AMD Unveils Ryzen 8040 Series: New Name, Old Chips

Ryzen 8040 series
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AMD recently announced its Ryzen 8040 series which will be the first mobile processors to feature a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU) among other things. In this article, let’s talk about AMD’s latest CPUs, their architecture, core counts, clock speeds, and more.

AMD Ryzen 8040 Series: Overview

Vs Ryzen 7040 Series: What’s new? 

The keen-eyed of you might have noticed that there is no change in the core count, number of threads, boost clock speeds, or amount of cache when the new APUs are compared against their 7040 counterparts.

The crux of the matter is that these new chips don’t provide any improvements in the aforementioned specs. Rather, the new ‘Hawkpoint’ SKUs can be thought of as 7040 chips with an NPU. So, there probably won’t be very much of a performance boost (if any at all) for applications that don’t utilize a lot of AI.

Referring to the chart below, you can see that the first number only means the portfolio year and not much else. So, an 8840HS and a 7840HS are the same chip released in different years with the expectation of NPU.

Ryzen 8040 Naming Scheme

Zen 4 Architecture and Hawk Point Family

Ryzen 8040 series

As the name suggests, the entire 8040 series adopts AMD’s Zen 4 architecture. So, it isn’t anything we haven’t seen before, in fact, chips from the 7040 series don’t see much change at all—except the NPU which we’ll talk about later. They all feature RDNA 3-based Radeon graphics as iGPUs. The chips are manufactured on TSMC’s 4 nm process and form the ‘Hawk Point’ family.

Ryzen 8040, NPU, and AI

A significant highlight across the entire Ryzen 8040 series is the integration of AMD’s XDNA-based Ryzen AI NPU. This AI-focused technology, leveraging Xilinx IP acquired by AMD, is incorporated into seven out of the nine announced SKUs. The move underscores AMD’s strategic push towards on-chip AI capabilities, a trend becoming increasingly pivotal in the tech industry.

Two Primary Product Types: HS and U Series

AMD’s Ryzen 8040 series is divided into two primary product types – the HS (High-Performance) series with TDPs ranging from 35-54W and the U (Ultra-Thin) series with a lower 15-30W TDP. The HS series targets mid-range performance across various workloads, while the U series is tailored for ultra-thin and power-efficient notebooks.

Ryzen 8040HS Series

The HS series introduces five “new” additions to AMD’s mobile product lineup. This includes high TDP (45W) models like the Ryzen 9 8945HS, Ryzen 7 8845HS, and Ryzen 5 8645HS, as well as low-powered (28W) Ryzen 7 8840HS, and Ryzen 5 8640HS.

Ryzen 8040U Series

Ryzen 8040 series
image: AnandTech

The U-series chips, designed with a lower TDP of 28W include Ryzen 7 8840U, Ryzen 5 8640U, Ryzen 5 8540U, and Ryzen 3 8440U catering to varying performance needs. Specifications, including core counts, base and turbo frequencies, GPU details, and the absence or inclusion of Ryzen AI, differentiate these U-series SKUs.

Exactly the Same

As I said earlier, the newer Ryzen CPUs have NPUs that differentiate them from their older counterparts…Well…not really.

Although the above holds true for the Ryzen 5 8640U, the Ryzen 8540U is EXACTLY the same as the Ryzen 7 7540U. The same is the deal with the Ryzen 3 8440U which exactly matches the Ryzen 3 7440U on paper.

AI Improvements and Performance Boosts

AMD RYZEN 8040 series

Beyond the architectural refresh, AMD emphasizes the enhanced AI capabilities of the Ryzen 8040 series. Promising up to 1.4x the performance in AI workloads compared to its predecessor, the Llama 2 and Vision models showcase the prowess of the XDNA-based Ryzen AI NPU. AMD’s strategic focus on AI aligns with industry trends, evident in partnerships with Adobe and features in Black Magic DaVinci Resolve.

Efficiency Considerations and Launch Information

While AMD remains tight-lipped on specific optimizations and bug fixes in the Zen 4 architecture, the focus on boosting the AI performance of the NPU is evident. Notably, AMD hasn’t disclosed potential efficiency challenges that may arise from increased NPU frequencies.

AMD has started shipping Ryzen 8040 series to OEMs but hasn’t announced a launch date yet. A broader announcement is expected during CES 2024 where more details may be unveiled.

AMD Ryzen 8040 Series: Conclusion

So, all in all, the new Ryzen 8040 APUs aren’t very new after all. They feature the same Zen 4 architecture as their predecessor but now have a dedicated NPU for AI tasks. Other than that, there’s nothing much to see here.

  • Meanwhile, also watch our PC build featuring the Ryzen 5900X and RTX 3090