Ryzen 4000 laptops - game changer?

silent ninja

Well-known Member
So it's been 6 years since I bought my Lenovo yoga 2. Great laptop, no issues really but it's time for an upgrade.

A bit of research reveals a certain 'rage' and excitement over the new AMD Ryzen 4000 processors. Apparently they blow everything prior out the water (whilst being battery efficient) and will finally allow slim business laptops that are capable of proper gaming. That's about the sum of my knowledge.

Unfortunately there seem to be few laptops with these new chips - Intel likely doing some kind of fraud behind the scenes I'm sure.

Before I buy anything, is it worth waiting? What laptops are coming with Ryzen 4000 chips? Is the hype just hype and should I get on and buy something - there's always"something around the corner" in the tech world.

Current laptops I'm looking at Dell XPS 13, HP Spectre , Asus Zephyrus G14 - does this thing make a good non-gaming laptop?
Please help and suggest what I should be looking at.


My needs:
Budget is flexible, ideally £1000 but can go to £1400 ish.

13-15" screen, must be light, thin, portable- I want something I can easily carry (in one hand), switch on in a flash when needed.
Ideally 16:10 or better aspect ratio for those spreadsheets but I can live with 16:9
Laptop is fine, not fussed if 2-in1.

Do you have resolution requirements?
FHD, don't care about 4k

Do you prefer a matte or glossy (reflective) screen? Don't mind.

What will you be using the laptop for?
Browsing, office tasks, torrenting, streaming Netflix, occasional video editing for leisure (I did a great 60 min video of all the mobile footage from a family wedding!).

No gaming really

How long does the battery need to last? 5 hours

Do you require Blu-Ray? No

Must allow HDMI via dongle if not directly
USB Type A would be nice

Do you have a preferred brand? No

Would you be happy with a refurbished laptop? No

Any other details you feel necessary...
Windows
Ideally 512gb+ SSD but 256gb minimum
MUST MUST have replaceable storage - soldered SSD is a deal-breaker.
Nice to have a second storage drive slot on board like my current laptop
MUST have a good keyboard! Don't need number pad though.
Don't care if it has a webcam or not.
 
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tickedon

Well-known Member
So it's been 6 years since I bought my Lenovo yoga 2. Great laptop, no issues really but it's time for an upgrade.

A bit of research reveals a certain 'rage' and excitement over the new AMD Ryzen 4000 processors. Apparently they blow everything prior out the water (whilst being battery efficient) and will finally allow slim business laptops that are capable of proper gaming. That's about the sum of my knowledge.

Unfortunately there seem to be few laptops with these new chips - Intel likely doing some kind of fraud behind the scenes I'm sure.

Nothing of the sort! The Ryzen 4000 series are very new and most manufacturers haven't announced the laptops that will ship with them, nevermind starting to get them into retail channels for purchase.

ASUS has an exclusive on some of the chips (the 'HS' models, which are more powerful but run at 35w vs 45w for the standard 'H' chips - both designed for big and bulky gaming laptops) so are likely to have some of the first models available. Thin and light 'ultrabook' models will use the 'U' series Ryzen 4000 chips (very similar naming convention to what Intel has used recently).

Before I buy anything, is it worth waiting? What laptops are coming with Ryzen 4000 chips? Is the hype just hype and should I get on and buy something - there's always"something around the corner" in the tech world.

There is always something round the corner. However, AMD haven't been competitive in the mobile space (in terms of performance or battery life) for years, and Intel have basically only tinkered with their chips as a result - there is very little difference performance difference between Intel chips from 2-3 generations ago and their current chips. The new Ryzen 4000 series are a meaningful bump (and have Intel scrabbling to increase core counts and frequencies to remain competitive), and so you will see new AMD Ryzen 4000 laptops and new Intel 11th generation laptops appearing too in the next few weeks/months (depending on what coronavirus does!).

Current laptops I'm looking at Dell XPS 13, HP Spectre , Asus Zephyrus G14 - does this thing make a good non-gaming laptop?
Please help and suggest what I should be looking at.

My needs:
Budget is flexible, ideally £1000 but can go to £1400 ish.

13-15" screen, must be light, thin, portable- I want something I can easily carry (in one hand), switch on in a flash when needed.
Ideally 16:10 or better aspect ratio for those spreadsheets but I can live with 16:9
Laptop is fine, not fussed if 2-in1.

Do you have resolution requirements?
FHD, don't care about 4k

Do you prefer a matte or glossy (reflective) screen? Don't mind.

