AMD's new Ryzen 9 5900HX laptop chip topples Intel's top CPU for portable gaming

AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su on stage for CES 2021 keynote
(Image credit: AMD)

AMD has announced its Ryzen 5000 mobile processors, led by the HX-series, over at CES 2021. And they're seriously beefy for gaming. With two new chips, the Ryzen 9 5900HX and Ryzen 9 5980HX, if you want high performance gaming in a portable package AMD reckons it has the silicon to do it.

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Both chips come with eight cores and 16 threads in a mobile package, which is already something worth salivating over. The top chip, the Ryzen 9 5980HX, is clocked the highest at 4.8GHz and comes with 20MB of cache and a 45W+ TDP. That's all built on the Zen 3 architecture, so all the benefits of that swift architecture are a given. 

And where does that top chip get you? AMD's promising it won't hold back a gaming laptop from reaching over 100 frames per second in Horizon: Zero Dawn at the game's native high quality preset and 1080p. That's pretty darn impressive for a mobile chip. 

AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su on stage for CES 2021 keynote

(Image credit: AMD)

AMD even lightly touched on 4K gaming capabilities, but I'll believe it when I see it. In theory, that should see the GPU take the brunt of gaming performance off the CPU, and one of Nvidia's new RTX 30-series GPUs alongside would certainly make for a powerful pairing.

AMD was a little light on the gaming performance details, but the company has alluded to some CPU performance for the second-run Ryzen 9 5900HX versus Intel's Core i9 10980HK, its top chip right now. That's not one of Intel's 11th Gen Tiger Lake chips, and so Zen 3 absolutely demolishes that chip in single-threaded Cinebench R20 testing, coming in 13% faster by AMD's making. In Passmark PT10, it's coming in some 35% faster, and in 3DMark's Fire Strike physics test that's 19% faster.

We'll have to see for ourselves how that stacks up versus Intel's latest offerings, but it sure looks like AMD's got a firm grip on the mobile market its clawed over the past few years, and only has plans to grow that further in 2021. 

I'm looking forward to taking a look at these chips, that's for sure.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.