AMD announces Ryzen 7040 first X86 processor series with AI accelerator

Encompassing several processor models for laptop systems, the AMD Ryzen 7040 processor family introduces an AI co-processor for the first time for the x86 platform to accelerate neural processing algorithms. According to AMD, the AI accelerator is significantly faster than that found in Apple’s M1 Pro chipsets for macOS, shortening processing times for video and audio effects in editing solutions while improving the gaming experience by freeing the system processor from those tasks that can be run through the Ryzen AI engine.

Present in one form or another on most smartphones, the AI accelerator or NPU (Neural Processing Unit) plays an essential role in optimising the quality of pictures delivered by the camera, applying image effects and the smooth running of applications that integrate various functions based on artificial intelligence algorithms. A good example would be voice-activated assistance services, which can return responses faster and provide additional capabilities if the device used includes NPU acceleration.

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Apparently very optimistic about the innovation brought by AMD, the head of Microsoft’s hardware division, Panos Panay, claims that “AI is about to reinvent the way you interact with Windows devices”, making possible new capabilities that simply could not have existed without dedicated hardware support.

Returning to the new Ryzen 7040 series, it comes in three TDP versions of 15W, 28W and 35W, featuring up to 16 processing cores with HyperThreading. Like the desktop versions, these are all P-core, with AMD rejecting the asymmetric core-based strategy adopted by Intel to “optimise” power consumption. Unlike the Ryzen 7000 PC processors, the 7040 series trades the CCD-based design for a monolithic one, with all processor functions housed on a single chip. Although more expensive, the solution has the advantage of increased efficiency on the power consumption side, allowing higher performance to be achieved under the temperature and power consumption constraints imposed by laptop systems.

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Built using TSMC’s 4nm EUV manufacturing process, the Ryzen 7045 “Dragon Range” series of processors will be seen in new laptop models to be announced from March 2023.

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