AMD reveals a full stack of shiny new Ryzen laptop processors, supercharged with AI

Hot on the heels of a catty attack from Intel, AMD has just announced the next lineup of Ryzen processors that we’ll be seeing in next year’s best laptops – a whopping nine new chips, all bearing the Ryzen 8040 name and equipped with AMD’s ‘XDNA’ AI technology.

The new processors, codenamed ‘Hawk Point’, are already on their way to laptop manufacturers and will be available in new devices in early 2024. All of them will use AMD’s Zen 4 CPU core architecture and RDNA 3 graphics architecture, with the flagship being the Ryzen 9 8945HS (catchy, I know). I was pleased to see that AMD isn’t ditching the low-spec chips either, with a quad-core Ryzen 3 8440U set to bring the XDNA neural engine to more affordable laptops.

While a lot of the press release from AMD was quite focused on enterprise applications of on-chip AI (rather than consumer use cases), the key takeaway here – other than the fact that we’re getting a bunch of new chips – is that local AI is about to become a lot more widespread.

Bot in your laptop

AMD already introduced its neural processing unit (NPU) in the Ryzen 7040 series, and it represented an important step forward in the expansion of local AI. For the uninitiated, ‘local’ AI refers to on-chip machine learning capabilities, letting you run AI-powered workloads locally – as opposed to popular AI tools like ChatGPT, which currently use cloud computing for users to access them from their devices.

There are plenty of advantages to on-chip AI: for starters, it won’t require a mandatory internet connection to use, since there’s no cloud server involved. Keeping things on your device (in this case, a spate of new Ryzen laptops from key manufacturers like Asus, Acer, and Lenovo) also helps mitigate some security concerns surrounding AI, since you won’t need to upload any data to an external platform.

The Ryzen 8040 news came alongside an ‘AI roadmap’ from AMD, detailing that 2024 will also play host to the next-gen ‘Strix Point’ processors – which, importantly, will feature the second-generation XDNA 2 NPU. AMD promises ‘more than 3x generative AI NPU performance’ compared to the first-gen XDNA NPU, a big step up if Team Red can deliver.

Setting Strix Point aside, the upcoming Hawk Point chips look very impressive. AMD has claimed that the chips offer a 1.4x performance uptick in generative AI workloads compared to the Ryzen 7040 series, and also provided some comparative figures to Intel’s current i9-13900H, noting that the flagship 8040 chip should outperform its Intel counterpart in virtually every area. Needless to say, these could be some of the best processors around, and I’m excited to get my hands on one of these new laptops.

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