AMD unveils new Ryzen chips to drive AI PC evolution

AMD is turning up the heat in the race to outfit desktop and laptop PCs with more AI processing capability. The company just launched its Ryzen PRO 8040 Series x86 processors for business laptops and mobile devices, along with the Ryzen PRO 8000 Series desktop processor.

The unveiling comes about a month after AMD chief Lisa Su appeared at SXSW in Austin, Texas, extensively talking up AMD’s ambitions in the AI PC market. During that appearance, Su showed the audience a Ryzen 8000 Series chip and said it would be the kind of chip “that will power a new generation of AI PCs.”

PC models leveraging the new chips will be available starting in the second quarter from partners such as Lenovo and HP. Lenovo for its part already announced the ThinkPad T14 Gen 5, which will be powered by Ryzen PRO 8040 Series processors, and this week expanded its desktop portfolio to include the ThinkCentre M75s Gen 5, the ThinkCentre M75q Gen 5 and the ThinkCentre M75t Gen 5, all of which will equipped Ryzen PRO 8000 Series processors.

“The strong partnership between AMD and Lenovo enables us to deliver incredible cutting-edge technology to our customers,” said Sanjeev Menon, vice president and general manager, Worldwide Desktop Business in Intelligent Devices Group, Lenovo. “Our latest Lenovo ThinkCentre commercial desktop PCs powered by AMD Ryzen PRO 8000 Series Desktop Processors leverage AI to provide a superior level of performance and agility, while giving business users more choices to fit their needs.”

Menon added that a recent Lenovo survey showed that nearly half of CIO respondents “have a pressing need to integrate AI into their business operations, and these new ThinkCentre desktops will make AI for all possible.”

Meanwhile, AMD noted in its announcement this week that HP, during its own HP Amplify Partner Conference last month, announced a variety of commercial desktops, workstations and laptops powered by AMD Ryzen PRO 8000 or 8040 Series processors. 

AMD said the new chips leverage the CPU, GPU, and dedicated on-chip neural processing unit (NPU) capabilities to support up to 16 dedicated NPU TOPS (Trillions of Operations Per Second) and up to 39 total system TOPS. The 8040 Series boasts up to eight high-performance cores, advanced 4nm technology, and “Zen 4” architecture offering up to a combined 30% greater performance for the most demanding mobile workstation applications, AMD claimed. The company also claimed that with AMD Ryzen AI on select models and AMD RDNA 3 graphics integrated on the chip, the 8040 Series delivers the up to 72% faster performance and 84% less power for video conferencing with or without AI experiences enabled vs. the Intel Core Ultra 7 165U. The 8040 processors also will feature nascent WiFi-7 technology.

Earlier this year, Jack Gold, president and principal analyst of J. Gold Associates, predicted that 65% to 75% of PCs and a large number of mobile devices over the next three years would have AI acceleration built-in.

Amid those growth prospects, Intel, Nvidia, AMD, and others are making their cases for how effectively their processor families will support the performance and power efficiency needs of devices existing at the opposite end of the AI food chain from the data centers where AI chips already are supporting AI training, inference, and other use cases.

Relevant news announcements about AI PCs and related capabilities only will increase in the coming months. In fact, even as AMD made its latest AI PC move, Nvidia announced new GPUs–the RTX A400 and RTX A1000–which the company said expand access to AI and ray-tracing technology to professional desktops to support 3D content creators and users of AI applications like intelligent chatbots and copilots.