AMD claims it can take on Apple M2 with its new Ryzen 7040 U-series processors

  • 2 min read
  • May 05, 2023
AMD's U-class chips in the Ryzen 7040 mobile series leads the charge against Apple's and Intel's lightweight CPUs.

A render of an AMD Ryzen 7040 APU.

The first laptops using AMD's Ryzen 7040U series APUs are finally making their debut this month. AMD says the 7040U series will go head-to-head with Intel's and Apple's latest mobile chips in the kinds of thinner and lighter laptops where previous generations of Ryzen APUs have been more competitive.

We got our first glimpse at AMD's brand-new Ryzen 7000 mobile APUs back at CES in January, showcasing a very confusing naming scheme and several chips that weren't actually using new the Zen 4 architecture. Additionally, Ryzen 7040U APUs are basically lower-power versions of the Ryzen 7040HS series, which are reserved for more performance-focused designs like Asus's Zephyrus G14.

The Ryzen 7040 family is complete with four new U-class chips

Considering that AMD is also launching several older APUs under the 7020, 7030, and 7035 series, it's no surprise that the 7040 series only has a few members, four of them being in the now available U-class for thin and light laptops. These chips have a configurable TDP from 15 to 30 watts, giving laptop designers some wiggle room on performance and efficiency.

Ryzen 7 7840U Ryzen 5 7640U Ryzen 5 7540U Ryzen 3 7440U
Cores/Threads 8/16 6/12 6/12 4/8
Boost/Base Frequency 5.1/3.3GHz 4.9/3.5GHz 4.9/3.2GHz 4.7/3.0GHz
Graphics Cores 12 CUs 8 CUs 4 CUs 4 CUs
Graphics Frequency 2.7GHz 2.6GHz 2.5GHz 2.5GHz
Cache (L2+L3) 24MB 22MB 22MB 12MB
Ryzen AI Yes Yes No No
TDP 15-30W 15-30W 15-30W 15-30W

Two of these SKUs have already been announced actually, just not by the official names. Asus's upcoming ROG Ally handheld gaming PC uses a customized version of the 7840U and 7540U, and are branded as the Z1 Extreme and Z1 respectively. The four U-class chips don't just differ in core count, but also in whether they support Ryzen AI hardware and in graphical capability. The top two APUs have AI capability as well as the fastest iGPUs, while the bottom two models have no AI support and use the weaker 740M iGPU.

AMD claims a victory over Apple and Intel

AMD has always been proud of its Ryzen mobile series in performance and efficiency (even when it's not necessarily warranted), and the 7040U series is no different. Considering that Intel's 13th-generation CPUs don't offer a significant improvement in thin and light laptops, it's not surprising AMD says its 7840U can beat Intel's top-end Raptor Lake P chip by 30% to 130% depending on the workload. What might raise some eyebrows is the claimed performance gap between the 7840U and Apple's M2 CPU.

An AMD benchmark showing the performance of the 7840U against Apple's M2 CPU.

Source: AMD

The benchmark categories in particular are strange. Five of the six categories don't refer to any specific test, but in the footnotes of AMD's slide deck, it lists out the benchmarks as Cinebench R23, Passmark 10 (which was already labeled), Kraken, Puget (presumably the Adobe Photoshop test), and Blender.

AMD is also claiming a big lead in gaming when using integrated graphics over Intel, with a performance advantage ranging from 30% to 140% when gaming at 1080p with low graphics settings. No framerates were given so we can't say how playable these games were, but it seems AMD's still ahead of the competition when it comes to integrated graphics, especially seeing as macOS has poor support for these kinds of games.

An AMD benchmark comparing the 7840U to the 1360P in gaming.

Source: AMD

Take these performance claims with a grain of salt, of course. Once actual laptops (and handheld PCs) using 7040U APUs land in the hands of reviewers, AMD's claims can actually be interrogated and we'll see whether these chips live up to expectations.