AMD has been making steady inroads in consumer, commercial, enterprise, and mobile processor markets with the Ryzen platform’s launch. Though the company has successfully managed to throttle Intel’s advances on the desktop, it really hasn’t taken off in the mobile space — until now.
Earlier this year, AMD announced the arrival of the Ryzen 4000 APUs for laptops. This brought the much-acclaimed Zen 2 features to mobile while also including a much improved integrated Radeon Vega graphics as part of the package. The Ryzen 4000 APUs were praised a lot in the press and have managed to close the performance gap and take the spotlight away from Intel, which has long dominated the mobile space.
In this article, we will look at some of the best AMD Ryzen laptops on the market and help you decide on the best model for your budget.
What Should You Look for When Purchasing an AMD Ryzen-Powered Laptop?
Technological advancements and discerning customer choices have made purchasing a laptop a complicated process these days. Now that AMD has a new processor on offer, a few points must be kept in mind to get the best performing laptop for your needs.
- Workflow: As with any technology purchase, you should have a fair idea of the kind of workflow that your new AMD Ryzen laptop would help with. Laptops designed for productivity offer the best combination of power and portability, while those designed for gaming are somewhat bulky but sport powerful internals. Knowing your primary use will help in deciding the configuration and reduce excess spending.
- Processor generation: The Ryzen 4000 was introduced this year, and we’ve only begun to see new laptops powered by these processors coming out. There are still Ryzen 3000 series laptops on the market as well. Though they are just fine for regular tasks, the Ryzen 4000 models offer more features and perform better. Unless the discount is too rewarding, it is better to avoid Ryzen 3000 laptops as much as possible.
- Graphics: With many applications becoming increasingly GPU-aware, a decent graphics solution is becoming a necessity these days. Unlike Intel processors, AMD has always offered capable integrated graphics. In Ryzen 4000, we get the improved Radeon Vega GPU on-die that should suffice for most users for light to medium GPU workloads while also enabling some modern gaming at 1080p low settings. Of course, you can also opt for discrete GPU solutions as well, but remember that Ryzen laptops currently top out with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU.
- Memory: Ryzen, unlike Intel 9th and 10th gen chips, is heavily memory-dependent. The faster the memory, the better is the overall performance, considering that the Vega integrated graphics use system RAM as a video buffer. Therefore, you would want to opt for a model that offers the maximum supported DDR4 memory frequency, which is 3,200 MHz. However, in the interest of battery life, OEMs usually offer DDR4-2666, which is nothing to scoff at. Also, make sure you get a dual-channel configuration.
The Best AMD Ryzen Laptops in 2020
With that information, let’s take a look at the 6 best AMD Ryzen laptops to buy in 2020.
1. Best AMD Ryzen Laptop — Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
|Specs||AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS; 16 GB RAM; 1 TB NVMe SSD|
|GPU / Display||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 / 14-inch FHD 120 Hz Pantone-validated display|
|Ports||1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C with DisplayPort™ 1.4 and Power Delivery; 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C; 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A; 1 x HDMI 2.0b; 1 x 3.5mm combo audio jack|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||12.75 x 0.7 x 8.74 in|
Build: At just 0.7 inches thick, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is easily one of the slimmest best AMD Ryzen laptops out there. Though lightweight, it is also pretty sturdy as it uses a magnesium and aluminum construction. The Zephyrus G14 is available in both Moonlight White and Eclipse Gray variants. Like most Asus laptops, the Zephyrus G14 also features an ErgoLift mechanism, which lifts the keyboard by a few millimeters to provide a more comfortable typing experience.
Processor: The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 laptop was one of the first laptops showcased to be powered by the flagship Ryzen 9 4900HS. The Ryzen 9 4900HS is a 35 W, 8-core 16-thread processor with a base clock of 3 GHz and a boost up to 4.3 GHz. This processor will only be seen in notebooks that adhere to certain criteria defined by AMD.
Graphics: The ROG Zephyrus G14 also sports the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 mobile GPU that offers excellent performance in games along with some decent ray tracing abilities, though there are still not many games that can actually make use of ray tracing yet. The RTX 2060 should allow for easy ultra 60 fps gaming in the latest AAA titles at 1080p.
Display: The Zephyrus G14 sports a 14-inch FHD 120 Hz display that is Pantone-validated for accurate color reproduction. Asus offers several display options to choose from, and those who like to flaunt their ROG credentials can also opt for a model that offers an AnMe Matrix display on the back of the lid that can be used to show off some cool effects.
Upgrades: Internally, you get options to upgrade the RAM and SSD if needed, but do remember that the machine comes with 8 GB of RAM already soldered, leaving only one slot for expansion. The Ryzen 4000 platform comes with a promise of much-improved battery life, and we get to see that the Zephyrus G14 can easily last up to a typical workday.
