Skip to main content

Smach Z Gets More Powerful Ryzen Embedded CPU, 32GB RAM and 480GB SSD

Smach Z, dubbed as the most powerful handheld gaming console, has just gotten even more potent. The Smach Team has given the Smach Z some quality upgrades, which will surely appease the device's backers.

(Image credit: Smach Z)

The original Smach Z and its Pro and Ultra were slated to employ AMD's Ryzen Embedded V1605B chip, which fuses four Zen cores with eight Vega Cores. However, the plans have apparently changed as the Smach Team has recently announced that the handheld device will feature the flagship V1807B part instead. The processor alone is a huge upgrade, and it's easy to see why.

Smach ZImproved Smach Z
ProcessorRyzen Embedded V1605BRyzen Embedded V1807B
Cores / Threads4 / 84 / 8
Base / Boost Clocks2.0 GHz / 3.6 GHz3.35 GHz / 3.8 GHz
GraphicsRadeon Vega 8Radeon RX Vega 11
Compute Units811
GPU Clock1,100 MHz1,300 MHz
MemoryUp to 16GB DDR4-2133Up to 32GB DDR4-2133
StorageUp to 256GB SSDUp to 480GB SSD

Although both the V1605B and V1807B are four-core, eight-thread processors, the latter boasts significantly higher operating clocks. The V1605B has a 2 GHz base clock and 3.6 GHz boost clock. The V1807B, on the other hand, sports a 3.35 GHz base clock and 3.8 GHz boost clock. We're looking at gains of 67.5% and 5.56%, respectively. Nevertheless, the most beneficial improvement resides in the graphics area.

The V1605B comes equipped with Radeon Vega 8 graphics, meaning it has eight Compute Units (CUs) running at 1,100 MHz. The V1807B has a more beefy Radeon RX Vega 11 graphics solution. The 11 CUs operate at 1,300 MHz. The two extra CUs and 200 MHz clock increase should substantially help increase graphics performance on Smach Z.

The only caveat with having a more powerful processor is the heat and power consumption. The V1605B has a configurable TDP (thermal design power) between 12W to 25W. Naturally, the V1807B comes with higher values, 35W to 54W to be exact. We guess that the Smach Team would most likely have to redesign the original cooling system. They will probably have to outfit the device with a larger battery too if the team intend to maintain the five hours of gaming time that they are so keen on selling.

With the processor aside, the Smach Z will also be receiving memory and storage upgrades. The new and enhanced version can house up to 32GB of DDR4-2133 memory and 480GB of solid-state storage.

Logic tells us that the move from the V1605B to the V1807B should increase pricing across all three Smach Z models. However, the Smach Team didn't specify in the press release just how much. For reference, the Smach Z, Smach Z Pro, and Smach Z Ultra cost $699, $899 and $1099, respectively. It would be reasonable to expect an increase around 5% to 10% in pricing unless the Smach Team was able to strike a deal with AMD to get the more powerful chips for the same price as the original ones.

  • GetSmart
    The reality at Gamescom 2019, such as sudden shutdown while playing Doom 2016.
    5RFYN2Tt6m0Many visitors experienced game crashing or would not start, and always running out of battery charge too quickly like this video with sudden black screen because of "empty battery" (can read the entire account of what happened at his blog. Also cannot charge while playing any game at the same time.9tkUKkTUdpo
    Reply
  • mihen
    I wonder why they went with the 32GB of slower ram over less faster ram for an IGP. Maybe they didn't need the bandwidth under the power constraints. 32GB seems a bit high for this type of system.
    Reply
  • GetSmart
    mihen said:
    I wonder why they went with the 32GB of slower ram over less faster ram for an IGP. Maybe they didn't need the bandwidth under the power constraints. 32GB seems a bit high for this type of system.
    Integrated GPUs always performs better with faster memory. As for that 32GB memory, the battery runtime only lasts 74 minutes (tested by Youtube reviewer The Phawx) and that is with AMD Ryzen Embedded V1605B SoC. Well, just imagine how the battery runtime would be like with an "upgraded" AMD Ryzen Embedded V1807B SoC.
    Reply
  • Rogue Leader
    Nothing like upgrading the CPU/GPU on vaporware.

