AMD Ryzen 7 5800U review: AMD's best laptop CPU takes on Intel's best 11th-gen chip

It's an epic battle between AMD's and Intel's best.

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Gaming Performance

A lot of the performance tests so far have really seen the Ryzen 7 5800U romp or match Intel’s best CPU. One area where the Core i7 gets pay back though is graphics performance. Most people see that expressed in gaming where you can see the Iris Xe in the Core i7-1185G7 romp all over the Ryzen 7 5800U. In 3DMark Time Spy’s GPU test which focuses solely on graphics performance, the Core i7 has a 37-percent advantage.

You can also see 3DMark leaves the Ryzen 7 5800U tied with the Ryzen 7 4800U. That’s because for the most part, AMD reuses the same Vega-based cores of the previous generation's chip.

ryzen 5800u timespy gpu IDG

Longer bars indicate better performance.

3DMark also includes a CPU-focused gaming using a gaming physics test. Typically more cores matter hereplay and we see both Ryzen’s do quite well. One thing we want to point out is the vast majority of games, especially those you’d play on integrated graphics ever really use all those cores, so this particular test may not really match the real ,world.

ryzen 5800u timespy cpu IDG

Longer bars indicate better performance.

To see how the chips handle actual gaming we first run Far Cry New Dawn set to 1920x1080 resolution and the “Normal” Preset. It’s another hefty win for Iris Xe in the Core i7-1185G7, with frame rates about 39 percent ahead of the new Ryzen 7 chip.

ryzen 5800u far cry new dawn IDG

Longer bars indicate better performance.

Next up is Metro Exodus set to 1920x1080 and using the “Normal” preset. The Core i7 is again ahead by about by 19 percent. When you’re looking at 20 fps vs. 17, it’s not really that much to crow about. Still, Iris Xe is no joke.

ryzen 5800u metro exodus normal IDG

Longer bars indicate better performance.

The Core i7-1185G7 and Iris Xe chalks up a nice hefty advantage in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided set to 1920x1080 and its Medium preset. Here, the Intel chip is running about 47 percent faster than the Vega graphics in the Ryzen 7 5800U.

ryzen 5800u deus ex mankind divided IDG

Longer bars indicate better performance.

Most games tend not to use very many CPU cores, but Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation is another matter. While it won’t use 64 cores for gaming, more cores generally helps. We ran Ashes at 1920x1080 resolution using the low-quality presetWe picked the CPU-focused preset which uses more game units on the screen.

The Core i7 is still the winner, but the older Ryzen 7 4800U actually is the CPU that comes the closest. Oddly, the Ryzen 7 5800U just does not do well here which is a bit confusing to us. We’ll take another look at this, but it may be better thermals of the Lenovo Slim 7 vs. the Asus ZenBook are at play here as expected both to be very similar.

ryzen 5800u ashes of the singularity IDG

Longer bars indicate better performance.

Our last gaming test uses the popular Counter Strike: Global Operations set to 1920x1080 and the high preset. The game has tended to favor AMD CPUs lately and here we see it’s mostly a tie with the Ryzen 7 5800U but 3 percent faster. The older Ryzen 7 4800U actually has about a 7 percent advantage which again makes us think the thermals of the Asus ZenBook could be responsible. 

The good news is we have three laptops with integrated graphics that can all hit that magic 60-fps frame rate in a game you’d actually want to play.

ryzen 5800u cs go IDG

Longer bars indicate better performance.

We’ll include results from LuxMark 3.1 run on each laptop’s GPU. The big winner for OpenCL performance here is the Core i7-1185G7.

ryzen 5800u luxmark IDG

Longer bars indicate better performance.

AI Performance

We’ll wrap up our CPU testing in the brave new world of AI performance. First up, we use Topaz Lab’s Gigapixel AI to increase the resolution of a picture by 6X using the CPU rather than the GPU for the task. Gigapixel AI can take advantage of Intel’s DL Boost. which helps the Core i7-1185G7 finish the job about 68 percent faster than the Ryzen 7 5800U. The new Ryzen should pat itself on the back for its performance, which finishes the conversion in 38 percent less time than the older Ryzen 7 4800U.

ryzen 5800u topaz ai time upscale IDG

Shorter bars indicate better performance.

