It’s shaping up to be a busy 2020 for computer chip maker AMD. In addition to releasing its own consumer processors and graphics cards, the company’s chips form the basis of upcoming next-generation video game consoles from Microsoft and Sony. Plus, Google’s Stadia and Microsoft’s Project xCloud game streaming services are also using AMD’s processors. For its 2020 CES media event, AMD’s made some bold claims that should interest gamers, content creators, businesses and more.
The company kicked things off by recapping a 2019 that President and CEO Dr. Lisa Su called “a huge, huge year.” Su rattled off an impressive list of products from the past year that packed some of AMD’s CPU and/or graphics gear, including Microsoft’s Surface Laptop, Apple’s latest Mac Pro, and the aforementioned Google Stadia.
The company then jumped into what we can expect for the new year. For laptop users, AMD announced its 8-core Ryzen 4000 series of processors for ultralight PCs, gaming rigs and more traditional laptops.
On the gaming side, a new $279 Radeon RX 5600 XT graphics card slots in between the existing 5700 and 5500 line. The trio of card options gives gamers options at several price and spec points, from 1080p to 1440p according to AMD, but choices for high-performance, high-end 4K PC gaming basically remain an Nvidia-only field.
Of course, there are more ways to game at 4K beyond an expensive discrete graphics card, and AMD repeatedly pointed out its hardware forms the basis of the next-gen, 4K-ready PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. The RDNA architecture that powers its 5700/5600/5500 series cards also powers Google’s and Microsoft’s game streaming services, so the company isn’t ignoring 4K gaming completely.
For content creators, AMD’s aggressively named Threadripper processor line has become a solid hit by combining obscene amounts of computing cores with not-too-obscene price points. Those multiple cores make time-intensive tasks like video rendering much faster, and AMD closed the show by announcing a new top-tier desktop processor: the Threadripper 3990X with a whopping 64 cores and 128 threads. While the thought of 64 cores might seem superfluous to most, the time savings and performance increases could be a boon to content production studios and 3D animation houses. And the company didn’t hesitate to show off impressive benchmarks pitting its latest CPU against parts from longtime rival Intel.
Overall, AMD put on a confident show and gave gamers and content creators especially a lot to look forward to. It’s going to be a big year for traditional console gaming and game streaming services, and AMD’s positioned itself well.