Why you won't see AMD's SmartShift technology in more laptops until 2021

Dell's G5 15 SE gaming laptop is the only one to have it this year.

Credit: Dell

If you were waiting for another laptop besides the Dell G5 15 SE gaming laptop to feature AMD’s new SmartShift technology this year—don’t hold your breath.

Smartshift, which can dynamically shift performance resources between a Radeon GPU and Ryzen CPU, is one of the highlights of a new era for AMD-based laptops, led by the impressive Ryzen 4000 mobile CPUs. But in a Twitter response asking where the other SmartShift laptops are, AMD’s Frank Azor responded with bad news for AMD fans. 

“It’s a brand new technology and to Dell’s credit, they jumped on it first,” Azor said. “No more SmartShift laptops are coming this year but the team is working hard on having more options ASAP for 2021.”

Azor, who currently works as AMD’s Chief Architect of Gaming Solutions, explained the challenge when he appeared on PCWorld’s "The Full Nerd" podcast recently. Laptop roadmaps are planned at least a year in advance, Azor pointed out. Vendors have to make design choices based not only on what the part maker claims, but also what the vendors think customers will want.

frank azor smartshift Twitter

AMD’s Frank Azor said don’t expect any more SmartShift laptop announcements this year.

Azor said a lot of PC vendors didn’t expect the game-changing performance from Ryzen 4000 that we’ve seen from its H-class CPUs and its U-class CPUs, so it’s understandable they’d dip a toe into the Ryzen pool rather than jump in with both feet.

With the performance of the CPU now proven, we expect to see more laptop vendors adopt Ryzen and Radeon parts. But that takes time, and that’s where we are today, Azor said.

The vast majority of the new AMD-based laptops aren’t focused on gaming either, Azor said. Expect about 20 percent of the first 100 Ryzen-based laptops to be gaming laptops.

You can watch PCWorld's full interview with Frank Azor here on YouTube or embedded below.

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Gordon Mah Ung

PC World (US online)
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