AMD Ryzen 7 4800U Assessment

Today's review is all about the Ryzen 7 4800U, AMD's top-notch APU for lightweight laptops, also known as ultrabooks. This is the best that Renoir has to offer AMD from an efficiency standpoint to bring the superb performance to 15W and 25W power envelopes.

Since the Ryzen Mobile 4000 series was launched, the original plan was to test parts of the U-series shortly afterwards. However, delays have occurred in most product launches and it is only now that PC makers are starting to ship Ryzen ultraportables on a large scale.

We already know how well the Zen 2 in the H-series scales to higher TDPs – parts like the Ryzen 7 4800H – but how this applies to ultraportables has remained unclear.

First, let's briefly summarize the technical data: The Ryzen 7 4800U uses a fully unlocked chip with 8 active CPU cores and 16 threads. We get 8MB of L3 cache and clock speeds of up to 4.2 GHz in a low thread boost state. The base clock of 1.8 GHz is lower than other parts, as AMD has to build 8 cores into a TDP output of 15 W.

The GPU is also completely unlocked, so that 8 Vega computing units with clock rates of up to 1750 MHz are activated. 8 Vega CUs mean 512 shaders, a reduction of the Ryzen parts of the last generation, but which are offset by higher clocks. The entire chip is a monolithic chip based on TSMC's 7nm technology. The CPU cores are based on the Zen 2 architecture.

The only real difference between the 4800U and the Ryzen 7 4800H (for workstation and gaming laptops) is the performance limitation and clock speeds. For example, the 4800H has a base clock of 2.9 GHz and can withstand higher frequencies. Apart from that, the 4800U and 4800H are based on the same silicon.

The test system for today's test is the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7, a first-class 14-inch ultraportable with a really nice metal case and an overall high-quality workmanship. Like most of our component reviews, this isn't a review of the laptop itself, but in our short time we've been impressed. This is not the case with "OEM puts Ryzen in a mid-range system," but we see the IdeaPad competing with the best in its segment.

The 4800U is coupled with 16 GB of LPDDR4X memory in a two-channel configuration. Ryzen supports both DDR4-3200 and LPDDR4X-4266. Our previous tests were done with DDR4 configurations. This laptop receives full LPDDR4X treatment. There's also a good quality 1080p display, 512GB of PCIe storage, and a 60Wh battery. The final price for this configuration is not yet available, but we expect it to be around $ 1000.

As with all of our laptop tests, we stick to standard power configurations whenever possible, which allow for an apple-to-apple performance comparison where the laptop's cooling and performance settings shouldn't affect the results as much. For today's tests, we consider the power with long-term power limits of 15 W and 25 W.

In reality, the IdeaPad Slim 7 can withstand over 25W for some time in maximum power mode, which is an impressive feat for this type of laptop. To keep everything the same, we're going to look at the 15W and 25W power.

However, both of the modes we are testing still exhibit strong boost behavior, which is how most of the Ryzen laptops we tested actually worked. This means a boost pressure of up to 35 W for about 5 minutes at 25 W and 2.5 minutes at 15 W. This is a longer boost period than the U-series processors from Intel of this generation. It's clear that AMD intends to keep pushing the boost for as long as it can for maximum performance.

Benchmarks

Before we get started, and as you probably know, all of our benchmark charts average results from laptops used in the same configuration. The full list of the laptops we tested can be found here.

Let's start with Cinebench R20. With 15 W, the Ryzen 7 4800U is incredibly fast. We're seeing performance in line with the Ryzen 5 4600H, a 45W SKU with six cores, outperforming Intel's 45W parts like the Core i7-10875H in the multithreaded test. This is an absolutely insane level of performance that allows the 4800U to deliver workstation-like results at just 15W.

It also means that the Ryzen 7 4800U will destroy every part of the Intel U-series on the charts.

The 15W 4800U is over 150% faster than the Core i7-1065G7, the best Ice Lake processor from Intel. Admittedly, the 1065G7 only has four cores. AMD's decision to enable eight-core designs in a laptop form factor has paid off here. We also see twice the performance of the best Comet Lake CPU, the six-core Core i7-10710U.

