AMD @ CES 2020

AMD’s presentation has concluded over an hour ago and the presentation of near-term solutions felt like a mixed bag. The number of leaks leading up to this moment didn’t leave many surprises. The 15W and 45W TDP mobile parts may or may not be the answer to Intel’s dominant position in the mobile space. The “almost ready” AMD SmartShift technology, which will support the Ryzen 4000-series mobile platforms, appears to provide a balanced compromise which will enable solid performance consistency if it works as advertised. Support for LPDDR4X and mobile variants of the Navi GPUs rounded out a good effort for attempting to close existing performance or battery-powered operational gaps. Hopefully, a vendor other than Microsoft will have the courage to release a like-for-like configuration for 10th Gen Intel and Ryzen 4000-based laptops to allow customers to really see how these competing platforms stack up.

The Radeon RX 5600 XT announcement was a non-surprise thanks to sufficient leaks that were fairly accurate. The “Ultimate 1080p Gaming” graphical solution comes in at the going rate of the nVidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti; $279 (USD) or more if the current state of affairs for the RX 5500 and RX 5700 series is any indication. Contrary to last year’s RX 5700 announcement, where AMD was fairly candid with how their product stacked up against the RTX 2060 and RTX 2070, the limited numbers that were provided felt more like something that their competitor(s) would present. The partially painted picture isn’t a bad thing. The lack of enthusiasm from those in attendance during this part of the presentation was tangible in the livestream.

The near-term release of the $3,990 (USD) Ryzen Threadripper 3990X CPU appeared to be of the most interest to those in attendance. Those with sufficient funding in their pockets and a real need for 64 cores to brute force the available computational workloads will certainly be rewarded if the V-Ray performance improvements carry over to other extremely multi-threaded workloads. Availability may be a problem if the current state of the Threadripper 3000-series and the mainstream Ryzen 9 3950X CPUs are evaluated. We’ll be keeping an eye out on the market pricing of these top of the line processors once they launch.

We know it’s too early for AMD to bring about the “new hotness” that many are speculating about on social media. However, an early silicon demo of Zen 3 (or whatever potential products await us in Q3 or Q4 of 2020) might have better demonstrated to the audience that there really is more to be excited about this year.

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