AMD Ryzen Mobile Benchmarks And Performance: Taking On Intel In Laptops

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AMD Ryzen Mobile Put To The Test In HP Envy x360 15z

AMD’s Zen processor microarchitecture is targeted for deployment across the company’s entire processor product stack, from desktop with Ryzen and Threadripper, to the data center with EPYC, and finally in laptops and convertibles with Ryzen Mobile. Ryzen is set to yet again take on Intel’s dominant position in the market. However, in this latest implementation, Zen is being coupled with AMD’s Vega graphics cores for a fully integrated laptop solution with the potential for a significantly more robust multimedia and gaming experience as a result.

On the desktop, Ryzen has proven itself to be very competitive versus Intel Core series processors, especially considering its price/performance value proposition. On the GPU side of things, Vega in its current form, is a power-hungry design that brings a bit of fight back to NVIDIA in spots in the discrete GPU space, though it's not quite the home run AMD was likely hoping for.

But what happens when you bring the two together on a single piece of silicon and install it within the confines of a laptop PC?

HP Envy x360 with Ryzen Mobile
HP's Envy x360 15z - Powered By AMD's Ryzen 5 2500U Mobile Processor

You’re about to find out as we take you through our first benchmark test runs with the new Envy x360 15z from HP, which is one of the first notebooks to hit the market with a Ryzen Mobile power plant under its hood. 

HP Envy x360 with Ryzen Mobile Back Edge

We should note that we had to pick up this machine at a local retailer since thus far HP and other OEMs have not seeded review units. As a result, this machine isn’t what we would suggest as an optimal configuration. For starters, it’s a relatively low cost configuration and the OS resides on a standard spinning hard drive. HP does have optional NVMe solid state drives available on its configuration page for the machine and for the $130 up-charge for a 256GB drive, we’d highly recommend it. 

This particular configuration also limited a clean A/B comparison in certain disk-sensitive benchmarks as a result of that HDD, so we decided to forego them and focus on metrics that could isolate host CPU and GPU performance. However, what we'll show on the pages ahead is representative of what a Ryzen Mobile quad-core CPU with Vega graphics can deliver versus Intel 8th Gen and 7th Gen Core series performance. 

HP Envy x360 with Ryzen Mobile Keyboard Left

One final note on the scope of this review is that we're focusing on the high level performance characteristics of Ryzen Mobile, rather than a straight-up review of the HP Envy x360 15z itself. Even for its low price, it's simply not a configuration of the machine that we'd recommend, and we'd rather reserve judgement for a model SKU that savvy, informed consumers, like HotHardware readers would appreciate. Regardless, we do have plenty to work with there with respect to how Ryzen Mobile competes versus the likes of Intel 7th and 8th Gen CPUs. So let's dig in... 

HP Envy x360 15z With Ryzen Mobile
Specifications & Features
Processor AMD Ryzen 5 2500U (4C/8T, 6MB cache, 3.6GHz Boost) w/ Radeon Vega 8 Graphics
Display
15.6" diagonal FHD UWVA micro-edge WLED-backlit multitouch (1920 x 1080)
Graphics Radeon Vega 8 Graphics
Memory
8 GB DDR4-2400 SDRAM (2 x 4 GB), Up to 16GB Available
Storage
1 TB 7200 RPM SATA HDD, NVMe PCIe SSD options available
WiFi
802.11ac (2x2) Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 Combo
External I/O Ports 1 USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1 (Data Transfer up to 5 Gb/s, DP1.4, HP Sleep and Charge); 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 (1 HP Sleep and Charge); 1 HDMI v2.0b; 1 headphone/microphone combo
Webcam
HP Wide Vision FHD IR Camera with Dual array digital microphone
Operating System
Windows 10 Home 64-Bit
Battery 3-cell, 55.8 Wh Lithium-ion prismatic Battery
Dimensions 14.16 x 9.8 x 0.77 inches
Weight
4.75 pounds
Warranty
1 Year Limited Hardware Warranty, 90 day phone support
Pricing Starting at $729 And As Tested

HP Envy x360 with Ryzen Mobile Keyboard Right

The HP Envy x360 15z is a full-sized 15-inch format machine with a roomy chiclet-style keyboard with a full-sized numpad. Its trackpad is also spacious and responsive, and it has a nice Bang & Olufsen-branded sound system firing just above the keyboard with good volume output and decent sound, for notebook speakers. You also get a wide assortment of port options here with both USB-C 3.1 connectivity, full-sized HDMI, and an SDCard reader. No Thunderbolt though, unfortunately. 

