Not even the ongoing pandemic was able to hold off several PC enthusiasts from upgrading their desktops into the latest AMD system available. They patiently fall in line at Gilmore hoping to snag the latest processors, while others rely on online stores and marketplaces, praying J&T will take care of their item. Soon, laptop buyers will understand why these people go to such lengths to acquire AMD’s processors.

Earlier this year, AMD took the stage at CES 2020 and announced the Ryzen 4000 processors – their line meant for laptops. It promises better performance and efficiency than competing Intel processors. They even showed a benchmark report where they put their Ryzen against a desktop processor and still got ahead – that’s how crazy the AMD processors are.

The first laptops with the Ryzen 4000 processors were supposed to be shipped out at the end of Q1 2020 but due to the pandemic it was delayed. Thanks to the ease of restriction in shipping globally, units are now trickling in for different brands and a few AMD-loaded laptops are popping up. 

I got wind of a few incoming laptops from one brand and as expected, Intel still has the upper hand in their lineup. What caught my eye were two units that have the same price and almost the same specs, except for the processor and RAM. 

AMD did not release the pricing for the Ryzen 4000 series because they are meant to be sold directly to brands. However, it’s safe to say that they must be considerably cheaper because the Ryzen 7 is meant to be pitted against an i7, not an i5. Imagine, the difference in price between the Ryzen 7 and Core i5 is enough that this brand was able to put another 8GB RAM stick in Laptop1 and still maintain its SRP.

Aside from the seemingly free RAM upgrade, going with Laptop 1 means better workflow overall since it has a better processor by class. The Ryzen has 8 cores, running at 2.0-4.1GHz while the Core i5 only has 4 cores running at 1.0-3.6GHz. I know, really disappointing for Intel at this price point. 

In the same preview I got, I saw this. The graphics card on both models are virtually the same, with the difference applied on the processor, storage, and screen. Laptop 1 had more spare change as it was able to get 1TB NVMe SSD, while Laptop 2 had to compromise and settle for 512GB and put a 4K IPS screen (which isn’t expensive) just to upsell it. In the real world though, a 4K screen isn’t that much better than a Full-HD screen. I’d take a bigger capacity storage anyday between those two.

Unlike my samples, other brands are careful not to pit Intel and AMD against each other. Asus has the majority of their lineup loaded with Intel and only the TUF and select Zephyrus models have AMD. This way, comparison would be apples to oranges since different lines of laptops cater to different needs. 

Meanwhile, Huawei plans to uppercut the market by taking full advantage of the Ryzen lineup in their D15 and D14 laptops. They are competitively priced with great specs that rival those from more expensive models of other brands.

Despite the praises, benchmarks, reviews, and value for money, AMD has an uphill battle ahead of them in the laptop game. All brands have forged a long relationship with Intel and it will take a lot to make them hop on to Team Red. Unlike in desktops where users are free to choose their processors, laptop buyers are at the mercy of what the brands choose for particular models. But don’t go for AMD just because it’s more powerful. Only go for it if the total package has a better value for your money.