AMD’s budget laptop chip may not be game-ready on its own

AMD announced its Mendocino program during its Computex 2022 talk (opens in new tab). In the end, we were expecting a new kind of budget laptop. A budget laptop that could really play games. With a 4-core, 8-thread Zen 2 APU alongside an RDNA 2-based iGPU, we couldn’t help but draw parallels with the chip at the heart of the game. steam deck (opens in new tab). And since Mendocino is designed for machines that cost between $399 and $699, we were understandably excited by the possibilities.

Unfortunately, the latest leaks have pulled the rug out from under this dream, as Mendocino apparently only has a single Workgroup Processor (WGP), which equates to just two Compute Units. Two. It’s only 128 stream processors, which is frankly rubbish when it comes to gaming.

For comparison, the Steam Deck has eight CUs (512 stream processors), and while Valve’s handheld can handle games at 720p, it’s hardly what you’d call horsepower. A couple of CUs simply won’t be able to cut it when it comes to gaming, even allowing for the extra frequency that a drop in production process from 7nm to 6nm will allow.

This new information comes from a leaked spec slide for Mendocino, which appears to confirm an earlier rumor about the CU count that started with the announcement that the new Ayaneo Air Plus portable (opens in new tab) console would use AMD’s Mendocino chips. The core count is particularly notable here because this notebook has a 1080p display, which is obviously going to be a pretty big order for the pair of CUs.

The newest leak is from the Mendocino block diagram, discovered by @Olrak29_ (opens in new tab) (through video cardz (opens in new tab)), which seems to be in line with what AMD officially said about the low-power APU. It’s still an interesting APU, especially as it has support for AV1 and VP9 decoding and can be paired with up to 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM, but it’s not the upgraded Steam Deck chip we were hoping for.

AMD’s Mendocino should start hitting mainstream laptops before the end of the year.

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