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CES 2020: AMD ups ante against arch-rival Intel with new CPUs

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. continued its battle with Intel Corp. at this year's CES, the Consumer Technology Association's annual technology and media trade show, by unveiling new hardware that aims to give it an upper hand over its rival.

Taking the stage at the company's CES 2020 press conference, AMD CEO Lisa Su unveiled the company's new third-generation Ryzen 4000 series mobile processors for laptops. The processors will use the company's 7-nanometer technology and will be used across ultrathin consumer and professional laptops as well as laptops aimed at gamers and content creators.

Su compared the new Ryzen 4800U processor model's performance with Intel's most powerful mobile processors to demonstrate the AMD hardware's edge over the competition. Compared to Intel's chip, the 4800U, which features eight cores and 16 threads, performs 28% better in graphic performance, 90% better on multi-thread performance and 4% higher on single-thread performance.

SNL ImageAMD's press conference at CES 2020
Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence

"When I say it's simply the best laptop processor that's been built, I think I've shown it in these numbers," Su said.

More than 12 laptops featuring the new 4000 series processors will launch in the first quarter, and over 100 models are expected in the entire year.

Su also unveiled AMD's Ryzen Threadripper 3990X processor, which is set to launch in February for $3,990. The 64-core processor has 128 threads, allowing it to perform at the levels of much more expensive hardware. Su compared the 3990X's performance against a $20,000 Intel configuration to show that the AMD processor was 30% faster.

Meanwhile, Laura Smith, senior director of AMD's Radeon technologies group, announced the RX 5600 XT, a new graphics card aimed at 1080p HD gaming. Also known as "Full HD" or "True HD," 1080p means 1920×1080 pixels of resolution. Until 4K, it's the highest resolution found on most digital TV sets.

The new graphics card will launch worldwide on Jan. 21 for $279, while a mobile version for laptops, the 5600M, will launch in the first half of the year.

On the software side, AMD's chief architect of gaming solutions, Frank Azor, demonstrated the company's new SmartShift technology, which distributes power between the CPU and the graphics processing unit of a laptop to improve the performance of both parts with less power draw. Azor claimed SmartShift will deliver up to 10% better gaming performance, and up to 12% better content creation performance.

Azor also introduced Dell Technologies Inc.'s new G5 laptop that will use the SmartShift technology as well as AMD's Radeon new 5600M graphics card. The laptop is set to launch in the second quarter of 2020.