What are the disadvantages of Ryzen processors

Intel shoots against AMD: Ryzen 4000 is not that good at all

Friedrich Stiemer

In a virtual product presentation, Intel claims that notebooks with AMD Ryzen 4000 processors lose a significant amount of performance when running on batteries - and the current Intel CPUs not so much.

EnlargeIntel has re-tested: Notebooks with AMD Ryzen 4000 are said to be less powerful in battery mode.

AMD is currently the star in the IT industry, which is mainly due to the powerful, but also attractively priced Ryzen processors and Radeon GPUs. In addition, both current series are not only competitive, but also sometimes better, as our tests of the Ryzen 5000 and Radeon RX 6000 prove.

It is all the more noticeable that Intel particularly highlights the alleged disadvantages of AMD hardware. In a virtual presentation recently held by Intel for media, the performance of AMD Ryzen 4000 processors (code name Renoir) was compared to Intel's eleventh core generation (code name Tiger Lake) for notebooks. Especially when the mobile computers are on battery power, the AMD chips are expected to lose a lot of performance, while the Intel counterparts only lose little performance.

Intel: "Battery performance matters"

On a slide, Intel says: "The competition is sacrificing considerable performance in order to be on par with Intel in terms of battery life." This is made clear by means of a bar chart that compares the average battery life and performance of five AMD and five Intel-based notebooks . The results were collected with MobileMark18 (MM18), a synthetic benchmark that simulates productivity scenarios using various applications. On average, the Intel devices achieve higher results in MM18 of over 1,200 points, while AMD systems only achieve just over 400.

EnlargeThe average results of five Intel and five AMD notebooks in MobileMark18 in comparison.

AMD Ryzen 4000: Less performance on battery power

In PCMark 10's applications benchmark (Office 365), the difference in battery operation becomes even more concrete. Five AMD and five Intel notebooks each were tested, both in mains and battery operation. Here, Intel particularly points out that AMD systems offer up to 38 percent less performance if the notebook has to fall back on the internal battery, while Intel models are only slightly slower.

EnlargeThe results of the Applications test (Office 365) in PCMark 10 in AC and battery mode in comparison.

The performance loss becomes more dramatic in the WebXPRT benchmark, which is a browser benchmark that tests various HTML5 and JavaScript-based scenarios. According to Intel, this amounts to an impressive 48 percent in battery operation with AMD notebooks. Hard stuff, if that's true. However, this behavior could not be reproduced in a pure CPU test in the form of the popular Cinebench R20.

EnlargeThe results of the WebXPRT in mains and battery operation in comparison.

Is the battle between AMD and Intel entering a new round?

In the summary of the presentation, Intel once again points out that Tiger Lake delivers good performance both in network operation and when used off-grid and once again emphasizes the 48 percent performance loss with the AMD Ryzen 4000. This is why Intel also recommends the media to test the performance even when unplugged in order to provide the end customer with a result that is as practical as possible.

EnlargeIntel also recommends that the media test the performance when unplugged in order to provide the end customer with the most practical result possible.

Of course, test results from manufacturers should always be viewed with caution. But even if Intel's claims are true, that's far from being a death sentence for AMD's Renoir CPUs: The latter are clearly better when it comes to content creation such as animation or video editing, while Intel's Tiger Lake does better in single-core applications. In this case, everyone has to decide for himself what he or she will accept: A significantly better multi-core performance with AMD Ryzen in network operation and a slightly poorer performance on the move, or better performance for office applications in battery operation with Intel Tiger Lake - only without the advantage that you don't benefit from Ryzen's multi-core performance when plugged in.