6nm Mainstream Mobile Zen 2 Laptop Chip Coming in Q4

side by side Big desktop update later in the yearAMD is also using this year’s Computex to announce an update to the lower segment of its mobile phone lineup. In the fourth quarter of this year, the company will roll out a new chip codenamed “Mendocino,” targeting mainstream Windows and ChromeOS laptops. With 4 Zen 2 cores and 2 RDNA graphics, the relatively small chip is aimed at laptops in the $399 to $699 range.

Based on intended market segment, AMD Mendocino (no relation to Intel) is eventually positioned as the successor to a mix of low-end AMD SoCs, including the bottom end of the Ryzen mobile package (such as the Ryzen 5300U) as well as Ryzen C chips.. Mainstream laptops are a huge part of the market by volume, and for both good and bad reasons, they’ve always been an area where AMD has done well for itself. And while the current shortage of chips has not been fully resolved, AMD is finally in a position to update the lower end of its APU lineup with some newer hardware built on a newer manufacturing process, replacing its existing patchwork that consists mostly of Picasso ( 4C) 12nm Zen +) existing SKUs.

AMD Mainstream Mobile architectures
Anand Tech Mendocino artist
(Ryzen 3000C)
(Ryzen 3000C)
CPU engineering Zain 2 Zain + Zain (1)
CPU cores 4C/8T 4C/8T 2C/4T
GPU architecture RDNA2 vega vega
GPU cores Unavailable 10 3
memory LPDDR5 DDR4 DDR4
Litho TSMC N6 GloFo 12nm GloFo 14nm

As AMD revealed this evening, the Mendocino is a small, efficient SoC designed for what the company considers mainstream laptops. The core specs are an interesting mix of hardware – on the CPU side, there are 4 Zen 2 CPU cores (not Zen 3), and on the GPU side, the chip will come with an integrated RDNA2 GPU.

Seeing AMD planning to mint a new Zen 2-based APU in late 2022 is initially an unusual announcement, especially since the company has already entered two generations of mobile Zen 3. . Architecturally, the CPU assemblers (CCXes) in Zen 3 are optimized for 8C designs; When AMD needs fewer cores than that (eg the Ryzen 3 5400U), they used their salvaged 8C templates. For the Zen 2, on the other hand, the native CCX has a size of 4, allowing AMD to quickly (and inexpensively) design a SoC based on existing IP blocks, rather than the proper 4C Zen 3 CCX architecture.

Meanwhile, the RDNA2 GPU is still AMD’s cutting edge. Unlike the CPU core count, AMD doesn’t reveal the expected number of GPU cores/CUs here, but given the target market, it won’t be very many – so we don’t expect Mendocino’s execution to be particularly fast. However, it provides AMD designers with the company’s latest and most efficient graphics IP addresses, and it also gives them a chance to take advantage of support for the latest video codecs. There is something more important than it may first appear, as AMD needs to ensure that the new APU is able to fully accelerate video encoding and decoding of video conferencing software. The Ryzen 6000 Mobile supports everything even AV1 decoding, so it’s plausible that Mendocino is the same.

Mendocino’s feed will be LPDDR5 memory. At this point, AMD doesn’t say if it will be a dual-channel (64-bit) or four-channel (128-bit) memory bus, and while the latter is likely, given its target market segment, it should not be taken for granted.

Overall, the new chip looks like AMD’s Aerith APU (codename: Van Gogh), a semi-custom chip used in Valve’s Steam Deck portable console. But while Aerith is built on a 7nm TSMC process, Mendocino is built on a 6nm TSMC, which is the same process as the Ryzen Mobile 6000 family. So despite the high-level architectural similarities, at least the Mendocino is an Aerith shrink/shrink port. .

AMD’s big boost for Mendocino, along with updating the lower end of their lineup, is improving the battery life of its low-end laptops. AMD expects Mendocino laptops to be able to reach a battery life of more than 10 hours in “mixed use” scenarios, which would be a marked improvement over some lower-end laptops on the market today. Compared to Picasso-based SKUs this chip will replace, Mendocino benefits from significantly newer power management technologies which AMD was first developed for the Ryzen 6000 Mobile family. Moving to TSMC 6nm should help, too, although how much ultimately depends on where AMD chooses to register the CPU and GPU cores.

Wrapping things up, according to AMD Mendocino it will launch in the fourth quarter of this year. If they land early enough in the quarter, AMD and its partners should be able to get Mendocino-based laptops to market in time for the holiday shopping period. Lenovo is already set to use the chip in its upcoming Ideapad 1 laptop, and there’s no doubt the rest of AMD’s regular partners will have their own laptops as well.

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