Our first taste of the AMD Ryzen 7 4700U came in the form of the affordable Acer Swift 3 laptop. After AMD launched its 7nm Ryzen 4000 CPU family at CES and dealt a first, crushing blow with the Ryzen 9 4900HS chip in high-end notebook PCs, the Ryzen 7 4700U tackles the next challenge: U-class, thin-and-light laptops. The company’s offerings in this area have been weak in the past, so AMD focused on optimizing Ryzen 4000 for thinner notebook PCs. Everyone wants to know if AMD’s Ryzen “U” chips finally have what it takes.
Check out our full Ryzen 7 4700U review for the highlights, and if you want to dive deeper, here are all the additional benchmarks we ran on the CPU.
How we tested
As you can’t test a laptop CPU by itself, we selected three models to represent their respective CPUs. Acer’s Swift 3 SF314-42 debuts with AMD’s Ryzen 7 4700U, code-named “Renoir.” This budget CPU features 8 cores, but without Symmetrical Multi-Threading (that’s reserved for the Ryzen 7 4800U), so it’s limited to 8 total threads. The Swift 3 comes with 8GB of LPDDR4X/3733 RAM and a 14-inch display.
Representing Intel are Dell’s XPS 13 7390 with Intel’s Comet Lake U 10th-gen Core i7 10710U, and Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 with Intel’s Ice Lake 10th-gen Core i7-1065G7. The top-end Comet Lake U features 6 cores and 12 threads, while the Ice Lake chip features 4 cores with 8 threads. We consider both XPS laptops to be good comparisons, as they usually top the charts in performance over most of the laptops we see. They both have 16GB of RAM compared to the Acer’s 8GB, but the Dell XPS 13 7390 uses slower LPDDR3, while the XPS 13 2-in-1 uses LPDDR4X/3733. The XPS 13’s display is 13.3 inches, and the XPS 13 2-in-1’s screen is 13.4 inches.
All three laptops were running the latest public build of Windows 10 (1909 18363.815) and the latest drivers and UEFI, to bring them in line with all of the security mitigations. While the Acer didn’t appear to have any performance settings other than Window 10’s slider (remember, it’s a $650 budget laptop), both Dell XPS laptops were run using their Ultra Performance settings.
We also want to mention that testing three laptops at home during shelter-in-place required some accommodation. With ambient temperatures always shifting in our test lab-slash-dining room, we stopped testing when the temps got too high. For consistency, all of the results we show are from the laptops running the same tests at the same time.
Ryzen 7 4700U CPU Performance
We’ll kick this off with Maxon’s Cinebench R20. It’s a recently updated test made to measure how fast a CPU renders a 3D model. It uses the company’s Cinema4D engine, which is integrated into major products including Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
Intel has argued that using 3D modelling benchmarks isn’t useful in thin-and-light laptops, because very few people buy them for that kind of work. While we somewhat agree, we also see there’s enough performance potential now in thin-and-lights that you could shed a few pounds (in power brick, too), yet still enjoy multi-core performance.
Cinebench R20 Performance
As the chart below shows, you could enjoy plenty from Ryzen 7 4700U, which was 23 percent faster than Intel’s most advanced 10th-gen Core i7-1065G7 chip. It’s also about 14 percent faster than Intel’s top-end 6-core, 12-thread Core i7-10710U. Remember: This Ryzen 7 4700U doesn’t even have SMT turned on.
To focus on Intel’s contention that single-threaded performance matters most, we use Cinebench R20 set to a single thread. It’s not the same as running a spell-check in Microsoft Word, but it does give you an indication of the chip’s performance under load.
The results above are basically a tie. The “winner” here is Ryzen 7 4700U, which comes in slightly ahead of the Core i7-10710U Comet Lake U. You’d expect the Comet Lake U’s 4.7GHz turbo boost clock to win this over the Ryzen 7 4700U’s 4GHz boost clock, but Cinebench R20 takes far longer to run than the older Cinebench R15 and uses AVX, AVX2, and AVX512, which can drag down the boost clocks. (See our Cinebench R15 results at the end of the review.)
HandBrake 1.3.1 Performance
Our next CPU test measures performance under more stressful conditions. We normally use an older, 0.9.9 version of the free HandBrake utility to convert a 30GB, 1080p video using the Android Tablet preset. Both 1080p and Android tablets are about as far behind us as 2014, though, so we took this chance run the latest public version of HandBrake, version 1.3.1, and convert the open-source 4K video, Tears of Steel, using the H.265 Matroska 1080p/30 preset.
For this test, the encode is done purely on the x86 cores. Obviously, the shorter result is better, because that means less time waiting for the encode.
As you can see below, Ryzen 7 4700U wins by a mile, coming in about 30 percent faster than the Core i7-10710U. Against the more advanced 10nm Core i7-1065G7, you’re looking at a 36-percent difference. Remember, the Ryzen 7 3700U doesn’t even have SMT.