The edges are a bit narrower at 25W: the 4800U is still 130% faster than the Ice Lake and 70% faster than the Comet Lake. These are margins that are virtually unknown in mobile computing and that will certainly require Tiger Lake to fix this situation for Intel.

AMD is also able to universally hold the Cinebench R20 single-thread performance crown in the U-series market. The margins aren't nearly as high as on multithreads, but we see a lead of up to 10% on the i7-1065G7 and a lead of 15% on the i7-10710U.

The performance is also remarkably impressive on some of our longer workloads like Handbrake. It takes at least half an hour to encode our x265 sample video. The 15W 4800U offers almost the performance of the Intel Core i7-10875H, while with 25W it outperforms the fastest CPU overall that Intel has in its entire mobile product range, the Core i9-10980HK.

The 4800U is kind of a H-series CPU in terms of performance, or at least completely redefines what we should expect from the U-series.

The 4800U is twice as fast as the Core i7-1065G7 with 15 W and 25 W. We are now seeing at least 70% better performance than the Core i7-10710U with a lead of 88% at 15 W.

Similar story with Blender. Intel would tell you now that this is not a "real world" benchmark as you would not be running Blender on an ultra-portable laptop. But with the performance AMD is offering here, I think this needs to be reconsidered.

You definitely don't want to use Blender on a Core i7-1065G7 laptop, but the 4800U is way more than twice the performance.

GPU acceleration still makes H-series laptops attractive for such workloads. As a highly portable workstation APU, however, the 4800U is a convincing option.

When compiling Chromium, the 4800U is about 70% faster than the Core i7-1065G7, regardless of whether you are testing in a 15W or 25W configuration. In fact, the 4800U is just as fast at 25W as a Core i7-10875H is at 45W. Similar to GCC compilation, Ryzen is simply much faster for coding.

Now consider some lower productivity workloads, which is perhaps more important for a thing and a light system. In our Microsoft Excel benchmark for cracking numbers, Ryzen still has a huge performance lead when it comes to Intel Ice Lake processors.

We're not quite in the H-series field here with the 4800U, but we're getting closer and this is certainly the fastest 15W CPU on the market.

For the productivity test of PCMark 10 with a light thread, the results that we saw in Cinebench R20 Single-Thread come into play. The 4800U is 12% faster than the Core i7-1065G7 in this benchmark, which is really a best-case scenario for the Intel U-series. These margins are carried over into the Essentials test, which includes surfing the web and loading apps, basic tasks you would do on a laptop. The 4800U is two-digit faster, up to 15% compared to the Core i7-10710U.

There aren't many separate U-series processors in MATLAB. Regardless of whether you choose Intel or AMD, it doesn't really matter much with the latest version. The performance you see here depends a lot on what functions you are performing. Single-threaded or memory-constrained functions reside between the two platforms.

In 7-Zip, the 4800U comes close to the 45 W APUs from AMD such as the Ryzen 7 4800H. The 4800U decompresses much faster than any other part in the U-Series, including lower-core AMD processors like the Ryzen 5 Pro 4650U, and especially the 4500U.

The margins compared to Intel are very high, more than 2.5 times the performance for decompression compared to the 1065G7 and over 60% faster for compression.

With the Acrobat PDF export, which consists exclusively of one thread, the difference between the 4800U and the Intel processors of the U series is within the error limit. In this test, which has been brutal on AMD APUs in the past, there is no difference in performance.

The Adobe suite continues to be problematic for Ryzen Mobile, as shown by these Photoshop results. While the 4800U is competitive, especially at 15W, the Core i7-1065G7 is marginally faster if allowed to push up to 25W.

The difference isn't that big, the 4800U is ~ 4% behind, but you also need to take into account that apps like Premiere have better compatibility and feature support for Intel. There are still issues with color grading 4K video in Premiere on the Ryzen 7 4800U that need to be fixed before an AMD-based laptop is APU-only suitable for this app.

