GPD shoves Ryzen 7 8840U into Win Max 2 handheld -- NPU upgrade will improve AI workloads, but not gaming performance

The GDP Win Max II
(Image credit: GDP)

IT Home reports that handheld manufacturer GPD has announced an upgraded version of the Win Max 2 handheld gaming console sporting AMD's latest Zen 4-based mobile CPU, the Ryzen 7 8840U. However, CPU-Z benchmarks from GPD reveal that the upgraded handheld PC is not much quicker than its 7840U-equipped predecessor, to the point where there is virtually no performance difference between the two chips CPU-wise (at least, in the Win Max 2 chassis).

In the CPU-Z results, the new Ryzen 7 8840U unit scored 664.2 points in the single-core test and 5,628.3 points in the multi-core benchmark. Compare this to the older 7840U variant‘s score of 662 points and 5488.4 points in the single and multi-core benchmarks. In other words, the newer chip is less than 3% quicker overall. The same applies to the AVX-512 CPU-Z benchmark as well. The newer 8840U is just 2.3% quicker than the 7840U at best.

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CPU-Z Benchmark
CPUBenchmark Version 17.01.64Benchmark Version 19.01.64 AVX-512 Beta
Ryzen 7 8840USingle Core - 664.2 / Multi Core - 5,628.3Single Core - 865.6 / Multi Core - 7,056.4
Ryzen 7 7840USingle Core - 662 / Multi Core - 5,488.4Single Core - 880 / Multi Core - 6,897.3

This is not surprising to see; when AMD announced the Ryzen 8040 series several months ago it revealed that CPU performance wasn't the focus of its new CPU refresh. Instead, it was focusing primarily on the Neural Processing Unit (NPU) instead to boost localized AI performance. Both the 7040 series and 8040 series use the exact same Zen 4 CPU cores, which is why performance is so close between the two CPU generations.

For gaming, the new chip offers virtually no better performance than the 7840U, but for other tasks, such as using Microsoft Copilot, the new SKU offers more tangible benefits. The Win Max 2 isn't your typical handheld, it is a handheld hybrid that features a compact keyboard for laptop use. As a result, the extra AI performance can come in handy for users who utilize the Win Max 2 for both work and play.

Based on Microsoft's official hardware requirements for AI PCs, the new Win Max 2 should be qualified as an AI PC. Both the new and the older Win Max 2 come with 32GB of RAM at a minimum, and the 8840U with its XDNA2 NPU is expected to be capable of roughly 45 TOPS. Microsoft's minimum requirement for AI PCs is 16GB of RAM and 40 TOPS of compute power (from the CPU, GPU, and/or NPU).

A release date was not announced, but we can expect this new Win Max 2 variant to arrive when the full gamut of AI PCs (along with Windows 12) launches later this year.

Aaron Klotz
Contributing Writer

Aaron Klotz is a contributing writer for Tom’s Hardware, covering news related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.