HP, Acer, and Lenovo hop on board
SoCs are no good without OEMs to build systems around them, and AMD is announcing three major design wins today from Acer, HP, and Lenovo. These machines will be Raven Ridge's pioneers during the holiday season of this year. AMD expects a full ramp of partner designs built around Ryzen APUs in 2018.
The HP Envy X360 is a 15.6" convertible with a 1920x1080 touch screen. HP will offer it with a Ryzen 5 2500U SoC, as much as 8GB of dual-channel DDR4-2400 RAM, and solid-state storage ranging up to 512GB or a 1TB mechanical hard drive. The Envy X360 is a hair over three-quarters of an inch thick (or 19.5 mm), and it weighs about 4.7 lb (2.15 kg).
Lenovo's Ideapad 720S is a 13.3" traditional notebook. It'll come with a 1920x1080 IPS display, up to 512GB of NVMe storage, and options for Ryzen 5 2500U and Ryzen 7 2700U SoCs. In a choice that's notable for all the wrong reasons, Lenovo will offer the machine with some amount of single-channel DDR4-2133 RAM. Given what's likely to be a bandwidth-hungry SoC, the choice to stick with one channel of DDR4 seems unfortunate. At just half an inch thick (13.6 mm) and 2.5 lb (1.14 kg), though, the Ideapad 720S definitely delivers on AMD's thin-and-light promise.
Acer's Swift 3 rounds out the wins AMD has secured for the moment. This is a 15.6" traditional notebook with a 1920x1080 IPS screen. Acer will offer it with as much as 8GB of dual-channel DDR4-2400 RAM and SSDs as large as 256GB. At 0.7" thick (18 mm) and four pounds (1.8 kg), the Swift 3 seems like the kind of straightfoward machine that's just right for the middle of the bell curve of PC users.
Conclusions - for now
If its internal performance numbers are to be believed, Ryzen APUs seem to have what AMD needs to take the fight to Intel in the largest and most attractive segment of consumer PCs today. The combination of Zen CPU cores and Vega graphics power in Raven Ridge seems to make for the kind of truly balanced APU we'd want to recommend as an alternative for Intel CPUs in thin-and-light notebooks. With competitive single-threaded performance, high multithreaded potential, and promising gaming performance, the Ryzen 7 2700U and Ryzen 5 2500U seem like a fine opening salvo as AMD re-enters the high-performance mobile market.
On top of these apparently solid SoCs, AMD can already count design wins from major manufacturers in its corner, and those systems mostly seem as though they'll put the best foot forward with Ryzen APUs. We'll need to see where pricing for these systems lands, of course, and buyers will still have to bite after years of Intel dominance in notebook PCs. Still, the final puzzle pieces seem to be falling into place for AMD to complete its x86 CPU renaissance.