Then we include this for something like DaVinci Resolve just because of popular demand.

While the 4800U is faster than a Core i7-1065G7 in this workload because the app makes heavy use of the GPU, you'll be far better off with a laptop with a more powerful discrete GPU. Even something like the 1650 Ti Max-Q is a lot faster.

Gaming tests

That doesn't mean the Ryzen 7 4800U has a useless integrated GPU. For light games, it's more competent than expected. For example, in GTA V, you can get a solid experience of 60 FPS with the lowest settings at native 1080p and only 15W APU power. This is a big step up on the Core i7-1065G7 with the same performance.

Perfect for games like Civilization VI, the 4800U has enough GPU power to deliver well over 60 FPS at the lowest settings.

The CPU is relatively fast for things like turnaround times, too, and while it won't be as nice as it would be on a proper gaming system, strategy games are among the best that Ryzen laptops can run.

CS: GO is also a good experience on the Ryzen 7 4800U. At native 1080p and competitive settings, the 4800U delivers over 100 FPS on average. At 25 W the performance is similar to the 1065G7, but faster at 15 W. You can also see here that the 4800U slightly outperforms the MX250 configuration.

One of the most interesting benchmarks is Gears 5, a look at a GPU demanding game with medium settings. The Ryzen 7 4800U is the fastest iGPU in this benchmark and delivers 24 FPS.

While this is too slow to actually play at these settings, it suggests that the game is playable at lower settings or in dynamic resolution mode. In our experience, you can get above 30 FPS with a few things rejected, which is not quite possible with other low-power processors.

The 15W 4800U can also combine the combination of a 15W i7-1065G7 with the 10W MX250. This suggests that the 4800U's 8 Vega CUs are overall a more efficient gaming platform than combining an Intel CPU with a discrete GPU. You'll also see the difference in performance between the 4800U and Ryzen APUs, which only have six computation units at lower clocks: the 4800U is 25% faster at 15W.

And finally, there are some interesting things to see between the different power configurations. Ryzen 5 APUs with this GPU with six CUs don't benefit much from the increased power limit from 15W to 25W. However, the 4800U recorded a modest 12% increase in this test. Ice Lake wins the most, increasing up to 35% with the extra power available to it.

Similar results can be seen in the 2019 F1 running at the extremely low preset. The 4800U offers a playable experience in this title for an integrated GPU with a 1% lower over 30 FPS. Meanwhile, the MX250 is barely an experience at 30 FPS, while Ice Lake can't keep up with 15W. The 4800U is 56% faster than the 1065G7 at 15W in this game.

Breakdown of benefits

If you put the Ryzen 7 4800U with the same power of 15 W against the Core i7-1065G7, the Ryzen APU is almost always faster. In multithreaded workloads, this margin is significant. It is reasonable to expect more than twice the performance. But the 4800U also kept a narrow margin in most of the single-thread tests.

Being over 10% faster on the PCMark Productivity and Essentials tests is a strong result as these are common U-Series tasks.

At 25W, the edges between Renoir and Ice Lake narrow but not enough to change much.

Ryzen is still more than twice as fast for some multithreaded workloads and generally faster for single-threaded workloads. When combined with a faster integrated GPU, the 4800U is generally a bit faster to much faster for typical laptop tasks.

Intel also offers Comet Lake U-Series designs with up to six cores for higher multithreaded productivity. However, AMD is also able to outperform this part with more than 80% better performance on longer term, multi-threaded workloads. The Ryzen 7 4800U also has a much faster integrated GPU that is roughly 2.5 times faster than Intel's dated Skylake-era design. Therefore, the 4800U is a more complete package.

Compared to AMD's own range, the Ryzen 7 4800U is significantly faster than the Ryzen 5 Pro 4650U. The jump from 6 to 8 cores, even in the same performance envelope, enables 10 to 30 percent more performance for typical tasks. This is because adding more cores and running at a lower frequency tends to be more efficient, especially with these core counts.

