The proof is in the processing
AMD offered the smallest sneak peek of the performance of its new processors, although given their apparent close relationship with previous-generation Ryzen Mobile chips, we feel like we know the story already. The company made direct comparisons, pitting its Ryzen 5 3500U against Intel's Core i5-8250U and its Ryzen 7 3700U against Intel's Core i7-8550U, and in both cases it claims its latest Ryzens beat out the competition.
Specifically, AMD claims that its second-generation Ryzen Mobile processors are 14% faster in PCMark 10 Essentials, 27% faster in Photoshop, and equally as fast in Office. Those results are a little surprising, as our own testing put the Core i5-8250U well ahead of the Ryzen 5 2500U in PCMark 10's Essentials and Productivity tests. Both chips do very well, though, and certainly the Ryzen 5 2500U's performance was more than "good enough." There's no reason to expect the Ryzen 5 3500U to be anything but faster than its predecessor.
In gaming tests, AMD pitted the Vega GPU inside its Ryzen 7 3700U against the Intel UHD Graphics 620 built into the Core i7-8565U. To the surprise of absolutely no one reading this text, the Ryzen 7's integrated Vega graphics enjoy a significant lead over the competition, although the gap isn't as wide as you might expect—especially given that our own testing showed the Ryzen 5 2500U's integrated graphics wiping the floor with Intel's solution. Of course, as AMD itself notes, results will vary with testing environment.
Speaking of these processors' graphics parts, AMD announced that starting in the first quarter of this year—that is to say, real soon now—all Ryzen Mobile processors will use the same graphics driver as every other Radeon. That means you won't have to suffer on an ancient driver because your system vendor didn't approve the latest one. That's good news for long-suffering laptop gamers who have had to use unofficial hacks and workarounds to make games play nice due to the negligence of their system's OEM.
Coming soon to a laptop near you
AMD says that the first notebooks to use these CPUs will be available in Q1 this year, and that more systems will continue to arrive throughout 2019. The chip vendor specifically names Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Huawei, Lenovo, and Samsung as companies preparing Ryzen-based laptops, but we'd be surprised if those are the only folks working on AMD portables.
All in all, our greatest complaint about the first-generation Ryzen Mobile processors was simply how difficult it was to get our hands on one. AMD says those Ryzen Mobile APUs were a "great success" in 2018, but also tacitly acknowledges the limited selection of laptops so-equipped by noting that the company expects to have 33% more design wins with its second-generation chips. That can only be seen as a good thing for not just AMD, but also laptop buyers who should get to enjoy the benefits of renewed competition in 2019.