AMD thinks it can build a better cheap laptop with 10 hours of battery life

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Just a few years ago, you could barely find a laptop with an AMD chip. Then they started to sprout into some of the best laptops you can buy. Now AMD says its chips will be in 200 different laptop models in 2022 – and with the just-revealed ‘Mendocino’ announced at Computex 2022, it’s trying to ‘redefine the everyday laptop as a budget machine with decent battery life.

We don’t know if it’ll heed that notion, but what it’s promising seems like a good start: a new series of Ryzen laptop chips that combine four latest-gen Zen 2 processor cores with the latest RDNA graphics. 2 on TSMC’s 6nm process to deliver over 10 hours of battery life on one charge – all for a price between $399 and $699. This includes both Windows machines and Chromebooks.

Picture: AMD

Now you’re probably wondering: what does 10 a.m. actually mean? It could mean anything; manufacturers quote outrageous estimates of battery life all the time. But we at least have a frame of reference here: “Most people are used to four, five, six hours on a laptop in the $399 to $699 space,” says Robert Hallock, technical marketing manager at AMD. “At a minimum, we want 10 hours on these laptops.”

If I’m being honest, the announcement gives me a bit of deja vu – ten years ago, at the same Computex show, AMD was similarly trying to launch a quad-core chip with better battery life and better graphics as a way to stop being seen as the cheap alternative to Intel.

But back then, laptop makers weren’t taking the business seriously. Now, it’s clear the company has clout as these manufacturers introduce laptop after AMD-powered laptop. This includes an AMD said to have the longest battery life ever measured on a recent benchmark (the HP Elitebook 865 G9, one particular configuration of which managed 26.1 hours of battery life on MobileMark 2018), and a range of new gaming machines with both AMD processors and AMD graphics, which carry the “AMD Advantage” brand.

One catches the eye: Corsair is releasing a Razer this year by launching its first-ever gaming laptop, the Corsair Voyager, an AMD exclusive.

Corsair’s new Voyager laptop does indeed have a Touch Bar with the Elgato Stream Deck software built-in.
Picture: AMD

It’s the “first laptop ever designed to be a true mobile streaming solution,” says AMD gaming boss Frank Azor, thanks in part to a secondary touchscreen that acts like an Elgato Stream Deck that you can easily carry. (Corsair bought both Elgato and Origin PC a few years ago.) The primary display is a 16-inch 240Hz panel with FreeSync Premium.

Zoom on a real Corsair Voyager.
Screenshot by Sean Hollister/The Verge

There’s also a new 16-inch Lenovo Legion Slim 7 with a 99.99Wh battery at 17mm thick, a non-slim version that has force sensors built into its WASD keys, and a new version of the HP Omen 16 which, while essentially identical physically, is the first laptop to come with a feature called AMD SmartShift Eco which can automatically switch to integrated graphics for longer battery life in a game – 60% more long in League of Legendsthey claim.

The fine print suggests that AMD cheated a bit there, though, by lowering the graphics to medium and setting the laptop to “Best Battery” mode (vs. High Spec and “Best Performance”). to get this result.

Similarly, AMD touted earlier in the presentation that the ultra-light 2.2-pound Asus ZenBook S13 “can play triple-A games at 60fps on average at 1080p” using Godfall as an example, but the fine print shows that AMD ran Godfall at low settings and with FidelityFX Super Resolution enabled – so it wasn’t really rendering a native 1080p. (FSR certainly has its uses, though.)

Still, if an ultra-slim laptop like the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 Pro X can pull off the numbers you see below, even at low spec, that seems like a pretty decent result.

266FPS for League of Legends at low 1080p, 59fps for Shadow of the Tomb Raider, etc.
Picture: AMD

This packs AMD Ryzen 6800HS and Radeon 680M graphics, similar to the chip that Steam Deck rivals will be bringing to their portable gaming PCs starting later this year. Hopefully we can test a number of these claims by then.

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