Overall, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is one of the best AMD Ryzen-powered laptops, offering a great combination of performance, features, and price.
- Pros: Excellent performance even under sustained load; Good battery life; Color-accurate display
- Cons: Mediocre trackpad; No RGB backlighting; Fans can get a little loud
2. Best AMD Ryzen Gaming Laptop — Dell G5 15 SE 5505
|Specs||AMD Ryzen 5 4600H; 32 GB RAM; 512 GB NVMe SSD|
|GPU / Display||AMD Radeon RX 5600M / 15.6-inch FHD 60 Hz display|
|Ports||1x Mini DisplayPort; 1x HDMI 2.0; 1x USB 3.1; 2x USB 2.0; 1x Gigabit Ethernet; 1x SD card reader; 1x 3.5 mm combo audio jack|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||14.4 x 0.9 x 10|
Build: The Dell G5 15 SE 5505 sports a subdued look than most other gaming laptops we see on the market. Though the construction is primarily of plastic, the build quality is very good considering its price point. The overall design is mostly plain save for some accents on the lid and does not exude any gamery vibes.
Processor: The Dell G5 15 SE 5505 comes equipped with an AMD Ryzen 5 4600H CPU with configuration options up to the Ryzen 7 4800H. The Ryzen 5 4600H is a 6-core 12-thread processor with a base clock of 3 GHz and a boost clock up to 4 GHz. The processor is just fine for regular workloads and also for gaming as long as you don’t push it too much.
Graphics: The Dell G5 15 SE is one of the few laptops to be powered by the AMD Radeon RX 5600M GPU. Since this laptop uses a combination of AMD Ryzen and AMD Radeon components, users can benefit from a technology called SmartShift that intelligently allocates power between the CPU and GPU depending on the need. However, it must be noted here that SmartShift is not under the user’s control. Gamers may find themselves having to tone down some of the game settings in order to take full advantage of the 144 Hz panel. Radeon Adrenaline software offers a host of image enhancement options, including Radeon Image Sharpening, Radeon Anti-Lag, etc.
Display: The G5 15 SE is available with a 60 Hz panel. There are configurations with an FHD 144 Hz panel as well, with support for AMD FreeSync for a tear-free viewing experience. The color accuracy of the display is fairly good and the display can cover up to 100% of the sRGB color space. While this should be enough for gamers, those into professional photo/video editing should look elsewhere or hook-up the laptop to a capable external display.
Upgrades: Like most Dell laptops, the G5 15 SE can be configured during purchase. The RAM and SSD are upgradeable. You can also swap out the Killer AX1650x Wi-Fi adapter if you so desire. The G5 15 SE also offers a decent port selection, which should make connecting several peripherals at once easy. Do note that since this is an AMD Ryzen-powered laptop, there is no Thunderbolt 3 support.
Overall, the Dell G5 15 SE ticks all the right boxes and is among the best AMD Ryzen 5 gaming laptops on the market today.
- Pros: Potent Ryzen+Radeon combination; Good connectivity options; Good price
- Cons: Plastic build; Mediocre display
3. Best AMD Ryzen Convertible 2-in-1 — HP Envy x360
|Specs||AMD Ryzen 5 4500U; 8 GB RAM; 512 GB NVMe SSD|
|GPU / Display||AMD Radeon RX Vega 6 / 15.6-inch FHD 60 Hz touch display|
|Ports||1x HDMI 2.0; 2x USB 3.1 Gen1; 1x USB 3.1 Gen2; 1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C; 1x SD card reader; 1x 3.5 mm combo audio jack|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||14.13 x 0.68 x 9.69 in|
Build: The HP Envy x360 15.6-inch offers an excellent metal build that is reminiscent of its bigger cousin, the HP Spectre series. The Envy x360 is a convertible that can be used in both tablet and laptop form factors. At just 0.68 inches, the Envy x360 looks very slim and modern, but it does tip the scales at about 2.12 kg. The build is clean and without any unnecessary protrusions. HP also offers a full-size keyboard deck with backlighting along with a built-in fingerprint reader.
Processor: The HP Envy x360 is powered by the AMD Ryzen 5 4500U, which is a 6-core 6-thread processor. It means no support for simultaneous multi-threading (hyperthreading). That being said, the performance of the Ryzen 5 4500U is just perfect for regular office or multimedia workloads and can even take on the Intel Ice Lake Core i7-1065G7. However, given the lower core count, the Ryzen 5 4500U is not meant to be pushed to its limits, especially if you have the need for demanding workflows like video editing.
Graphics: The Ryzen 5 4500U in the Envy x360 comes with an integrated Radeon RX Vega 6 GPU. The Vega 6 is a pretty capable integrated GPU (iGPU) for basic multimedia acceleration. Gaming at 1080p low to medium settings can also be accomplished on the Vega 6 if it is paired with fast-enough system memory. Essentially, it can be compared to a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce MX150 GPU, which makes it perfect for a slim laptop like the Envy x360.
