AMD's Latest Mobile CPU Is Really Freaking Fast

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Just when I was starting to eye the new MacBook Pro for its incredibly fast processing speeds, AMD just pulled me back to the Windows side with its Ryzen 9 5980HS. Like its latest desktop processors, AMD took advantage of its Zen 3 architecture and brought the same impressive performance to its newest H-series mobile processors, dumped in a lot more cache to improve processing times even further, and the result is worthy of a chef’s kiss. AMD has officially leveled the playing field with Intel on both the desktop and mobile front, and it’s time more laptop makers took note.

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To see how the Ryzen 9 5980HS’s performance compared to other laptops Gizmodo has reviewed in the past, I selected a few models with processors that were the most equivalent to Asus’ newest 2-in-1 gaming laptop, the ROG Flow X13—the only laptop I had on-hand with AMD’s top-of-the-line mobile processor. It’s built for portability rather than balls to the wall performance,
thanks to the GTX 1650 Max-Q graphics card inside, so it’s basically an ultra-slim laptop that’s lighter and thinner than the MacBook Pro. But the GPU is actually a hindrance when it comes to playing video games; it just doesn’t have the juice to keep up with the CPU.

In an ideal world, I’d be able to test exactly the same system with just the CPU and motherboard swapped out, but laptops have much more nuanced designs than desktops, and not all laptop makers, also known as OEMs, have both an Intel and AMD version of the same laptops. (Lenovo is currently the exception.)

As such, my test systems including the following:

  • Asus ROG Flow X13: AMD Ryzen 9 5980HS @ 3.0-4.8 GHz, 8-cores/16-threads, GTX 1650 Max-Q, 32GB DRAM
  • Asus ROG Zephyrus G14: AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS @ 3.0-4.3GHz, 8-cores/16-threads, RTX 2060 Max-Q, 16GB DRAM
  • Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7: AMD Ryzen 7 4800U @ 1.8-4.2 GHz, 8-cores/16-threads, with Radeon Graphics, 16GB DRAM
  • MSI Prestige 14 Evo: Intel Core i7-1185G7 @ 3.00 GHz, 4-cores/8-threads, with Iris Xe Graphics, 16GB DRAM
  • MSI Creator 15: Intel Core i7-10875H @ 2.13-5.10 GHz, 8-cores/16-threads, RTX 2060, 16GB DRAM
  • Dell XPS 17 9700: Intel Core i7-10875H @ 2.13-5.10 GHz, 8-cores/16-threads, RTX 2060 Max-Q, 16GB DRAM
  • Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch: M1 processor @ 3.20 GHz, 8-cores (4 “big,” 4 “little”), 16GB DRAM

Because some of these systems were tested at different times, most of the charts below don’t include every single system. For instance, the Intel Core i7-10875H from the Dell XPS laptop was included in the Geekbench 5 results, not the MSI Creator 15, because Geekbench 5 data was not available for that system. Data from either Core i7-10875H system was not included in the Cinebench results because no data was available. Each graph is labeled accordingly with what Core i7-10875H system was used, as appropriate—but overall the Ryzen 9 5980HS is compared with at least one other Intel, AMD, and Apple system.

Let’s start with raw CPU performance. If looking at these benchmarks doesn’t make you go “shiiiiiiiiiit,” I’m not sure what will.

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The Ryzen 9 5980HS has the highest multi-core benchmarks I’ve ever seen in a mobile processor. Like, it’s not even a contest between it and the other Intel/Apple CPUs. Ryzen 9 5980HS way out performs both the 8-core i7-10875H and Apple M1 in Geekbench 5 and Cinebench R23—especially in Cinebench R23.

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AMD comes pretty damn close to Intel and Apple in single core performance, too. In Cinebench, the Ryzen 9 5980HS is only six points behind the M1, yet has about a 170-point lead over the Core i7-1185G7. It doesn’t fare as well in Geekbench 5, falling behind the M1 by about 200 points, but the Ryzen 9 5980HS is only 30 points behind the Core i7-1185G7.

However, putting the Flow X13 laptop into turbo mode pushes it past Apple’s M1 by about 15 points, making it the leader of the pack here. Not every laptop has a turbo mode, though, so for the sake of keeping things as consistent as possible from laptop to laptop, I don’t do the main testing in turbo mode—either balanced or performance, depending on what’s available. The MSI Prestige 14 Evo only has a balanced mode, for instance.

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I did run the Ryzen 9 5980HS against Intel’s Core i9-10885H in Geekbench 4, because Geekbench 4 results were the only results I had on hand for that Intel mobile processor; AMD was about 300 points higher than Intel in single core performance, and about 2500 points higher in multicore.

The Ryzen 9 5980HS also did decently well in our Civilization VI AI test, out-classing both Apple’s M1 and Intel’s Core i7-1185G7, but, oddly, falling behind its Ryzen 9 4900HS predecessor. (Geekbench 4 puts the Ryzen 9 5980HS ahead of the Ryzen 9 4900HS by 1100 points in the single core test, and over 3000 in the multi-core.) That could be due to DRAM speed or memory timings, or even clock speeds, and without re-testing the Ryzen 9 4900HS it’s hard to say for sure.

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The oddity of that result does highlight something about AMD’s newest mobile processor, and processors in general—how a laptop is configured can produce noticeable differences, even if the basic spec list is the same. Anything from how the display is tilted to thermal design and airflow can change the performance of a similarly specced system. If the screen isn’t tilted at just the right angle on the Flow X13, you can gain an entire minute of rendering time in Blender. No joke!

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But all the raw power of the CPU really shines though in some of our other tests, Blender specifically. Rendering the same 3D image in Blender took about six and a half minutes for the Ryzen 9 5980HS, which is the fastest out of the six processors on the chart above. AMD’s processor also performed admirably well transcoding a 4K video to 1080p, 30fps in Handbrake, although it did fall behind the Ryzen 9 4900HS slightly. However, putting the Flow X13 in turbo mode drops the transcoding time just enough for the Ryzen 9 5980HS to be a few seconds faster than the Ryzen 9 4900HS.

AMD’s Ryzen 9 5980HS also performs well exporting an MP4 video in Adobe Premiere Pro to an HEVC codec. Although about 20 seconds slower than the Core i7-1185G7, it was still much faster than Apple’s M1.

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Not only is the Ryzen 9 5980HS one of the fastest mobile gaming processors out there, but it’s also one of the best at handling creative workflow tasks thanks to its excellent single and multi-core performance. Getting to finally see it in action makes me all the more excited to see this processor paired with an RTX 3060 or higher. AMD tied Intel in gaming performance with its Ryzen 5000 series desktop processors, and I bet it’ll see the same results once I get my hands on a few new laptops with RTX 30-series cards.

The thing holding back the Ryzen 9 5980HS, which I talk more about in my Asus ROG Flow X13 review, is the GTX 1650. Not even the ultra slim design causes any thermal issues (except for the screen tilt!), so I’m super stoked to see what this CPU can do in a design meant to really show it off.

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Staff Reporter, Reviews at Gizmodo. Formerly PC Gamer, Maximum PC.

DISCUSSION

misterenigma
UI 2.0

I haven’t tried the Ryzen 9 5980 but I do have a Ryzen 5 4500U laptop and I’m really impressed.

It can handle quite a bit of gaming just on integrated graphics alone. For newer AAA games, I can play them on medium settings and around 30 fps.

So I can only imagine what the 5980 can pull.