Much of the consumer applications for AI today is in imaging, so we also run the laptops through Nero’s AI Photo Tagger. The application uses AI to analyze and tag photos for you. We tasked each laptop with analyzing 4,200 photos using AI Photo Tagger. The total time each laptop spent analyzing the photos using AI is presented. 

While AI performance is still fairly niche, adoption is trending upward. Generally we find that a faster GPU and Intel’s newest cores tend to run the table here.

ryzen 5800u nero ai photo tagger ai time IDG

Longer bars indicate better performance.

Battery life

If comparing performance across laptops can be treacherous, comparing battery life on those CPUs is downright impossible. Every laptop is built differently, and everything from the test to the display settings to the performance settings can muddy the waters.

Still, the main question you want to know is whether Ryzen 7 5800U is a power hog. We run our standard 4K Tears of Steel video with the laptop set to airplane mode. We connect earbuds at 50-percent volume (to reduce the laptop speaker power consumption) and at a relatively bright 250 nits to 260 nits. We also use Microsoft’s Movies & TV player, which is among the most efficient available.

The main takeaway is that battery life for AMD’s newest Ryzen 7 5800U can be pretty darn good, but it largely depends on the individual laptop. The Asus ZenBook, with its OLED and large 65-watt-hour battery, basically gave us in excess of 12 of hours of video rundown time.

ryzen 5800u battery IDG

Longer bars indicate better performance.

We’ll close all of this out by looking at the strengths of the Ryzen 7 5800U per thread. This helps us visualize generally how fast the CPU can be depending on how heavy of a task is thrown at it. To do that, we run Cinebench R15 using an increasing numbers of threads, all the way to the maximum amount of threads the CPU has. The chart shows the percent increase against the Core i7-1185G7.

No surprise, the new Ryzen 7 5800U simply rocks the Tiger Lake chip in all but the lightly threaded tasks. It’s pretty neat to see how fast the Ryzen 7 5800U is on right side where you use all those CPU cores and threads, while Core i7-1185G7 holds its own on the very left side of the chart.

ryzen 5800u threadscaling percentage IDG

Longer bars indicate better performance.

Perhaps even more impressive is to take the Ryzen 7 5800U and compare it to Intel’s current 8-core 10th gen Core i7-10870H chip in the Gigabyte Aorus 17G . Unlike the 11th-gen Core i7-1185G7 chip that’s built on a 10nm FinFET process, the 10th gen is built on Intel’s elderly 14nm process, which runs hotter. It also uses Intel’s older Comet Lake cores, which simply aren’t as efficient as Tiger Lake’s “Willow Cove” cores.

While the 11th gen Core i7-1185G7 actually does fairly well on the left side of that chart, the 10th gen Core i7-10870H is simply underwater the whole time. The Core i7-10870H doesn’t actually gain an upper hand until the multi-core load gets heavy enough to overwhelm the cooling of the tiny Asus laptop. This is particularly impressive because the Aorus 17G is a big, thick 17-inch gaming laptop that weighs 6 pounds vs. the 2.6- pound Asus. That’s just a big wow.

ryzen 5800u threascaling percentage vs h IDG

Longer bars indicate better performance.

Conclusion

As expected, Intel was never going to be the push-over in thin-and-light laptops the way it was in gaming laptops and desktops for Ryzen 5000. While we’d have a hard time recommending an Intel CPU over an AMD CPU in desktops (except you can actually buy the Intel CPUs), in the mobile space we’re far more hesitant to declare a “winner.”

Instead, it very much comes down to how you use your laptop and what CPUs is the best for your needs.

We definitely declare the Ryzen 5000 the winner for anyone who needs more cores. That much is known, as the math says eight cores is more than four cores. 

For general application use and image editing, Ryzen has a slight edge, but we’d call it mostly a toss-up. The argument you’d make for Ryzen, is you can have awesome application performance—and you can more cores too! That’s pretty compelling and would push most to Ryzen.

The 11th-gen Tiger Lake chip, however, gets the nod for gaming performance. While the Ryzen 5000 isn’t bad, the Iris Xe graphics clearly put it ahead.

If there were a “winner” it would be consumers, because you can now pick the best processor for what you do on your PC rather than simply taking what Intel has to offer and that’s it. 

Correction: A previous version of this story inadvertently reversed results for the Ryzen 7 4800U and Ryzen 7 5800U in Cinebench R20. PCWorld regrets the error. 

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