In February, AMD officially launched the new ones Ryzen 6000 series mobile CPU. The focus of the launch was to improve performance in thin and light notebooks, with the aim of bringing them to have the same performance as the bulkier models and evidently equipped with a more effective dissipation system. The first solutions of the new generation to arrive on the market were those of the H series, or CPUs equipped with a TDP of 35W or higher, while now it is the turn of the low-consumption models, the so-called U series.
I’ve been trying the new one for a few days Asus Zenbook S13 OLED equipped with the AMD Ryzen 7 6800U SoC and in this article we will analyze its behavior by comparing it with the Ryzen 7 5800U of last year’s Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 and the Core i7 1165 G7 with Xe graphics of the Zenbook Flip S (here our review). We chose these three models because all three feature a similarly sized chassis and comparable heat dissipation capacity.
THE TEST NOTEBOOK
As just said, the notebook on which I tested the new AMD platform is a ASUS Zenbook S13 OLED. So let’s talk about a product characterized by very small dimensions both in terms of thickness, 14.9 mm at the thickest point, and in terms of weight, only 1.1 kg for the version with touch display, which drop to 1.0 kg in the standard one. Portability is therefore undoubtedly the watchword when we think of a product of this kind, a feature that however is often in contrast with the need for high performance.
In general I must say that this Zenbook S13 is very successful, both from an aesthetic point of view and in terms of assembly, materials and solidity. Despite the limited thickness and weight, in fact, we always have the feeling of having an excellent quality product in our hands, finished with attention and attention to detail.
Very nice too the display, which offers an aspect ratio of 16:10, therefore slightly more squared than the classic 16: 9, and a resolution of 2880×1800 pixels. With these characteristics, despite the diagonal measuring only 13.3 inches, we have a panel that offers a very high pixel density and, consequently, a lot of space to manage our windows.
Under the body, as already mentioned, there is a processor AMD Ryzen 7 6800U with new AMD Radeon 680M integrated graphics. All accompanied by 16 GB of LPDDR5 RAM and a 1 TB PCIe 4 SSD. The connectivity component is linked to the MediaTek MTT7922 modem which offers compatibility with WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 networks.
Speaking of physical connectivity we have 3 USB-C Gen 4 and the audio jack. Could more have been done? Maybe, but the very small thickness and the compact dimensions are quite limiting from this point of view. Luckily the three USB-Cs are remarkably fast and therefore it is possible to expand the equipment without major limits by purchasing a hub or adapters.
The battery is finally from 67 Wh which, again considering the overall dimensions, are by no means few. The charger in the package is 65W and, given the consumption which I will talk about shortly, it can charge the notebook even when it is fully loaded.
RYZEN 7 6800U
Let’s talk about ours in detail Ryzen 7 6800U. As already mentioned above it is a low consumption SoC and accredited by a TDP configurable between 15 and 28W. At the base of the CPU we find 8 Core (16 Thread) made with a production process TSMC 6-nanometer FinFET. It takes advantage of the FP7 socket and obviously does not have the multiplier unlocked for any overclocking.
Despite this we still have a solution that, by default, offers a Maximum clock in Boost of 4.7 GHz and a base clock of 2.7 GHz. The Tjmax of the CPU is 95 degrees, L1 cache is 512KB, L2 is 4MB while L3 is 16MB. For the first time in several generations we then have one new integrated graphics card which is equipped with 12 graphics cores, up to 2GB of memory and an operating frequency that can reach 2200 MHz. This is the Radeon 680M which should bring the graphics performance of these new Ryzen to match the competition of the Intel Iris Xe.
As pointed out in the announcement, the new Ryzen 7 6800U is based on the updated Zen3 + architecture combined with an integrated RDNA2 graphics component. These are accompanied by a hardware platform capable of supporting all the latest standards in terms of connectivity and expandability. So DDR5 and LPDDR5, PCIe 4.0, USB 4.0 up to 40 Gbps, WiFi 6E DBS and Bluetooth 5.2.
These are essentially the highlights of the latest AMD “Rembrandt” notebook platform, we could end up here but obviously now that we have the opportunity to get our hands on it, the time has come to find out how all these innovations translate into practice. Let’s go immediately to discover the performance in the CPU, GPU and autonomy and consumption side.
THE 8 CORE MATTER
As I have already mentioned at the beginning We will compare the performance of the new Ryzen 7 6800U with that of its predecessor and Intel counterpart, a Core i7 1165G7 with Iris Xe graphics, unfortunately I have not yet had the opportunity to try a product with a 12th generation Intel platform but soon we should be able to get our hands on a notebook with Core i7 1280P and therefore we will not fail to update this data with new reviews.
