frequency (GHz)Cache (MB) TDP (W)
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 7730U 8/16 Up to 4.5 / 2.02015
AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 7530U 8/16 Up to 4.5 / 2.0 1915
AMD Ryzen 3 PRO 7330U 8/16 Up to 4.3 / 2.31015
Paul Alcorn
Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech

Paul Alcorn is the Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech for Tom's Hardware US. He also writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage, and enterprise hardware.

  • plateLunch
    So they finally put an FPGA on a Ryzen die. Was wondering when they would get around it. This configuration has a lot of potential. Should be interesting to see what comes of it.
  • -Fran-
    They made pretty bold claims with the lower power variants, so it does look interesting and these may actually be game changers for AMD in the midterm.

    Looking forward to that battery life claim put to the test.

  • hannibal
    These could sell well and reduce the need to make badly selling destop GPU and offer option to make these instead….
  • Sleepy_Hollowed
    Yes please, more AMD GPU laptops, especially so I can pop Linux with decent performance/power usage.
  • rDigital
    These new AMD advantage gaming laptops should be amazing. The ASUS G15 Advantage plugged in was an fps monster paired with 10 hour battery life (web browsing & movies) on the go.

    Zen 4 is crazy power efficient when they aren't trying to squeeze every ounce out of it.
  • jackt
    How about the smaller desktop video cards ?
  • red.deugemo
    they forgot mendocino was the codename for the celeron 300A