The small increase of 200 MHz to increase the clocks also offers better single-thread performance. The 4800U can reach 4.2 GHz on a single core with less than 15W power consumption. In fact, the single-core power consumption for the entire APU is closer to 12W, which is very impressive.

Depending on your usage, there is also a reason to upgrade your laptop configuration from a Ryzen 5 4500U to a Ryzen 7 4800U during the purchase process. The 4800U is at least 10 percent faster for basic productivity, but up to 50 percent faster or faster for high, multi-threaded workloads.

The combination of two additional cores and activated SMT is a significant improvement for Renoir.

There was a time when, for example, there wasn't much improvement between a Core i5 or a Core i7 configuration. But here AMD produces a strong upgrade incentive in its Ryzen 7 tier.

We would like to close with some comparisons of the H-series. At 25W, the Ryzen 7 4800U is generally faster than the Ryzen 5 4600H, which is impressive and shows how efficient this Zen 2 APU is at low power levels.

The 4800U can also trade punches with the Core i9-10980HK. It doesn't always win, but margins are typically below 15% which is insane considering the Core i9 part is the best in Intel's entire mobile range, at least until Tiger Lake arrives.

What we learned

The Ryzen 7 4800U is one of the most impressive products we have ever tested. It has both gained its market segment and made a huge leap in performance from gene to gene.

There are a number of angles why the 4800U is so remarkable. The big problem is that it destroys Intel's Ice Lake and Comet Lake processors. It's not uncommon for the multi-threaded performance to double or better while winning the single-thread battle. With an integrated GPU, which can be 50% faster, especially at 15 W, the Ryzen 7 4800U wins in all three main categories for an ultra-portable CPU.

If this were a 100 meter sprint, you'd think the 4800U was cheating on performance-enhancing drugs. That's how much he beats his direct opponent.

The types of borders shown here highlight the efficiency of AMD's Zen 2 design and TSMC's 7nm process node. On the desktop, Intel can continue to be competitive by increasing power consumption to match what AMD is doing with Zen 2. This is simply not possible with power and cooling constrained laptop form factors.

We went back and looked at how many generations it took Intel to double the performance of the U-series. Based on the Cinebench R15 multithread results, the Core i7-1065G7 is roughly twice as fast as the dual-core Core i7-5600U of the Broadwell generation. So it took Intel about four years to double the performance on offer. Achieving this on a single generation is unknown in the CPU market, though, to be fair, AMD had struggled to break into the laptop market long enough that it was time to ship it since it has been Have really good CPUs for desktop systems for years.

With all of this added power, the Ryzen 7 4800U redefines what an ultra-portable laptop can do in practice. Before, you probably wouldn't have wanted to do any significant computing or code compilation on an ultraportable. In the future, however, this is the bar Intel (and ARM-based MacBooks in particular) must overcome.

The 4800U competes to some extent with H-series laptops and often comes close to or outperform current Intel offerings such as the Core i7-10750H. If you typically use your laptop for CPU heavy tasks, why choose a 15-inch, 5-pound system with limited battery life when a lightweight 13- or 14-inch system can do the same?

Of course, the 4800U and other U-series processors cannot completely replace the H-series offering. Parts of the Ryzen H-series are still faster and then there is the entire discrete GPU situation. 13-inch designs will soon run out of 80W GPUs, and that's where a bigger laptop can move forward.

Intel Tiger Lake CPUs are expected to arrive soon, which will put the company back in competition. Given such dominant performance from AMD, Tiger Lake will likely be more interested in catching up with Ryzen on this generation. In the meantime, AMD is already thinking of Zen 3, which isn't too far off.

It's an exciting time for laptop performance, we finally have serious competition and that is going to accelerate this market like we haven't seen in years. Tiger Lake laptops are just around the corner, more Ryzen 4000-based models, including ultraportables, and let's not forget that Apple is also developing its own (potentially devastating) ARM-based SoC for MacBooks.

We'll soon see how the holiday season market develops. And of course we will continue to do benchmarking.

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