AMD Ryzen 7040U Series CPUs for Ultra-Slim Laptops Unveiled: Zen 4 Architecture, RDNA 3 Graphics, Ryzen AI

Following the announcements of its high-performance Ryzen 7000-series CPUs for desktops and mainstream laptops, AMD is now ready to ship more power-optimised versions aimed at premium ultra-slim laptops. The Ryzen 7040U series, codenamed 'Phoenix', consists of four CPU models at the time of launch, based on the current-gen 'Zen 4' architecture with RDNA3 graphics capabilities. Laptops based on these new chips will be announced by major manufacturers in the coming weeks, though there's no word yet on availability.  

While much of the Ryzen 7000 family for laptops was first announced at CES 2023, specific details of the new 7040U series have only just been made public. As per AMD's new numbering scheme, the leading digit indicates the time of launch, the second digit indicates the relative power of each CPU in a series, and the third digit tells you which Zen architecture generation has been used. The U suffix represents the 15-30W thermal envelope target. Thus, this series consists of the Ryzen 3 7440U, Ryzen 5 7540U, Ryzen 5 7640U, and Ryzen 7 7840U.

The top-end Ryzen 7 7840U features eight CPU cores with multi-threading, for 16 threads. It has a 5.1Ghz peak speed, 12 GPU compute units, and a 16MB L2 cache. Both Ryzen 5 models have six cores and 12 threads with 16MB of L2 cache memory, and either eight or four GPU CUs as you go down the line. The base Ryzen 3 7440U is a quad-core, eight-thread part with four CUs and only 8MB of L2 cache.

The two higher-end parts are AMD's first CPUs to feature Ryzen AI hardware for AI acceleration. This is a dedicated on-package FPGA developed by Xilinx, which AMD acquired in 2022. The company promises "magical new experiences" and "advanced features" such as the Microsoft Studio Effects pack in Windows 11 which can reframe video calls based on your head position, filter out background noise, correct your eyes to make it seem as though you're looking directly into the camera, and blur your background.  

AMD is claiming leadership in content creation and professional workloads not only against Intel/s 13th Gen P-series CPUs, but also Apple with its current-gen M2. GPU power will be a major selling point, thanks to the RDNA 3 graphics architecture which supports ray tracing acceleration. Battery life for laptops is also said to be greatly improved thanks to smart power management, though AMD has not yet published any expected runtime numbers. Real-world performance will of course depend on laptop manufacturers' implementations and how they prioritise weight and heat dissipation.

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