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Bristol Ridge: AMD announces gaming super chips for laptops

AMD’s new line-up of laptop processors might finally be the chips that let it break into the gaming laptop market.

That’s the line at least, and with the announcement of HP’s premium Envy x360 laptop, which runs using a chip from AMD’s range, it might actually translate from marketing speak into products you’ll see on store shelves.

Related: Best laptop to buy in 2016

Laptops with the chips will have ‘7th generation FX’ branding. Internally AMD’s been refreing to the chips as Bristol Ridge. Updates to the chips are largely by-the-numbers but there are a few things here that are genuinely interesting for buyers.

For starters, gaming performance should be very good. Up against the equivalent notebook-specification Intel Core i7-6500U, AMD reckons their chip can achieve around 23% better gaming performance – based on benchmark scores – thanks to a superior on-chip graphics processor. While this won’t make a difference to the latest high-end games, it could make all the difference when playing older titles and more graphically simple games, such as MMOs.
AMD 7th gen FX performance
It’s not quite up to Intel’s performance when it comes to single-core processor speeds. But it’s not far off, with AMD’s internal benchmark scores marking it as 5% slower than Intel on PC Mark 8 Home. It’s also worth noting these processors will support AMD FreeSync for tear-free gaming when connected to an external monitor that supports it, which is a handy addition for twitchy gamers.

Related: AMD FreeSync review

It’s worth bearing in mind that the benchmarks AMD is citing are based on the top-end processors at their maximum TDP (thermal design power) of 35W, and actual performance will vary depending on your laptop manufacturer and how they’ve decided to tweak the chip.

AMD looks to be gaining ground, and it was keen to point out in its announcement that it’s actually a month ahead of its own schedule in bringing the 7th generation FX chips to laptop manufacturers.

The company was fairly sparse on further in-depth technical details in the press call attended by Trusted Reviews, but says it will be releasing more information closer to the chips’ official launch at Computex at the end of May.

Bristol Ridge’s success will partly come down to our own benchmarks to see whether the processors live up to AMD’s predictions. But its success will ultimately depend on whether laptop makers put them into their higher-tier laptops. AMD promises a few of what it calls ‘design wins’ in the coming month, and it seems confident that we might finally see proper premium laptops with AMD inside.

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