LAS VEGAS—AMD made waves last year with its powerful Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7, and Ryzen Threadripper CPUs designed for high-end desktops, offering comparable performance to Intel's best processors at equivalent or lower prices. But the company appears to want to shake up the entire market for business and consumer laptops, so it's also introducing CPUs for workstations as well as the Chromebooks and cheap 2-in-1 convertibles that are now a staple of Best Buy aisles.
The complete Ryzen mobile lineup, unveiled on Sunday ahead of CES, includes two new low-end Ryzen 3 U-series processors, along with the previously announced Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 mobile chips. The Ryzen 3 2300U has four cores and a max clock speed of 3.4GHz, while the Ryzen 3 2200U is nearly identical but with two cores.
All of the U-series models are paired with integrated Vega graphics cards, but more interesting to power users is AMD's unveiling of the first discrete GPUs for laptops based on the Vega architecture. Current Vega GPUs for desktops are designed to compete with Nvidia's 10-series GPUs, but they have much higher power requirements, leading to awkward solutions like the giant power brick included with the Dell Inspiron 27 2770.
AMD offered few details about the discrete mobile Vega models, other than that they'll be arriving in gaming laptops sometime this year. So far any AMD-powered laptops have been scarce, limited mainly to a single model each from HP, Lenovo, and Acer. But at least Acer appears ready to experiment: It announced a version of the Nitro 5 entry-level gaming laptop last week that has a new AMD Radeon RX560 GPU, so perhaps that's a harbinger of a Vega-powered model on the horizon.
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Finally, AMD hasn't forgot about corporate users. The company also announced its new Ryzen Pro mobile lineup, which is similar to the consumer Ryzen CPUs but adds features like chip-level security that corporate IT departments need. AMD boasts that Ryzen Pro models with Vega integrated graphics cards will have more than twice the graphics power of eighth-generation Intel Core i7 mobile chips with integrated GPUs. They'll be available in the second quarter, AMD said.
Even as AMD seeks to put these new Ryzen and Vega chips in the laptops of consumers and corporate types, it also teased its next graphics architecture, called Navi, as well as second-generation Ryzen desktop and laptop chips. All of this, plus the imminent arrival of laptops powered by Qualcomm's smartphone processors, means that 2018 is already shaping up to be another exciting year for non-Intel CPU and GPU improvements. Now all AMD has to do is convince PC makers to put its chips in more models.
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