Display: The Envy x360 uses a regular FHD 60 Hz IPS touch panel. The display has slim bezels on three sides save for the somewhat thicker bottom bezel yielding about a 79% screen-to-body ratio. The 360-degree hinge helps in transforming the device into a convertible and is sturdy and flexible enough for daily use. You can also use the optional HP Tilt Pen for writing directly on the display. Color reproduction is adequate for regular use, but the accuracy and color gamut coverage leaves a lot to be desired.
Upgrades: The default configuration of the HP Envy x360 offers 8 GB of RAM and a 512 GB NVMe SSD. Unfortunately, the RAM is fully soldered onto the motherboard and cannot be upgraded. The SSD, however, can be swapped for a larger capacity version. For the usual office work and even for some light gaming, you can get by with 8 GB RAM. Port selection is decent. There is no dedicated HDMI or DisplayPort-out, so you need to use the USB Type-C port to hook-up an external monitor.
The HP Envy x360 does come with a few compromises, but the premium looks and decent feature set makes it one of the best AMD Ryzen laptops under $1,000 in 2020.
- Pros: Affordable; Premium construction; Enhanced privacy features
- Cons: Soldered RAM; Mediocre display
4. Best AMD Ryzen Productivity Laptop — Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
|Specs||AMD Ryzen 5 3580U Microsoft Surface Edition; 16 GB RAM; 256 GB SSD|
|GPU / Display||AMD Radeon RX Vega 9 / 15-inch 2496×1664 IPS 60 Hz touch display|
|Ports||1x Surface Docking Port; 1x USB 3.0 Type-A; 1x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C; 1x 3.5 mm combo audio jack|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||13.37 x 0.58 x 9.61 in|
Build: Microsoft has always positioned the Surface Laptop lineup as a viable alternative to the Apple MacBook Air, and the Surface Laptop 3 is no different. The Surface Laptop 3 sports a clean and elegant design that is very light to carry. The chassis is primarily made of metal though you can also get an Alcantara fabric design as well. Considering the premium price point, the build quality is excellent and every little detail has been attended to.
Processor: The Surface Laptop 3 runs on a custom AMD Ryzen 5 3580U processor, dubbed the Microsoft Surface Edition. There is not much difference between the Microsoft Surface Edition AMD chip and the regular Picasso Zen+ processors that are available to other OEMs. The Ryzen 5 3580U offers four cores and eight threads clocked at 2.1 GHz base and 3.7 GHz boost.
Graphics: The Ryzen 5 3580U Microsoft Surface Edition comes with an integrated Radeon RX Vega 9 GPU. Vega 9 does a good job in accelerating GPU-bound applications for a fluid user experience, but it is not really suited for gaming. It may be possible to get playable frame rates on certain less demanding games such as eSports titles, but the values will usually be under 60 fps at 1080p medium settings.
Display: Like other Surface products, the Surface Laptop 3’s display is vivid, crisp, and very color accurate. It can cover the full sRGB color gamut and offers wide viewing angles. Being a Surface device, you get a touchscreen with a 3:2 aspect ratio that bodes for tasks such as document creation. The only negative with the Surface Laptop 3’s display is that it has somewhat prominent bezels, which can seem to be a bit unsightly compared to the competition.
Upgrades: The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is not for those who look to upgrade their devices in the future. Most components, including the RAM, are soldered onto the motherboard, so you will need to order the correct configuration for your needs. While the SSD can be upgraded to a higher capacity drive, opening the bottom panel is a big chore in itself and is not generally recommended.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 offers a premium experience for those looking primarily at productivity applications and is the best AMD Ryzen 3000-powered laptop currently available.
- Pros: Premium design; 3:2 display; Good performance for office and productivity tasks
- Cons: Weak GPU; Almost impossible to upgrade
5. Best AMD Ryzen Budget Laptop — Acer Swift 3
|Specs||AMD Ryzen 7 4700U; 8 GB RAM; 512 GB NVMe SSD|
|GPU / Display||AMD Radeon RX Vega 7 / 14-inch FHD 60 Hz IPS display|
|Ports||1x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C; 1x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A; 1x USB 2.0; 1x HDMI; 1x 3.5 mm combo audio jack|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||12.73 x 0.65 x 8.62 in|
Build: The Acer Swift 3 is one of the best-built budget AMD Ryzen laptops out there. The chassis, though primarily made of plastic, is well-built and is very sturdy. The hinges are tight yet open up easily with just one finger. In fact, the laptop can be opened up fully up to 180 degrees. With a thickness of just 0.65 inches and weighing about 1.2 kg, the Acer Swift 3 is one of the most compact Ryzen laptops you can buy.
