AMD Ryzen 7 8840U Beats Steam Deck’s CPU Efficiency; 7% Better FPS at 10W!

amd ryzen 8840u
Latest GPD Win 4 Handheld Features AMD Ryzen 7 8840U | Image Courtesy: AMD / GPD
In Short
  • AMD recently released Ryzen 8000 processors, and the Ryzen 7 8840U is used in GPD's latest handheld.
  • This processor is shown to finally outperform the efficiency of Valve Steam Deck's AMD Aerith processor.
  • At 10W, AMD's new Ryzen 7 8840U gets ~7% more FPS than the Steam Deck, tested in Batman Arkham Knight.

AMD has released the Ryzen 7 8840U processor, and it is particularly enticing when considering its performance in a low power limit scenario. The Steam Deck is a super interesting piece of hardware, notably because of its AMD accelerated processing unit (APU) code-named Aerith. The Valve handheld is efficient and highly renowned for that reason.

Faster gaming handhelds such as the ROG Ally with newer processors do not beat the Steam Deck in terms of power efficiency. But now, according to a recent benchmark, the new AMD Ryzen 7 8840U based on Zen 4 core architecture finally beats the Steam Deck’s Aerith AMD APU built on Zen 2. This benchmark was shared by X (formerly Twitter) user @carygolomb.

By the way, if you are wondering why performance, specifically at the 10W power limit, is so important, here’s why. The battery life on handhelds ultimately decides how much on-the-go gaming the user can do. Only the Steam Deck could previously output this much performance when limited to 10W. This is now untrue after the launch of AMD Ryzen 8000.

Image Courtesy: @carygolomb via X

According to this above-mentioned benchmark, you can see that the Ryzen 7 8840U (constrained to a 10W power limit) is performing better than the Steam Deck’s Zen 2 Core + RDNA 2 Graphic-based “Aerith” processor. Paired with the newer Radeon 780M graphics, the Ryzen 8000 processor gets 51.7 FPS on average. The Steam Deck gets 48.3 FPS.

GPD Handhelds with AMD Ryzen 7 8840U are definitely one of the very best to consider now because of this. Do note that it’s not clear yet whether or not the Steam Deck OLED is better in terms of power efficiency than the Ryzen 7 8840U. The gaming benchmark doesn’t state which Steam Deck it tested. This can include the OLED or the original one.

Valve had updated the internal processor of the Steam Deck with the OLED variant. This resulted in slight power efficiency increases, thanks to a newer manufacturing process. Still, the Ryzen 7 8840U beating the Steam Deck’s processor is an exciting development.

Probably Not Impressive Enough to Meet Valve’s Demands

The new AMD Ryzen 8000 processors aren’t actually that impressive. Consider that two processor generations (Zen 3 and Zen 4) have emerged. Yet, the new Ryzen 7 8840U only gets ~7% extra FPS compared to the older Zen 2-based Aerith processor.

Do note that performance is better on the Ryzen 8000 when using higher power limits. But we’re talking about performance at the 10W profile here. I don’t think this kind of efficiency gain is enough for Valve.

The company probably won’t consider the current processor architectures for the next Steam Deck. But I called this development exciting. Why? Because at least we are now one step closer to something in the future that may meet Valve’s demands.

What processor will the Steam Deck 2 finally end up using?

Do note that AMD can still work with Valve on a custom chip using aspects of the Ryzen 8000. In the end, that specially designed processor could beat everything else regarding power efficiency.

That hypothetical special chip could achieve better efficiency than what we showed above. The APU found in the original Steam Deck stands to the test of time and is still one of the most efficient AMD processors.

What are your thoughts on the AMD Ryzen 7 8840U processor? Do you think its efficiency is impressive, or did you expect something better to be released by chipmakers now? Let us know in the comments below.

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