Can AMD finally be a contender in the thin-and-light market?

For the first time in several years, the notebook market has gotten very interesting from a performance standpoint. First, we had Intel’s launch of its Kaby-Lake Refresh 8th Generation processors which packed a true quad-core CPU into a 15W package. Then, we heard about AMD’s Raven Ridge which aimed to combine a quad-core mobile CPU with Radeon Vega graphics into that same 15W power target.

Even though the excitement over Raven Ridge may have subsided a bit after Intel and AMD’s joint announcement of Vega graphics combined with Intel CPUs in the Kaby-Lake G platform, that is still yet to be released and will reside in a significantly higher class of power usage.

So today we are taking a look at AMD’s Raven Ridge, what may be AMD’s first worthy entry into the thin-and-light notebook market.

For our Raven Ridge testing, we are taking a look at the HP Envy x360, which at the time of writing is the only machine to be shipping with these Ryzen Mobile processors (although more machines have been announced and are coming soon). Additionally, we also wanted to wait a while for the software ecosystem on this new platform to stabilize (more on that later).

Here’s a breakdown of the exact specifications for this notebook:

Hp Envy x360 (configuration as reviewed)
Processor AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
Graphics AMD Vega 8 Integrated
Memory 8GB DDR4-2400 (Dual Channel)
Screen 15.6-in 1920x1080 Multi-touch

1TB Samsung PM961 NVMe SSD

Camera HP Wide Vision FHD IR Camera with Dual array digital microphone 
Wireless 802.11ac (2x2) Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 Combo

1 USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1 (DisplayPort, Power Delivery)

2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 

1 x HDMI v2.0b

1x  headphone/microphone combo

Battery 55.8 Wh
Dimensions 14.16 x 9.8 x 0.77 in
4.75 (lbs)
OS Windows 10 Home
Price $1329 - HP.com

While we aren’t focusing on the specifics of the HP Envy notebook here, I will say that it has impressed me along the way through this testing, and has a very premium feel. The overall quality of the Envy is a good sign for AMD going forward that valued partners such as HP were willing to put this new part into a quality notebook on the higher-end of the sub-$1000 notebook market.

It’s also welcoming to see that HP has appropriately equipped this notebook with relatively fast dual-channel DDR4-2400 memory, which it appears all OEMs won’t follow. The use of dual-channel memory should greatly increase the graphics performance in general of the bandwidth hungry GPU cores on the R5 2500U.

Also, our specific HP Envy x360 comes equipped with a 1TB Samsung SM961 SSD (960 Pro equivalent). While the HP Envy is available with a 1TB NVMe drive, we are not sure if it’s this exact drive, and performance will certainly be higher with this SSD than the lowest end configuration of a 1TB HDD.

Review Terms and Disclosure
All Information as of the Date of Publication
How product was obtained: The product is on loan from AMD for the purpose of this review.
What happens to product after review: The product remains the property of AMD but is on extended loan for future testing and product comparisons.
AMD involvement: AMD had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.
PC Perspective Compensation: Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by AMD for this review.
Advertising Disclosure: AMD has purchased advertising at PC Perspective during the past twelve months.
Affiliate links: This article contains affiliate links to online retailers. PC Perspective may receive compensation for purchases through those links.
Consulting Disclosure: AMD is a current client of Shrout Research for products or services related to this review. 
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