Processor: The Acer Swift 3 is powered by the AMD Ryzen 7 4700U processor, which is a very powerful chip. Featuring eight cores and eight threads, the Ryzen 7 4700U offers a base clock of 2 GHz and can boost up to 4.1 GHz. The CPU is the strongest point of the Swift 3 and beats several similarly configured Intel laptops easily. Multitasking should be a breeze on this laptop. However, it is not ideal for running intensive tasks such as video editing or 3D rendering.
Graphics: The Ryzen 7 4700U comes with the Radeon RX Vega 7 iGPU. The Vega 7 has comparable performance to the NVIDIA GeForce MX250 in some games and benchmarks. The Vega 7 will get you by just fine for light graphics workloads. Older games will work fine at 720p high settings, while you will have to tone down the settings to low for achieving playable frame rates at 1080p.
Display: The Acer Swift 3 is among the best affordable Ryzen laptops one can find, and a major part of the compromise is with the display. It is not entirely bad and is pretty much passable for regular media streaming. However, it is very dim and is difficult to use outdoors. Color gamut coverage is poor, though it can get reasonably color-accurate.
Upgrades: The Swift 3 comes with soldered 8 GB of dual-channel LPDDR4X RAM, which means upgrading memory down the line is not possible. The SSD, however, can be swapped out for a higher capacity model, but there’s room for only one NVMe SSD in the chassis. The Wi-Fi card can be replaced, too, if needed. The disassembly of the laptop will require some effort. Port selection is decent for a laptop at this price and thickness.
If you are looking for a cheap AMD Ryzen-powered laptop that does not compromise on performance, the Acer Swift 3 is an easy recommendation, as long as you can get past the poor display.
- Pros: Fast processor; Slim looks; Good build
- Cons: Poor display; Soldered RAM; Difficult to access the internals
6. Best AMD Ryzen Laptop With Dedicated Radeon GPU — MSI Bravo 17
|Specs||AMD Ryzen 7 4800H; 16 GB RAM; 1 TB NVMe SSD + 1 TB HDD|
|GPU / Display||AMD Radeon RX 5500M / 17.3-inch FHD 144 Hz IPS-level display|
|Ports||1x HDMI; 3x USB 3.0 Type-A; 1x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C; 1x Gigabit Ethernet; 1x 3.5 mm line-out; 1x 3.5 mm line-in|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||15.63 x 0.91 x 10.24 in|
Build: The MSI Bravo 17 offers excellent build quality and sports a pretty muted design in contrast to its gaming capabilities. The chassis is made of plastic, but the laptop has an aluminum lid that adds to the premium feel. The chassis does not flex much and is also pretty light for a 17-inch notebook, at just about 2.2 kg.
Processor: The Bravo 17 is powered by the AMD Ryzen 7 4800H, which offers eight cores and 16 threads at a base clock of 2.9 GHz and a boost of 4.2 GHz. The Ryzen 7 4800H offers excellent gaming and productivity performance, especially in multi-threaded workloads compared to Intel’s Core i7-9750H. The extensive heat pipe arrangement in the Bravo 17 prevents thermal throttling of the Ryzen 7 4800H to a large extent.
Graphics: The Ryzen 7 4800H comes with an integrated Radeon RX Vega 7 iGPU, but MSI has equipped the Bravo 17 with a Radeon RX 5500M discrete GPU. The performance of the RX 5500M is comparable to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti for laptops, which makes it pretty capable of running most modern titles at playable frame rates of 1080p high and ultra settings. The graphics are switchable between the iGPU and the RX 5500M for increased battery life. However, the 5500M does tend to run a bit hotter than normal under heavy load.
Display: Bravo 17 offers a decent display for the price. The 17.3-inch display sports a 144 Hz refresh rate that should allow for an overall smooth and responsive viewing experience. Color gamut coverage is not too bad at 45% NTSC, and the color accuracy is decent. However, the panel has poor brightness levels making it difficult to use outdoors under direct light.
Upgrades: The Bravo 17 provides for easy upgrades down the line. You can start with a minimal RAM and storage configuration to keep costs low and upgrade the components whenever you need to. There are two RAM slots and a 2.5-inch bay available for expansion. The NVMe SSD and Wi-Fi card can be upgraded as well if needed. Port selection is decent, and all common connectivity options are available without the need to use dongles.
Overall, the MSI Bravo 17 is one of the best AMD Ryzen gaming laptops with dedicated graphics below $1,500. The configurations can be tweaked further to bring the laptop near the $1,000 mark.
- Pros: Excellent performance in apps and games; Good upgrade options
- Cons: Display could have been better; GPU gets too hot under load
So, that was our take on the best AMD Ryzen powered laptops available on the market now. We have ensured that our picks cover several budgets and requirements. If you have any questions, feel free to let us know below, and we will get back to you at the earliest.