AMD’s CES keynote is a disclosure own goal

CES2021: Good products, drip feeds, and teasers aplenty

AMD Ryzen LogoAMD has once again snatched mediocrity from the jaws of victory with it’s 2021 CES disclosures. SemiAccurate thinks the products are going to be great but the lack of disclosure and trickle feed of nuggets makes us care a lot less than we normally would.

Lets once again start off with the good, AMD is announcing their Ryzen 5000 series mobile APUs, basically the already class leading Ryzen 4000 line with a Zen 3 core replacing the Zen 2 core. In the non-APU Ryzen 5000 line, this brought an ~19% IPC increase and an ~25% PPW increase, something that should be mirrored on the mobile side’s CPU numbers. The lineup looks like this.

Amd Ryzen 5000 Mobile lineup

AMD Ryzen 5000 mobile lineup

Yes those are carry over parts for the 5700U, 5500U, and 5300U but the basis of those SKUs was pretty damn good so not a big deal. Since it is likely the same uncore and GPU as the 4000U line, the loss isn’t that great. That said we asked AMD about the details of the changes but they haven’t responded. We have no explanation as to why these parts are carryovers, there are good reasons and bad to do it but SemiAccurate has no clue which one this is.

You might have noticed that there are two suffixes on the H-Series, HX and HS. HX is the tuned, top of the line parts that were reserved for a specific few models on the Ryzen 4000 mobile line. This was a combination of vendor interest or lack thereof in this case, and AMD’s lack of internal engineering bandwidth to support the project. In the year or so since the Ryzen 4000 release, Intel’s lack of, well anything, has driven OEMs to AMD in unprecedented numbers and at the same time AMD has been beefing up staff. We expect a lot more bespoke, high end models in this generation of Ryzen laptops with many more HS branded offerings.

HX on the other hand is newish but moves AMD in a direction that could be very ugly. HX is the enthusiast line of unlocked CPUs meant for overclocking. They are listed as 45+W versus the 45W for vanilla H models. This + means that an OEM can make a system for overclockers and high performance that is specced for much higher TDPs than typical 45W notebooks. This is fine as long as the thermal solution on the device can cope with the heat but the online idiot brigade will scream ignorant rants nonetheless.

Our problem with the HX line is that AMD is potentially pulling an Intel K-Series move, you know, fuse off capabilities in the chip and sell it back to users at a premium. Although Intel denies it, this directly lead to the destruction of the overclocking enthusiast sector. Sure it still exists but it is a pale shadow of what it was before Intel gutted it. With HX, AMD could be moving in the same direction. Yes there are good technical reasons to not overclock laptops, whether they are the reason for HX will be determined by AMD’s pricing and rules around implementation. This should have been something to celebrate but AMD pulled out the footgun and shot once again.

That brings us to the next issue, disclosure. AMD once again doesn’t disclose their settings making the numbers they present worse than worthless. We aren’t going to repeat a single one and we suggest you do not give them any credence if you see them. AMD did not just skimp on the disclosure this time around, they wiped out any gains they made with the Ryzen 5000 and Radeon 6000 launches and then some.

AMD's grossly inadequate Ryzen 5000 Mobile disclosures

This is how you do things the wrong way

What do we mean? Above is the entire set of ‘disclosures’ for the AMD presentation, it is grossly inadequate. You can’t tell what was tested much less recreate the tests on your own. What is AMD hiding? Is it an almost honest comparison like the Radeon 6000 launch or something actually above board? You can’t tell but they want you to parrot back the numbers without checking them and many will. This is just dishonest, STOP THIS AMD. On the other hand Intel is doing the right thing for the right reasons which we told you about yesterday.

Last up AMD is teasing Milan with numbers that show that chip pummeling the best Intel has to offer. No shock there, Rome beat Sky/Cascade by large margins and Milan is faster. The numbers you will see when the full chips are disclosed will be rather shocking and this teaser would be enough but there is one problem, disclosure. There is literally none. AMD is making a claim and backing it up with nothing, literally no fine print. Come on guys, stop being sleazy, you screamed bloody murder if Intel had a grammar whoopsie in their fine print and now you are being borderline dishonest. The fact that disclosure destroys your otherwise excellent CES messaging is a shame. Again.S|A

Pre-Publication Update: AMD sent an email saying that they would also mention that there will be 65W Ryzen 9 5900 and Ryzen 7 5800, both 65W and lacking the X of their 105W brethren. Unfortunately these are for OEM machines only so don’t look for them in stores. To balance this out, Threadripper Pro models will now be sold at retail. Yay?

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate