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Intel claims major flaw in AMD Ryzen laptops

Intel has today accused AMD laptops of seeing a significant performance drop when operating on battery power.

Intel called a press briefing last Friday to show journalists research that suggests laptops using Ryzen 4000 processors see up to a 48% performance drop when unplugged from the mains. 

It is of course typical for laptops to see a weaker performance when unplugged from a power source, but Intel also claims 11th Gen Intel Core notebooks “provide great performance when plugged in AND when unplugged, away from AC power” with a noticeably less performance drop in similar testing conditions. 

Related: Best Laptop 2020

Intel presented its own benchmark data to back up such claims, putting various Intel Tiger Lake and Ryzen 4000 laptops through various benchmark tests and real-world tasks, including PCMark 10, SYSmark 25, converting files from Word to PDF and Outlook Mail Merge.

Intel claimed every test but one showed 11th Generation Intel Core processors to have improved performance efficiency when running unplugged away from the mains compared to the AMD Ryzen 4000. The results from the Cinebench benchmark test were bizarrely Intel’s only findings that failed to show this pattern.

That said, only the WebXPRT v3 Edge Browser performance test saw the significant 48% performance drop for AMD laptops. The PCMark 10 Applications Office 365 apparently saw a 38% decrease for AMD laptops operating on battery power, while the SYSmark 25 test saw a 30% drop. These are still substantial falls in performance however. 

It’s worth highlighting some potential concerns for the validity of such tests though. Intel only used eight laptops (four Intel, four AMD) for the benchmark tests, which is a pretty small sample to make such general, sweeping claims. And while substantial performance drops were evident for all four of the Ryzen portables in the benchmark tests, it was the Lenovo Xiaoxin (Ryzen 7 4800U) laptop which usually saw the worst results, and proved a big source of Intel’s performance claims. 

Related: Best Intel Processors

We conducted some tests of our own to see whether we could replicate Intel’s findings. While we don’t have multiple laptops to use, we do have the Dell XPS 13 with a Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor and a Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 with a AMD Ryzen 7 4800U processor. 

We used Geekbench 5 and PCMark 10 to test the two laptops, and compared how their results differed unplugged and plugged. As you can see below, we failed to find the same pattern in the Geekbench multi-core performance as Intel has claimed. There was larger performance drop (-35.84%) for the AMD drop in the PCMark 10 test, but the Intel Core i7-1165G7 also saw a substantial 19.28% fall too. 

Dell XPS 13 2020 (Intel Core i7-1165G7)

Plugged Unplugged Performance drop
Geekbench 5 (single) 1528 1497 – 2.03%
Geekbench 5 (multi) 5485 5122 – 6.62%
PCMark 10 4803 3877 -19.28%

Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 (AMD Ryzen 7 4800U)

Plugged Unplugged Performance drop
Geekbench 5 (single) 1092 981 – 10.16%
Geekbench 5 (multi) 5260 4959 – 5.72%
PCMark 10 5256 3372 – 35.84%

That said, we acknowledge that using just two laptops on one benchmark test isn’t exactly a fair analysis to determine how accurate Intel’s findings are. We just suggest taking Intel’s claims with a pinch of salt for now, at least until we are able to conduct further tests in upcoming laptop reviews. 

What we do know is that both Intel Tiger Lake and Ryzen 4000 processors have so far proven that they excel at basic tasks when housed inside well-made ultrabooks, so Intel’s new findings may not be the slam dunk they hoped for, even if it is very useful information. How do you feel about Intel’s claims? Let us know at @trustedreviews on Twitter.

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