AMD Radeon finally has something to fight against GeForce RTX 3080 laptops. Now the trick is just getting it out there
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After years of falling behind in laptop graphics, AMD will soon be launching the new mobile Radeon 6000M series utilizing the same RDNA2 architecture that powers the current generation of consoles and the desktop Radeon RX 6000 series. Benchmarks provided by the chipmaker promise up to 50 percent faster performance and 43 percent lower power consumption on average when compared to gaming laptops running on first generation RDNA GPUs. AMD is even claiming slightly faster frame rates than a GeForce RTX 3080 laptop on a small handful of games like Borderlands 3 and Resident Evil Village.
In reality, it really doesn't matter how powerful the new mobile RDNA2 GPUs will be if manufacturer support will be limited. All gaming laptops sporting the last generation Radeon RX 5000M series could be counted in the single digits compared to the dozens (if not hundreds) of different models and SKUs running on GeForce GTX or RTX graphics. The biggest supporters of Radeon-powered laptops at the moment are MSI and Asus as these are the two largest gaming laptop manufacturers by market share. Even so, only a tiny fraction of their product lineups have Radeon options at all. Well-known laptops like the MSI GS65/66, Razer Blade, or Asus Zephyrus S are all Nvidia only with no Radeon alternative despite the fact that the new mobile RDNA2 GPUs will supposedly be comparable to the mobile RTX 3080.
To make matters worse, AMD SmartShift will only be compatible on gaming laptops powered by both an AMD CPU and Radeon RDNA2 GPU. On paper, this will encourage manufacturers to make all-AMD gaming laptops, but this will also discourage manufacturers from pairing Intel CPUs with Radeon GPUs or else the extra performance boost will be lost. It's a double-edged sword as the vast majority of gaming laptops were designed around Intel CPUs and chipsets.
For mobile RDNA2 to really succeed, AMD will have to convince laptop makers to integrate Radeon GPUs onto more popular models and then market them to be on par with Nvidia options. AMD did announce a couple of laptops launching with Radeon RX6000M GPUs like the Asus ROG Strix G15 and HP Omen 16, but they are definitely going to need more than that to make a big splash.