What will you be using the laptop for?
Browsing, office tasks, torrenting, streaming Netflix, occasional video editing for leisure (I did a great 60 min video of all the mobile footage from a family wedding!).

No gaming really

How long does the battery need to last? 5 hours

Do you require Blu-Ray? No

Must allow HDMI via dongle if not directly
USB Type A would be nice

Do you have a preferred brand? No

Would you be happy with a refurbished laptop? No

Any other details you feel necessary...
Windows
Ideally 512gb+ SSD but 256gb minimum
MUST MUST have replaceable storage - soldered SSD is a deal-breaker.
Nice to have a second storage drive slot on board like my current laptop
MUST have a good keyboard! Don't need number pad though.
Don't care if it has a webcam or not.

If you urgently need a laptop, I would look for a 10th generation Intel CPU - Core i5 or Core i7. If you can hold off, I would wait and see what the AMD Ryzen 4000 'U' laptops are like - the 'U' processors are designed for thin and light models, like the Dell XPS 13 and HP Spectre.

But as above, as most manufacturers are still to announce their models nevermind get them into retail channels, I'm afraid I don't have any immediate Ryzen 4000 recommendations for you!
 

silent ninja

Well-known Member
Thanks

I would like a laptop this year but it's certainly not urgent for now. I guess with the lockdown I have more time to research! 🤣 I'll wait a few months, keen to see more laptops with the Ryzen chips.

The Asus G14 zephyrus seems to have roughly the same power as an i9 in one of the configurations I saw, so it's pretty insane in such a slim laptop. The base model is likely i7 territory which sounds like incredible value at £1000. However, a laptop isn't just a chip, it's everything else too.

I'll wait a few months. It will be a weird festive period this year. I doubt the sales will be aggressive, if at all.

Also considering going over to the dark side (Mac OS) but the restrictive nature of that ecosystem gives me anxiety. I genuinely hate every iPhone I've had from work, but their laptops seem very well integrated.
 

tickedon

Well-known Member
Thanks

I would like a laptop this year but it's certainly not urgent for now. I guess with the lockdown I have more time to research! 🤣 I'll wait a few months, keen to see more laptops with the Ryzen chips.

The Asus G14 zephyrus seems to have roughly the same power as an i9 in one of the configurations I saw, so it's pretty insane in such a slim laptop. The base model is likely i7 territory which sounds like incredible value at £1000. However, a laptop isn't just a chip, it's everything else too.

I'll wait a few months. It will be a weird festive period this year. I doubt the sales will be aggressive, if at all.

Also considering going over to the dark side (Mac OS) but the restrictive nature of that ecosystem gives me anxiety. I genuinely hate every iPhone I've had from work, but their laptops seem very well integrated.
I don't think any of the Macbooks would meet most of your requirements, and the CPU performance you get within your budget with Apple is really limited compared to a Windows laptop.

There are also well documented issues with Apple's "butterfly" keyboards (basically, they break!). Apple has reverted to the scissor keyboard, branded 'magic keyboard' now, but this hasn't yet come to the 13" Macbook Pro (only the Air and 16" Pro).

Waiting a couple of months at least makes sense, but I also agree on your point about sales unlikely to be aggressive - we have the combined issues of the interruption to China's manufacturing, businesses and consumers mass-buying laptops recently for homeworking, and the fact the pound is now worth a bit less against the dollar which will push prices up slightly. Unless the economy tanks, then we might see bargains as companies because desperate to shift their stock.
 

silent ninja

Well-known Member
The Macbook Pro 13 or 14 (depending what comes out in 2020) could tick all the boxes except it'll have a soldered SSD which I am really against. When it fails, that sounds like a few hundred quid to Apple to fix (is it even repairable?!). The current Macbook pro 13 has the rubbish keyboard, as you say, and old 8th generation Intel chips from what I can see. I also think the Touch Bar strip is a bit silly (I generally don't like touch interfaces over physical buttons).

I've been wanting to get MacOS since around 2002 believe it or not, but there has always been something wrong and I bit the bullet on a Windows laptop every time. What's attracting me to it this time is the annoyance of driver issues and software bugs in Windows (which add up over time). Even the laptop I'm using right now, it refused to update to Windows 10 a couple of years ago (it's still running Windows 8) and I have had to do regular house keeping like reinstalling touchpad drivers, going in to the boot screen because Windows 'lost' my SSD etc I would like something that just works and I'm fairly sure Macbooks have better longevity. But there's a tradeoff: Windows is just more flexible...

