AMD CES 2021 Highlights: Ryzen 5000 and Zen 3

After rival Intel unveiled a range of processors aimed at business, education and gaming yesterday, all eyes are on AMD to see what the company has in store to compete with its biggest rival in the processor space . Last year was quite a year for AMD with the introduction of the latest Ryzen 5000 desktop processors and Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards. These advances are expected to continue in 2021.

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Now that the AMD CES keynote has been concluded, we have listed the highlights of CES. We'll also update this post with the latest news from AMD throughout CES. So please update your browser to get the updates of all announcements. Also, be sure to follow Digital Trends' CES 2021 hub for the latest news.

High performance computing

"High performance computing has never been more important to our daily lives or our future," said AMD CEO Lisa Su when she kicked off her CES keynote. Su gave examples of how AMD is using high performance computing to tackle some of the world's most pressing problems, such as fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Digital transformations are accelerating in many companies, Su said, noting that while the pandemic is having different effects on people, 2020 has become a more productive year for tech companies. She said our relationship with technology has changed radically in the last year, and high performance computing is at the heart of that change.

Microsoft partnership

Su spoke about AMD's partnership with Microsoft by welcoming Microsoft's hardware chief Panos Panay, who performed virtually.

"At Microsoft, the PC has become more important than before," said Panay. He emphasized the importance of productivity and connection with others, as well as entertainment and gaming on the PC and desktop.

The two executives talked about their co-engineering partnership.

"When we talk about partnership, we have to talk about games," said Panay, highlighting the silicon in the Microsoft Series X and Series X consoles. “These are two teams that work together in detail. These are real deep partnerships. "

Panay also shared his excitement about bringing AMD's RDNA 2 architecture to PC, adding that he's the Windows guy who loves gaming.

In a promotional video, Microsoft explained all Windows-capable laptops and desktops of its partners that are operated with Ryzen and Radeon silicon.

"I think AMD is doing amazing things right now and your technology is moving the world forward," he said.

Zen 3 goes mobile

In November, AMD unveiled its new Zen 3 processor architecture, which highlights improved performance and energy efficiency, Su said.

Zen 3 is now going mobile with the Ryzen 5000 mobile processor for ultra-thin and gaming notebooks.

"These new chips offer tremendous performance and battery life," said Su, noting that AMD is the only company with an ultra-thin eight-core processor. "You can expect to do more and be more productive," said Su, highlighting the chip's gaming potential in a lightweight notebook.

The chip has an eight-core configuration, Su said, adding that the "Ryzen 5000 series sets new standards for leadership performance."

The U series works with a 15 watt TDP design. The company compared the Ryzen 7 chip with the 11th generation Core i7 from Intel and showed how the Ryzen beats the Core i7 from Intel.

The battery life is up to 17.5 hours for general use and 21 hours for movie playback.

For gaming, the company announced an unlocked 45-watt HX series for high-performance computing and gaming that can be overclocked. The AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX boosts up to 4.6 GHz. The company showed Horizon Zero Dawn at steady frame rates of over 100 frames per second (fps) with a resolution of 1080p.

The company promises up to 4K games on mobile notebooks. Compared to an Intel Core i9, the Ryzen wins by a large margin, said Su.

Up to 150 designs will be launched this year, compared to just 100 designs for Ryzen 4000. This is a 50% design leap that gives AMD laptop fans more choices.

Su introduced partner HP to talk about some of the computing trends the tech industry has seen over the past year.

HP said that with the pandemic, the PC has become the center of the home as it is used for work, play, study and entertainment.

RDNA 2 games for cell phones are coming this year

AMD claimed that four out of five US consumers played a video game in the past year and that gaming is on the rise.

"Gaming is so much at the heart of what we do at AMD," said Su.

Su highlighted game consoles as one of AMD's most popular products, including Microsoft's Xbox Series X and Sony's PlayStation 5. On the desktop, AMD presented the graphics cards of the Radeon RX 6000 series.

"The underlying graphics architecture for these products is RDNA 2," said Su, noting a 65% increase in performance per watt from gene to gene.

The company announced that it will next bring RDNA 2 to notebooks. They should arrive in the first half of 2021.

Threadripper Pro

AMD hired partner Lucasfilm to show how AMD is affecting the film industry. Lucasfilm talked about how things went with the construction of its new facility exclusively with AMD for its render farm. Lucasfilm was one of the first to introduce AMD's high-performance thread ripper processors, and found that the chip offers firepower thanks to the number of threads and cores.

Threadripper allows artists to make changes and see instant results, Lucasfilm said.

"AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO processors will now be available directly to consumers through participating global retailers, e-tailers and system integrators," AMD said in a statement prior to Su's keynote address. "Ryzen Threadripper PRO processors offer workstation customers an unmatched range of functions with up to 64 cores, 8 memory channels, RDIMM and LRDIMM support, 128 PCIe Gen 4 lanes and AMD PRO security technologies."

More Ryzen for desktop gamers

Although AMD didn't have time to showcase new Ryzen processors during its keynote, the company sent a press release to the media stating that new processors with reduced TDPs will be available on pre-built systems.

"AMD is also announcing alternatives with a reduced TDP to the award-winning desktop processors AMD Ryzen 9 5900X and AMD Ryzen 7 5800X, which are only available for pre-engineered OEM systems," the press release said. "The Ryzen 9 5900 desktop processor and AMD Ryzen 7 5800 are powered by the new Zen 3 core architecture with a lower TDP of 65W, giving more users better performance."

Data center and cloud

AMD also gave an update on its EPYC processors at CES 2021.

"The largest cloud providers have introduced EPYC processors," said Su.

AMD announced its third generation EPYC processor with up to 64 Zen 3 cores and previewed its Milan processors. When comparing 32-core Milan with Intel Xeon Gold, AMD showed that the weather forecast simulation completed 68% faster than the competition.

Third-generation EPYC launches later this quarter, Su said.

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