The previous encode uses the x86 side to perform the video transcode. That’s kind of old-school when you have the advanced media engines in the chips. To look at that, we used the same 4K Tears of Steel video and encoded it using the H.265 preset; however, we switched it to use the QuickSync encoding engine for Intel, and AMD’s new VCE (Video Coding Engine). We set all three to use the Main Profile setting and Peak Frame Rate at 30 fps (the QuickSync preset defaults to the older Variable Frame Rate setting, set to Same as Source).
As you can see in the chart above, AMD’s VCE crosses the finish line first, about 11 percent faster than the Core i7-1065G7. The Core i7-10710U and its older media engine are about 28 percent slower.
AMD’s VCE engine wins on performance, but one variable we don’t consider is the quality of the video encoded by QuickSync and VCE. Even though both are using the same settings in HandBrake, it’s not quite equal if one is producing inferior video. Perhaps we’ll ask our video nerds to check the video quality. For now, we’ll still give it to AMD’s VCE.
In the Amiga-vintage POV-Ray ray tracing benchmark, we see the Ryzen 7 4700U open up an even larger lead. Again, all of Intel’s protests apply here as, yes, an infinitesimally small population do ray tracing with an app that first started with the Amiga. However, if you do, reach for Ryzen.
When we run POV-Ray in single-threaded mode, the gaps close. All three virtually end in a tie, with the Comet Lake U slightly ahead. For the most part, we think that single-threaded performance between the chips is close enough that it doesn’t matter most of the time.
On one hand, this is bad for Intel, because a 4.7GHz Core i7-10710U should dispatch a 4GHz Ryzen 7 chip. But then, the 3.9GHz boost Ice Lake chip is right there too. You know what, everyone takes home a trophy today!
V-Ray Next Performance
Our last multi-core, multi-threaded 3D modelling test is Chaos Group’s V-Ray Next. It’s a physically-based render that has notched an Academy Award and has been used for the visual effects on such minor projects as Game of Thrones. The results are a little more interesting for the Ryzen 7, because it loses to the 6/12 Core i7-10710U by about 13 percent. Even the quad-core Core i7-1065G7 isn’t that far behind when you consider it has half the physical cores of the Ryzen 7. The Ryzen 7 4700U is likely hobbled by AMD’s decision to partition SMT off for only Ryzen 7 4800U customers.
Ryzen 7 4700U GPU Performance
For the next section we’ll move on to graphics performance. The 14nm, 10th-gen Core i7-10710U offers essentially the same graphics engine we’ve seen for many years now, Intel UHD, with a number to denote its performance. Intel has more recently dropped the number, and we sometimes don’t even see the U anymore either. The 10nm, 10th-gen Core i7-1065G7 gets a much more advanced Iris Plus graphics engine, which was a welcome change when introduced. It’s enough to make low-power discrete Nvidia MX graphics nervous.
AMD’s Ryzen 7 4700U features improved Radeon Vega cores, which the company said are markedly faster and more efficient than Vega cores on older process generations. The Ryzen 7 4700U features 7 compute units inside, which can offer 1080p gaming capability. But let’s be realistic: It’s a limited thermal envelope with only LPDDR4X/3733 vs. a discrete GPU’s GDDR6. It’s only going to take you so far. We’ve said the same about Intel’s much better Iris Plus graphics, too.
Still, synthetic tests help illustrate the limitations. 3DMark’s Sky Diver (below) is well suited for basic gaming measurements. As you can see, the Ryzen 7 4700U with Radeon graphics is about 12 percent faster in the graphics-only sub-test, which mostly filters out CPU performance.
We also ran 3DMark’s Fire Strike test. It’s essentially a tie, with Ryzen about 3 percent faster. Yet again, both graphics cores seem closely matched.
In real-world gaming benchmarks, Intel’s Iris Plus still has teeth. In World of Tanks at 1366×768 resolution and the benchmark set to Minimum, Iris Plus notches a pretty good win, with a score 25 percent higher.
Crank the World of Tanks benchmark to 1920×1080 resolution and “Medium,” though, and the tables are suddenly turned. We suspect you could start picking your way through another six games and find the advantage for either design. For the most part, both are light years ahead of previous integrated graphics implementations and would do in a pinch to play at, say 720p low. Much of that depends on your taste in gaming and your tolerance for moving game quality sliders to the left side instead of the right side.
Even if graphics performance is fairly close, AMD’s main argument persists: no compromises. With Intel’s two 10th-gen chips, you either choose core count with Core i7-10710U or you chose graphics performance with Core i7-1065G7. It’s clear with Ryzen 7 4700U, you can have your Twinkie and eat it, too.
Battery life matters! Keep reading to see how Ryzen 7 4700U fares.