If Apple use the Ryzen chips I'll strongly consider one. Right now, all things considered the Dell XPS 13 is the winner for me - the 16:10 screen steals it, it has a replaceable SSD and all the extra stuff I listed in the OP. I will wait a month or two and see what else comes with the new AMD chips.
 
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silent ninja

Well-known Member
I found this Asus laptop on Amazon. Seems well priced for the spec - around£500 cheaper than the equivalent Dell XPS 13. Yet it's super slim and light. There's no Thunderbolt port but I don't really need that.

Thoughts on Asus Zenbooks?

ASUS ZenBook UX434 Full HD 14 Inch Touchscreen Laptop (Intel i7-10510U Processor, 512 GB PCI-e SSD + 32 GB Intel Optane Memory, 16 GB RAM, ScreenPad, Windows 10, Wi-Fi 6) ASUS ZenBook UX434 Full HD 14 Inch Touchscreen Laptop (Intel i7-10510U Processor, 512 GB PCI-e SSD + 32 GB Intel Optane Memory, 16 GB RAM, ScreenPad, Windows 10, Wi-Fi 6): Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories
 

Cat'sWhiskers

Active Member
I have the exact same question, so will be very interested in any responses.

I'm looking to replace my existing laptops (Dell XPS 13 9333 and Lenovo X1 Yoga 1st gen) and found the Asus UX391 which at £900 on Amazon ticks all my boxes (small, lightweight, high-res screen, USB-C charging, etc) and is a number of hundred pounds cheaper than the equivalents. But would I be disappointed with Asus quality after being used to Dell/Lenovo?

Asus ZenBook UX391 on Amazon
 

tickedon

Well-known Member
I found this Asus laptop on Amazon. Seems well priced for the spec - around£500 cheaper than the equivalent Dell XPS 13. Yet it's super slim and light. There's no Thunderbolt port but I don't really need that.

Thoughts on Asus Zenbooks?

ASUS ZenBook UX434 Full HD 14 Inch Touchscreen Laptop (Intel i7-10510U Processor, 512 GB PCI-e SSD + 32 GB Intel Optane Memory, 16 GB RAM, ScreenPad, Windows 10, Wi-Fi 6) ASUS ZenBook UX434 Full HD 14 Inch Touchscreen Laptop (Intel i7-10510U Processor, 512 GB PCI-e SSD + 32 GB Intel Optane Memory, 16 GB RAM, ScreenPad, Windows 10, Wi-Fi 6): Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories
FYI - Amazon showing out of stock but Scan have it for £80 cheaper than their Amazon listing on their website direct: ASUS Zenbook 14" Full HD Touchscreen i7 Intel UHD Performance Laptop

All the reviews I've read of the UX434 rate it highly, although it's very spec dependent. You can't replace the memory and it doesn't have a second storage slot, but it does at least have a removable/replacable primary m.2 ssd drive so ticks that box for you.

I personally don't like the hinge design and some people complain that the design means you can't push the screen back as far as they'd like (which would be me - too used to the flexibility of my surface pro!). I would suggest checking one out in a shop, but not really sure where is possible to do that at the moment - your local costco warehouse might have one, if you have a membership to get in.

I have the exact same question, so will be very interested in any responses.

I'm looking to replace my existing laptops (Dell XPS 13 9333 and Lenovo X1 Yoga 1st gen) and found the Asus UX391 which at £900 on Amazon ticks all my boxes (small, lightweight, high-res screen, USB-C charging, etc) and is a number of hundred pounds cheaper than the equivalents. But would I be disappointed with Asus quality after being used to Dell/Lenovo?

Asus ZenBook UX391 on Amazon

ASUS, like Dell and Lenovo, produce horrible cheap plastic laptops and very nice high quality machines. The Zenbooks cover a wider range of price points, but the premium models are generally well thought of and liked, and just as well made as the XPS 13.

That means you need to pay attention to the models and the differences - e.g. the Asus Zenbook, Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 14 Inch Notebook, UX431FA-AN144T | Costco UK on the face of it looks good value and a good price, but the UX431 denotes it's the 'budget' zenbook range - which means bigger screen bezels, heavier, less metal and more plastic, and a keyboard that isn't as well liked.

My personal experience is I'd take a cheap Asus over a cheap Dell or Lenovo, but as with many of these things, it's entirely down to the exact models you're comparing! At the high end, my personal position is I would rate the build quality similarly and focus on the specs. However, I do hate the hinge design on the current Zenbooks - so wouldn't go for either on that basis. I'd also have ignored the prior XPS 13 models as the webcam was located below the screen (not above it, as in almost every other model), and that just wouldn't have been very flattering! At this level, it's the really small differences that matters to me :)
 

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