AMD CES 2020 Keynote Recap


This year at CES 2020 AMD held its CES 2020 keynote for the second time at CES.  After it was all over we felt that AMD came at the presentation with a very focused agenda.  AMD was clearly focused on the gamer and content creator.  In fact, AMD came very focused on actual physical product launches this year.  It did not spin its wheels talking about investments and boasting about non-physical things, instead, AMD came with a focus on actually announcing new hardware that will be released this year.


The event started out by AMD going over what it launched in 2019.  There were a lot of exciting new physical hardware products released by AMD last year.  The entire desktop AMD Ryzen Zen 2 desktop CPUs.  A new Threadripper lineup based on Zen 2, and AMD Epyc as well.  Then we also had the launch of the AMD Radeon RX 5700 and 5500 series discrete GPUs based on the new RDNA architecture.  And lest we not forget at the beginning of 2019 AMD launched the Zen+ Ryzen 3000 series mobile APUs.


Now we turn toward 2020 and AMD once again has set the stage for what is coming this year.  Only one year since the launch of the AMD Ryzen 3000 mobile APUs AMD is announcing its successor, the AMD Ryzen 4000 mobile APUs.  These APUs are a larger upgrade over the Zen+ APUs of last year.  The new Ryzen 4000 mobile processors are based on the newer Zen 2 cores that the current desktop CPUs are based on.  In addition, they have higher clock speeds and much higher Vega Radeon core clock speeds as well.  This is thanks to the move to 7nm. 

In addition, there will be “U” series processors for ultrathin laptops and “H” series processors for gamers and content creators.  All of these APUs are 8 core/16 thread, even on the ultrathins which is pretty incredible.  AMD is bringing more cores and threads to thin laptops like it did on the desktop side.  AMD has really helped move this industry forward on core count. We were stuck for a long time at 4 cores/8 threads with Intel CPUs, but then AMD came along and fixed that problem both on the desktop side and now the laptop side.

It doesn’t stop there either, AMD showed off its Ryzen 7 4800U and Ryzen 7 4800H APUs at the event.  There are laptops ready to go and we will see many new designs in February, and a hundred new designs coming throughout 2020.  The laptop market is going to be very exciting for 2020, I certainly want to pick up my own Ryzen 4000 series laptop this year, color me interested.


AMD went on to also announce another new hardware product, the AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT.  Now this one was expected by most, but it was nice that we actually got a hard launch date and pricing on it.  The Radeon RX 5600 XT should provide the ultimate 1080p gaming experience.  It will be based on RDNA, have 36 compute units, be clocked at 1375MHz game clock and have 6GB of GDDR6.  It will be priced at $279 and be available on January 21st, so you don’t have to wait long.  We will, of course, be bringing you more with this video card when we review it for the launch. 


At the end of the event was a “one more thing” announcement, another new piece of hardware on the desktop.  AMD is announcing the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X.  This is a very exciting CPU because it is the first desktop CPU format in a single-CPU package with 64 cores/128 threads.  Though it is positioned for the HEDT market, it is more desktop friendly than any other HEDT CPU.  At $3,990 MSRP it kicks the competition in the behind on pricing and performance.  AMD is really pushing to be dominant in terms of multi-threaded performance, and that appears to be coming true on desktop, HEDT and the mobile space. 

Other Things

There were other small announcements at the keynote as well.  One that we think might be understated at the moment is SmatShift.  On paper, this sounds like fantastic technology that has the potential for performance and power saving on laptops with AMD APUs plus discrete GPUs.  AMD stated clearly that the results we saw today are only preliminary, there is a lot more gas in the tank as far as this feature is concerned, so it is one to watch out for in the future.

Final Thoughts

Though it wasn’t stated at the keynote, AnandTech published their interview with AMD and confirmed from Lisa Su herself that we will see Zen 3 in 2020.  So, while there was a lot announced and shown at the keynote, AMD isn’t putting all its cards on the table at once.  There is even more to come.  AMD’s statement up front at the keynote was that 2020 was going to be an even bigger year than 2019.  It is sure shaping up to be so. 

It has to be said, watching AMD’s keynote, and Intel’s keynote were two very different keynotes.  AMD was very focused on the gamer, the content creator, it seems AMD knows exactly who its customer is and who they want to cater their products for.  AMD brought actual hardware announcements of products that will be physically launching this year, and there are a lot of them, and even more un-announced products to come this year.  It really felt like AMD was talking to the computer enthusiast, the computer gamer, and the computer content creator who just wants to get work done at a great price. We’ve never seen AMD as focused as they are right now in a very long time.   


Brent Justice
Former managing editor of GPUs at HardOCP for 18 years, Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components since the late 90s, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review, he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer-oriented and hardware enthusiast perspective. You can follow him on Twitter - @Brent_Justice You can sub to his YouTube channel - Justice Gaming You can check out his computer builds on KIT - @BrentJustice

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