AMD's Ryzen 7020 CPUs offer more performance for budget laptops

They're billed as speedier alternatives to Intel's Core i3.


AMD has unveiled its first Ryzen 7000 laptop processors, but they're aimed at a very different audience than the enthusiast desktop chips. The newly introduced Ryzen 7020 mobile series is billed as a performance boost for budget laptops that combines AMD's older Zen 2 architecture with a few newer technologies, including RDNA 2 graphics (the Radeon 610M) and LPDDR5 memory. It also promises a healthy, if unspectacular, 12 hours of peak battery life.

The result theoretically outruns comparable Intel-based systems. AMD claims a 2.4GHz quad-core Ryzen 3 7320U model with 4GB of RAM offers 58 percent quicker multitasking and 31 percent faster app launching than a dual-core Core i3-1115G4 machine with 8GB of RAM. We'd have pitted the new Ryzen against a six-core 12th-gen Core i3 instead, but this still suggests you're getting solid performance for relatively little money.

On top of the Ryzen 3 variant, there's also a Ryzen 5 7520U with a 2.8GHz base clock. Both have 6MB of total cache. Particularly cost-conscious buyers can also spring for a two-core Athlon Gold 7220U with a 2.4GHz base, 5MB of cache and the same Radeon 610M graphics. All three chips offer a thermal design power of 15W, so they're suitable for thin-and-light systems.

You won't have to wait long to buy a portable using any of these chips. AMD expects the first Ryzen and Athlon 7020 series laptops to arrive in the fourth quarter of this year (that is, October through December) starting at $399. Acer is promising 14- and 15-inch Aspire 3 systems with the new Ryzen inside, while an HP "17-inch Laptop PC" and refreshed Lenovo IdeaPads are also in the works. That entry price is important — AMD is targeting everyday users who won't spend much, but still want solid capabilities.