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Some AMD Zen 2 laptops are suffering from extreme 4K playback issues; the latest Radeon drivers provide the hotfix

Some AMD Zen 2 laptops are suffering from extreme 4K playback issues; the latest Radeon drivers provide the hotfix
Some AMD Zen 2 laptops are suffering from extreme 4K playback issues; the latest Radeon drivers provide the hotfix
If you happen to own a new Ryzen 4000U series laptop, then we highly recommend updating to the latest Radeon and Adrenalin drivers. Otherwise, 4K video playback may buffer and be unwatchable.

Laptops sporting AMD Zen 2 processors have been steadily growing in popularity due to their superior performance-per-dollar when compared to the usual Intel options. Of course, AMD laptops will inevitably have their fair share of problems as well.

During our review of the latest 2020 HP Envy x360 13 powered by the Ryzen 5 4600U, we discovered dropped frames reaching over 50 percent when playing 4K 60 FPS videos on YouTube no matter the power profile setting. The video would essentially turn into a slideshow and the same would occur if dialing the resolution down to 1440p. Playback only becomes smooth when set to 1080p or lower which would be less than ideal for setups involving external 4K monitors.

Fortunately, the fix is relatively simple. Updating our graphics drivers here and then rebooting the system solved the issue without any trouble. Dropped frames would be down to the single-digits only with CPU and GPU utilization at 10 percent and 63 percent, respectively, to show GPU hardware acceleration working as intended.

Outside of 4K UHD video playback, the third gen Ryzen U-series has also proven to be wholly capable of running popular multiplayer games fairly well including Rocket League, LoL, and Fortnite with adaptive sync active. AMD should be able to maintain its upper hand against Intel as long as they stay on top of all their driver hotfixes and game optimizations. 

4K YouTube playback prior to updating our AMD drivers. The unusually high number of dropped frames would render the video unwatchable
4K YouTube playback prior to updating our AMD drivers. The unusually high number of dropped frames would render the video unwatchable
Same 4K video after updating our AMD drivers. Dropped frames are down to almost zero for a much smoother experience
Same 4K video after updating our AMD drivers. Dropped frames are down to almost zero for a much smoother experience

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 06 > Some AMD Zen 2 laptops are suffering from extreme 4K playback issues; the latest Radeon drivers provide the hotfix
Allen Ngo, 2020-06-30 (Update: 2020-07- 1)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.