AMD’s new Ryzen Pro processors brings AI

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AMD has unveiled its Ryzen Pro lineup, introducing the ‘Hawk Point’ 8040-series for commercial laptops and workstations, alongside the Ryzen 8000 ‘Phoenix’ APU models designed for commercial desktop PCs. As customary, the Pro series builds upon AMD’s existing consumer-grade processor models but incorporates additional functionalities tailored for the commercial sector. Notably, AMD stands out as the pioneer x86 company to integrate AI-processing neural processing units (NPUs) into mobile and desktop PC markets with its consumer-grade processors. Now, these AI acceleration capabilities are being extended to commercial users, marking AMD’s claim as the first provider of professional CPUs equipped with NPUs for laptops and workstations.

AMD Ryzen Pro 8040 series for laptops

AMD has introduced its Ryzen Pro 8040 series tailored for laptops, built on the Zen 4 architecture utilizing a 4nm manufacturing process. These processors boast up to 30% increased CPU performance and 72% faster video conferencing performance compared to the Intel Core Ultra 7 165U. Notably, they are among the pioneering models to incorporate Wi-Fi 7 technology.

The lineup mirrors the non-Pro versions available in various laptops but is specifically aimed at business users. These processors will be integrated into business laptops from HP, Lenovo, and other OEMs starting this quarter.

ModelCores/ThreadsBoost / Base FrequencyTotal CachecTDPRyzen AI
AMD Ryzen 9 PRO 8945HS8C/16TUp to 5.2GHz / 4GHz24MB35-54WAvailable
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 8845HS8C/16TUp to 5.1GHz / 3.8GHz24MB35-54WAvailable
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 8840HS8C/16TUp to 5.1GHz / 3.3GHz24MB20-28WAvailable
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 8840U8C/16TUp to 5.1GHz / 3.3GHz24MB15-28WAvailable
AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 8645HS6C/12TUp to 5.0GHz / 4.3GHz22MB35-54WAvailable
AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 8640HS6C/12TUp to 4.9GHz / 3.5GHz22MB20-28WAvailable
AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 8640U6C/12TUp to 4.9GHz / 3.5GHz22MB15-28WAvailable
AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 8540U6C/12TUp to 4.9GHz / 3.2GHz22MB15-28WN/A

These processors will be featured in laptops such as HP’s EliteBook 805 series G11, 605 Series G11, and the ProBook 405 Series G11, as well as some models from HP’s ZBook Power and Firefly G11 series. Lenovo will incorporate the new processors in devices like the ThinkPad T14 Gen 5, among others.

AMD Ryzen Pro 8000 series for desktops

On the desktop front, AMD has unveiled the Pro variants of its existing Ryzen 8000 series APUs. It’s important to note that these CPUs are not based on the Zen 5 architecture, as AMD’s next-gen Ryzen CPUs have yet to be released. Instead, these CPUs are built on the Zen 4 architecture with a 4nm manufacturing process. They also feature integrated Ryzen graphics, boasting up to 47% more performance compared to Intel’s Core i7-14700.

These processors also come with support for DDR5 RAM and PCIe 4.0, and select models offer Wi-Fi 7 compatibility. The lineup includes the following models

ModelCores/ThreadsBoost / Base FrequencyTotal CachecTDPRyzen AI
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 8700G8C/16TUp to 5.1GHz / 4.2GHz24MB45-65WAvailable
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 8700GE8C/16TUp to 5.1GHz / 3.65GHz24MB35WAvailable
AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 8600G6C/12TUp to 5.0GHz / 4.35GHz22MB45-65WAvailable
AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 8600GE6C/12TUp to 5.0GHz / 3.90GHz22MB35WAvailable
AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 8500G6C/12TUp to 5.0GHz / 3.55GHz22MB45-65WN/A
AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 8500GE6C/12TUp to 5.0GHz / 3.40GHz22MB35WN/A
AMD Ryzen 3 PRO 8300G4C/8TUp to 4.90GHz / 3.45GHz12MB45-65WN/A
AMD Ryzen 3 PRO 8300GE4C/8TUp to 4.90GHz / 3.50GHz12MB35WN/A

Similar to the laptop processors, the AMD Ryzen Pro 8000 series for desktops will be accessible through systems and channel partners in the second quarter of this year. Expect to encounter them in systems like Lenovo’s ThinkCentre M75 series of workstations, with more options likely to emerge over time.

AMD vs. Intel: The Race for AI Supremacy

AMD’s in-house XNDA engine drives its NPU, giving its mobile processors an edge over Intel’s competing Core Ultra processors with 16 TOPS of NPU performance, surpassing the Meteor Lake NPU’s 11 TOPS. AMD also maintains a slight advantage in overall system TOPS, encompassing both CPU and GPU AI processing power, leading with 39 TOPS over Intel’s 34 TOPS. In addition, AMD’s desktop Ryzen 8000 APUs feature an integrated NPU engine delivering 16 TOPS, whereas Intel has yet to release a processor for desktop PCs with a built-in AI engine.

It’s worth noting that neither AMD nor Intel’s chips currently meet Microsoft’s next-gen AI PC requirement of 45 TOPS of performance from the NPU. However, both companies assert that their forthcoming chips, Strix Point and Lunar Lake respectively, will meet this benchmark. This 45 TOPS requirement is intended to enable Microsoft to execute AI elements of Copilot locally, though the implications of this requirement for current generations of AMD and Intel processors remain uncertain. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite Arm chips are set to debut with 45 TOPS of NPU performance in the middle of the year. On the other hand, Apple’s M3 processors offer 18 TOPS of NPU performance but are not subject to Microsoft’s requirements.

Running AI workloads locally offers significant benefits in the commercial sector, particularly in addressing pressing privacy concerns. Additionally, it provides advantages in terms of latency, performance, and battery life for AI applications. Notably, the power efficiency of NPUs far surpasses that of GPUs when executing the same AI workload. However, unlocking this performance potential necessitates tightly integrated software solutions. Ultimately, the initial competition for AI supremacy will hinge on strategic developer partnerships.

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