Why you can’t get a high-end GPU in a Ryzen gaming laptop

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Why you can’t get a high-end GPU in a Ryzen gaming laptop

Why aren’t Ryzen gaming laptops getting the same GPU love that their Intel-based rivals are? In the same week that Alienware updated its M17 and Area 51m with GeForce RTX 2080 Super GPUs, and Gigabyte introduced its Aorus 15P aimed at professional gamers with its 10th-gen Intel CPU and GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, Ryzen got blanked, with no new gaming laptops featuring anything faster than a GeForce RTX 2060.

Even HP’s recently released Ryzen-based Omen 15 can’t get a break. The version of the Omen 15 with an 8-core Ryzen 7 4800H offers a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti right now, with an RTX 2060 Max-Q version on the way. The Intel version, however, comes with a 6-core Core i7-10750H and up to a GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q.


The situation is so baffling that reputable media outlets like Notebookcheck.net have openly wondered where the Ryzen laptops with high-end GPUs are. The mystery has, of course, also spawned conspiracy theories by those who speculate that the real or imagined hand of Intel is at work.

“…the fact that not a single OEM offers a high-end Ryzen laptop to me sounds like the OEMs are being bribed by Intel or something similar,” one Redditor guessed in the AMD subreddit. “I don’t want to have to give Intel money, but if there’s not a single option for a high-end Ryzen laptop, I’ll have no choice.”

Ryzen 4000 doesn’t have enough PCIe?

Igorslab.de (the successor to Tom’s Hardware Germany) actually throws out a theory that the dearth of Ryzens with high-end GPUs may be due to AMD’s mobile chip itself. According to the laptop makers it spoke to, Igorslab.de says, the Ryzen 4000’s access to only eight lanes of PCIe 3.0 was seen as too much of a penalty. “A gaming laptop with a more powerful GeForce RTX would already have to struggle with unnecessary limits today,” Igor Wallossek said.

While Wallossek makes a good point, that hasn’t stopped other laptop makers from making the same design choice on purpose, and with higher-powered hardware. Alienware’s original Area 51m, for example, features a desktop Core i9 and a GeForce RTX 2080. While that chip has 16 lanes of PCIe 3.0, Alienware purposely uses half of it for the Amplifier expansion port. Asked why, Alienware officials told PCWorld its research, plus independent research, has long shown that PCIe bandwidth wasn’t a limiting factor in today’s games.

So if it’s not a technical reason, it must be darker forces? PCWorld asked Nvidia for comment, but the company was mum.

Good burn, Intel

Intel officials, however, readily volunteered that maybe, just maybe, Core is better, and that’s why it comes with high-end GPUs.

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