As for today’s tests, I have carried out some benchmarks that involve a single core as well as others that instead exploit all the cores of the different solutions. Let’s start with a great classic, that is Cinebench R20 and R23. In both cases, as you can see from the graph below, the new Ryzen 7 6800U offers important improvements in terms of performance compared to its predecessor, the 5800U, both for what concerns the multi-core and for single-core. Compared to the Intel solution, however, we have scores in single-core still slightly lower, albeit very close, and multi-core instead decidedly higher, almost double, and mainly due to the fact that the AMD CPU offers double the cores compared to the Intel one. .
Another quite significant test is the one related to the video editing of Procyonin which a script is executed that performs various operations using the software Premiere Pro. Also in this case the new AMD solution surpasses both competitors with a net gain on the previous generation and a much smaller gap on the 11th generation Intel CPU.
In general, therefore, when we look at operations and tests involving a high number of cores, the Ryzen 7 6800U is obviously ahead of the competition. This is the same reason that even a 4K video conversion with Handbrake is completed faster than the platforms we are comparing it with.
But I could not not go to also analyze clock frequencies and temperatures in more detail inside the body. As always, I then launched my stress test for the CPU and recorded the data using the sensors on the motherboard and the HWinfo software. The resulting graph is the one you find below.
As we can easily see from the temperatures reached, the tuning designed for the notebook gives a good idea of what are the maximum performances obtainable with this platform on the basis of a very thin and light design. We therefore imagine that as the size of the chassis and the dissipation system increases, these performances can only improve.
In fact, a temperatures peak around 95 degrees which is maintained for a few minutes and then drops to around 90, with an average frequency on all cores equal to 2.5 GHz, which is the equivalent of the base clock of the CPU. At the same time, the initial peak of 95 degrees corresponds to a TDP of 30W which, after a few seconds, drops until it settles at 25 degrees, where it remains for the duration of the test.
Taking into account the performances recorded by the previous generation Ryzen platforms, I expected exactly this type of result, perhaps with slightly lower temperatures but nothing more or less in terms of frequencies and TDP. On the other hand, as mentioned earlier, we are dealing with a really thin laptop and the space available does not allow us to aim too high with the tuning.
THE INTEGRATED GPU NOW MAKES SENSE
And here we are talking about what is in my opinion the most interesting aspect of these new AMD platforms, namely the integrated GPU. For the Ryzen 7 6800U we pass from the previous generation Vega 8 to a Radeon 680M. An update that radically changes the graphics performance of these new SoCs, effectively equalizing the performance of the Intel counterpart which, with its own Iris Xe, had actually carved an important gap between itself and the competition. We will then see if the colossus of Santa Clara will be able to regain advantage with the new Intel Arc.
In the graph below you will find the results of some benchmarks relating to a series of more or less recent titles. In all cases the resolution was set to FullHD and the details are at the lowest possible level. Performance has improved, yes, but we can’t expect to get acceptable performance beyond these settings, or at least not with the selected titles.
The comment on the graph is very simple, the numbers speak for themselves: the new Radeon 680M outperforms the Iris Xe of the Core i7 1165G7. As above I would have liked to use a 12th generation platform but not having it available we have to settle for this; we will update the results as soon as possible.
Compared to the Vega 8 of the R7 5800U there is no history, the gap is clear and obviously plays in favor of the newer platform. In short, there has been a step forward and it is absolutely evident. Thinking that these titles could be “playable” on a product of this size was absolutely unthinkable until a couple of years ago.
WHERE SHOULD IT BE IMPROVED?
As mentioned there are some situations and operations in which this Ryzen 7 6800U has made great strides but also others in which it already excelled and has been confirmed. Similarly we have though still some situations in which it is certainly possible to improve and where a pledge is still paid towards Intel platforms. For example, I’m talking about the most basic productivity, that is the one made up of mail, web browsing and common applications such as those of the Office suite.
You can also easily guess from the graphs above how, in these situations, the new AMD CPU still has more than sufficient performance but not up to the level of what was shown above on the occasion of more stringent tests related to multi-core and GPU. At the moment, therefore, for what is the simplest productivity such as mail management, the creation of Power Point presentations or simple Web browsing, it could be even more useful to turn to an Intel solution, obviously at the same cost.
We close this analysis with a judgment on consumption and therefore on autonomy. Obviously, since we are talking about the review of the SoC and not the notebook, the data that I report here is not compared with that of the other solutions. In fact, there would be too many variables to influence the comparison: from the brightness of the panel, to the size of the battery up to the consumption of the different WiFi modems.
Having said that, in my view, AMD has done a great job in terms of optimizing consumption. With standard use, display brightness at 50% and power saving mode set to balanced I was indeed able to cover the whole day without major problems. Speaking instead of streaming video playback with the Netflix app, you can easily reach 10-11 hours of use, which become almost 16 if we talk about video playback locally, without connection.
These are undoubtedly interesting results which, although not directly comparable with the models available to me, are better results than practically all Ryzen solutions tested to date.