HP Envy x360 with Ryzen Mobile Display

The display is a 15-inch touch-enabled glossy IPS panel with an FHD 1920x1080 native resolution. The model we tested is definitely not the brightest, but has good color accuracy, uniformity, and reasonably good viewing angles. As we'll discuss in our battery life testing, however, brightness is not its strong suit. 

Recapping Current AMD Ryzen Mobile Offerings

AMD Ryzen Mobile Specs

The two currently available versions of Ryzen Mobile are both 4-core, 8-thread CPUs. AMD made no bones about branding the processors with model numbers that directly call out Intel 15 Watt variants with the Ryzen 7 2700U and Ryzen 5 2500U taking aim at Intel's Core i7 and Core i5 U series chips, respectively. AMD's chips have 4MB of shared L3 cache each, but differ with respect to top end CPU boost clock speeds, number of integrated Radeon Vega Compute Units (CUs), and the GPU's top-end clocks. As you can see, the Ryzen 7 2700U is a significantly more powerful chip in terms of its GPU resources, however, it still maintains its 12 - 25W configurable TDP power envelope, with a nominal 15 Watt rating. For the purposes of this performance review, we're working with a Ryzen 5 2500U quad-core chip, which should take on Intel's 8th Gen Kaby Lake-R quad-core Core series processors pretty well, with comparable core CPU resources and what should be a much more powerful integrated GPU, or iGP. 

Geekbench 4 And Cinebench

For a quick sanity check, we first turned our attention to a couple of general purpose benchmarks with Geekbench 4 and Cinebench. Cinebench is a test that works both the CPU and GPU engines of the processors. Cinebench is developed by Maxon, which is better known for its Cinema 4D software employed in professional 3D rendering and animation. Geekbench is a cross-platform benchmark that pushes simulated workloads designed to mimic real world processing requirements for functions like image processing and particle physics. We tested both of Cinebench’s integrated benchmarks for CPU and GPU, along with Geekbench's Single-Core and Multi-Core CPU test workloads.

Ryzen Mobile Geekbench 4 results


Cinebench R15 Ryzen Mobile Results

Geekbench shows a bit of a mixed bag of results, but is perhaps telling of the various laptop thermal solutions and possibly where systems might be throttling. Surprisingly, though we tested it over and over, Intel's Core i5-8520U in the Acer Swift 3 consistently beat out the 8th Gen Core i7 CPUs in either Dell or HP machines, at least when it came to Geekbench. AMD's Ryzen 5 2500U in the HP Envy x360 puts up decent Geekbench numbers, hanging with the Intel's 8th Gen chips, and smoking the 7th Gen Kaby Lake score in the ThinkPad in Multi-Core processing, but falling behind it in Single-Core. To be honest, however, the Geekbench scores are all over the map and don't instill confidence. Cinebench seems to scale cleanly, however. 

Cinbench puts AMD's Ryzen 5 2500U near the top of the stack with respect to its CPU throughput, just 5% shy of the top 8th Gen score we got from Dell's XPS 13. Surprisingly, in the GPU-focused OpenGL test, Ryzen Mobile is only showing about as fast as Intel's UHD 620 IGP, while getting thoroughly trounced by the discrete GeForce MX150 GPU in one of the Acer Swift 3 configs.

However, we'd offer that this OpenGL score for the Ryzen 5 2500U is more likely the result of a driver optimization issue or memory bandwidth, because, as you'll see in the following graphics and gaming benchmarks, Ryzen Mobile's integrated Vega GPU can deliver much stronger performance than this relative to Intel's integrated graphics solutions. 

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