    I'll eat my hat if this thing ever sees retail.
    Reply
  • GetSmart
    Rogue Leader said:
    Nothing like upgrading the CPU/GPU on vaporware.
    This move, in my opinion, feels more like Smach Z is trying to bring back some attention (includes marketing reach) to their stillborn project. Here are some account from the person who captured on video that sudden shutdown. Yet more account from the same person at Gamescom 2019 also. Very similar to that blog posted earlier.

    Rogue Leader said:
    I'll eat my hat if this thing ever sees retail.
    There is a way to know whether Smach Z is in manufacturing or not. Cannot reveal here at the moment, but you can PM me at the Discord if you are curious.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    "Estimated delivery Apr 2017"

    I think they're more than a little overdue. : P

    When they announced switching to the V1605B nearly a year and a half ago in early 2018, they were supposedly nearly ready to release the device then. According to Tom's Hardware's article...

    The Smach Z development team told us that the device is currently undergoing final fixes and tweaks, and will soon head into the manufacturing phase with the goal of starting shipment in May. Mass shipment is planned to follow in July.

    As for the hardware updates...
    Logic tells us that the move from the V1605B to the V1807B should increase pricing across all three Smach Z models.
    Logic tells me that this first-gen 14nm Ryzen embedded hardware has now been out for a while, and they may be able to get the V1807B for a similar price to what the V1605B would have cost over a year ago. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw 7nm Zen2 embedded processors before too long. Perhaps they actually intend on moving to one of those chips?

    Going with anything more than 16GB of RAM seems a bit silly for a device like this though. Current games are unlikely to benefit from more, and any future titles that eventually do would probably not run acceptably on this hardware anyway. Sure, RAM might cost less than half of what it did when these specs were last updated, but having extra ram drawing power and doing little else is probably less than ideal in a portable device with limited battery capacity.
    Reply
  • GetSmart
    cryoburner said:
    "Estimated delivery Apr 2017"

    I think they're more than a little overdue. : P

    When they announced switching to the V1605B nearly a year and a half ago in early 2018, they were supposedly nearly ready to release the device then. According to Tom's Hardware's article...
    Just more continuous delays and those shipping estimates are examples of their numerous lies since their KickStarter campaign started. Smach Z had no concrete plans to get into manufacturing anytime soon during those yesteryears (heck they did not have any assembly facility nor factory until year 2019).

    cryoburner said:
    As for the hardware updates...

    Logic tells me that this first-gen 14nm Ryzen embedded hardware has now been out for a while, and they may be able to get the V1807B for a similar price to what the V1605B would have cost over a year ago. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw 7nm Zen2 embedded processors before too long. Perhaps they actually intend on moving to one of those chips?
    Highly unlikely because if it was that simple then Smach Z would have updated to one of those newer AMD Picasso generation SoCs. The biggest problem with Smach Z is their terrible choice and transfixation on using embedded SoCs instead of mobile SoCs since their very first failed KickStarter campaign (with AMD Embedded G-Series SoC). Likewise that embedded SoC choice continued in their current KickStarter campaign (first with AMD Embedded R-Series RX-421BD and later moving to AMD Ryzen Embedded V1605B). And the result of that terrible choice is noticeable, especially with that custom battery meter software (in other words not part of Windows mobile power management). Switching to a newer 7nm SoC will impose even more lengthy delays, not just from development side (which Smach Z is notorious slow) but they would wait for the embedded version which usually arrives much later than the mobile versions (just look at the length of time from AMD's Ryzen mobile launch until AMD's Ryzen Embedded launch). Heck have not seen embedded versions of AMD's Picasso generation SoCs yet..

    cryoburner said:
    Going with anything more than 16GB of RAM seems a bit silly for a device like this though. Current games are unlikely to benefit from more, and any future titles that eventually do would probably not run acceptably on this hardware anyway. Sure, RAM might cost less than half of what it did when these specs were last updated, but having extra ram drawing power and doing little else is probably less than ideal in a portable device with limited battery capacity.
    That's only a very small part of Smach Z's problem (can be remedied by changing the memory configuration). There is an amateurish mistake (which I'm not going to reveal yet) as well.
    Reply