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Ctrl+Alt+Delete: AMD Ryzen 6000 laptops will delight gamers

OPINION: AMD has entered a new generation for its laptop processors, as it’s finally launched the Ryzen 6000 chips which are gradually rolling out across the globe. 

AMD loaned me the new Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED laptop, packing a Ryzen 7 6800U chip. I’ll be publishing a review of that laptop in the coming weeks, but I want to discuss my early thoughts on the new AMD processor first. 

Before digging into the benchmark data, I was to clarify that I’m only using one laptop to collect data for each processor listed below: the Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED for the Ryzen, Dell XPS 13 OLED for the Intel Core i7-1185G7, Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 for the Intel Core i7-1260P and the MacBook Air for the Apple M1

This is important to bear in mind, since factors such as cooling solutions can have a major influence on the performance. As a result, these findings shouldn’t be considered definitive, but still show a rough estimate of what kind of performance levels these chips are capable of. 

With that out of the way, let’s look at the CPU benchmark scores below. 

Ryzen 7 6800UIntel Core i7-1185G7Intel Core i7-1260PApple M1
Geekbench 5 Single / Multi1482 / 75091465 / 54241703 / 91781731 / 7308
PCMark 10582350425418N/A

As you can see, the Ryzen 7 6800U performed well, albeit not to ground-breaking levels. Its multi-core performance edges the fantastic Apple M1 chip, but isn’t quite fast enough to keep up with Intel’s new 12th Generation processor. Single-performance is also a little underwhelming compared to the cutting-edge competition. 

So while there’s certainly a performance jump since the previous AMD generation, it’s still not quite good enough to beat its main competitors. Interestingly enough, AMD didn’t put its main focus on the CPU speeds when marketing its new chip – instead the company decided to champion its integrated graphics. 

For those unfamiliar, a processor’s integrated graphics are what helps the processor to render images. The more powerful the integrated graphics, the more capable the laptop is at editing high-resolution video and playing games with a smooth performance. 

However, integrated graphics are generally considered to offer a weak performance, with laptop manufacturers often opting for separate (aka discrete) GPUs that boost the graphics performance substantially, while also consequentially driving a laptop’s price and weight up. 

However, it looks like AMD has made the integrated graphics of its new laptop processors its number one priority for the Ryzen 6000 generation. As you can see with the 3DMark benchmark scores below (which evaluates a PC’s graphics performance) AMD is boasting a big lead over Intel. 

Ryzen 7 6800UIntel Core i7-1185G7Intel Core i7-1260P
3DMark Time Spy227014591745

But benchmark data is only really useful for direct comparisons – what does it actually mean for the real-time performance? 

To answer that question, I conducted a couple of game benchmark tests on both the Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED and Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360. Firstly, I used the Horizon Zero Dawn in-game benchmark at a 1080p resolution, using both the ‘ultimate’ and ‘balanced’ graphics settings. 

Ryzen 7 6800UIntel Core i7-1260P
Horizon Zero Dawn (ultimate)22fps11fps
Horizon Zero Dawn (balanced)28fps16fps

As you can see above, the AMD chip recorded substantially superior results. You’ll get a choppy performance when playing at the ‘ultimate’ graphics settings, but lowering it down to ‘balanced’ allows for a smooth and playable performance. Considering Horizon Zero Dawn is a fairly demanding open-world game, it’s remarkable that the AMD chip can get it up and running without the need of a discrete GPU. 

Compare this to the Intel Core i71260P chip found in the Samsung laptop. Even when lowering the graphics settings, it could only achieve a 16fps performance, resulting in a horribly choppy experience. 

Ryzen 7 6800UIntel Core i7-1260P
Dirt Rally (ultimate)38fps30fps
Dirt Rally  (medium)72fps60fps

I had similar findings with Dirt Rally. While this 2015 racer was playable on the Samsung laptop, the performance wasn’t quite as good as the Asus ZenBook S 13 – the Ryzen-powered portable managed a frame rate as high as 72fps which is very impressive. 

I, unfortunately, haven’t had time to test more games on both of these PCs, but the early signs indicate that the AMD Ryzen 6000 chips excel at gaming, which is no surprise considering they’re using RDNA 2 graphics architecture. 

To be fair to Intel, it’s worth noting that it does offer more powerful Alder Lake chips that are more capable than the Intel Core i7-1260P, but I still felt that this was a fair test considering the laptops on use had similar price points and form factors. 

We will be testing more and more laptops from both the Ryzen 6000 and Intel 12th Generation over the coming months to get a better grasp of the key differences. But the early tests seem to indicate that AMD laptops are the way to go if you want to be able to play PC games on the go. 

Ctrl+Alt+Delete is our weekly computing-focussed opinion column where we delve deeper into the world of computers, laptops, components, peripherals and more. Find it on Trusted Reviews every Saturday afternoon. 

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