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Radeon RX Vega 56 coming to laptops?

QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 23,919

What's peculiar about this is that the Radeon RX Vega 56 is a desktop card rated at over 200 W.  Over 200 W is an awful lot for laptops.  That's why you can't get a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti in a laptop, for example.  AMD's desktop Vega cards are pretty aggressively clocked, and with appropriate binning and scaling back the clock speeds and voltages, they might well be able to make a nifty 100 W laptop card out of it.

Of course, if you're going to go that route, then you want some sort of discrete switchable graphics so that you're not burning a ton of power at idle.  Between Raven Ridge and the Vega 56 card, it might be a nifty gaming laptop--if good drivers exist for it.  Maybe they will, but the way AMD has handled their laptop drives of late gives significant reason to be skeptical of this.  At minimum, I'd say not to buy the AMD option unless and until regular drivers appear on AMD's web site.  Some initial driver that may or may not mostly work and will never be updated is not a serious option.

It's interesting that they offer both Intel and AMD CPUs and both Nvidia and AMD GPUs.  I'd somewhat expect it to be an Intel/Nvidia combination and a pure AMD combination.  There's no intrinsic reason why you couldn't use AMD for one part but not both, but it's unlikely that anyone will bother to make the drivers for discrete switchable graphics for such a combination.

AMD has the hardware that they could be competitive in gaming laptops again, for the first time since before Maxwell arrived in 2014.  Right now, they don't have the drivers.  I don't know if Acer is expecting AMD to offer appropriate drivers; one hopes that they wouldn't bother to offer such a laptop for which useful drivers will never exist.  But many laptop vendors are notorious for offering insane things in laptops.

I'm not saying that the Acer laptop will necessarily be interesting.  But there are already a lot of good gaming laptops based on an Intel CPU and an Nvidia GPU.  (And also a lot of bad ones, but that's another discussion entirely.)  I'm not sure if the Acer laptop heralds a return to competition, or if it's going to be a stupid product that even AMD fanboys ought to shy away from.


  • RidelynnRidelynn Member EpicPosts: 7,299
    edited June 2018
    I don't know that this is necessarily a critisim that belongs to AMD.

    They aren't using a laptop version of the nVidia chip either (a full 1070).

    They aren't using mobile processors (Core i9 or Ryzen 2.0).

    They offer an overclocking suite for either one (as if you could actually get anything out of it in that form factor).

    All of the items they are using do support programmable power states and thermal/power management.. so it's feasible that they could cram all that in there and be managing it via just some software or firmware settings.

    As far as switchable IGP - nVIdia has Optimius, AMD has "Switchable Graphics" - which both amount to the same thing, provided you have an IGP to switch to (the Ryzen option Acer is showing does not at the moment).

    As far as AMD graphics drivers - they certainly have drivers for Vega out there. And a quck Google search for "Ryzen APU Driver" popped up this on AMD's site, which seems to strongly indicate that they are just using something in the unified driver (now called Adrenalin) to support their APU graphics (they are still just Vega cores, after all). This feels like a lot more "OMG AMD Drivers suuuuck" than anything else. That being said, I've not used a laptop with and AMD APU, but vendors historically have been very poor at offering driver support in general.

    As far as Acer goes - if you click on "Models' - there's only one available: Intel i9 with nVidia 1070. No AMD options exist to configure to right now.

    I would say, if you want to levy any skepticism or criticism, Acer would be the more appropriate target here.
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 23,919
    The Intel CPU is this one:

    That is a laptop CPU, as it's a 45 W bin.

    It looks like they are using a desktop Ryzen part.  I hadn't caught that.

    The Ryzen APU driver you found is for desktop parts, not laptop parts.
  • VrikaVrika Member LegendaryPosts: 7,176
    edited June 2018
    Ridelynn said:
    I don't know that this is necessarily a critisim that belongs to AMD.

    They aren't using a laptop version of the nVidia chip either (a full 1070).
    How do you know that the NVidia isn't a laptop chip?

    I thought that NVidia had 3 different CPUs named GTX 1070: desktop chip, mobile chip and low power mobile chip.
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 23,919
    DMKano said:
    How much does this thing weigh? 20 pounds?

    Jus looked it up - lol - 9 pounds.

    I guess you can cancel your gym membership after you buy this bad boy.
    High-end gaming laptops always weigh a lot.  They have to in order to have the robust cooling necessary to cool high-performance video cards.
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