Lenovo has two new low-cost laptops for the education market coming in September. Priced at $219 and up, they’re designed for students and schools that want to balance performance, all-day battery life, and low cost.

They’re also powered by previously unannounced AMD chips.

The Lenovo 100e 2nd-gen and Lenovo 300e 2nd-gen laptops feature some of AMD’s first 6-watt chips to feature AMD Zen CPU cores and Radeon Vega graphics.

Lenovo 100e 2nd-gen and Lenovo 300e 2nd-gen
Left: Lenovo 300e 2nd-gen / Right: Lenovo 100e 2nd-gen

While you probably shouldn’t expect the same level of performance from these budget laptops with entry-level chips that you’d find in higher-end products with AMD Ryzen processors, these new chips should be a big step up from the last AMD chips with an “e” at the end of their names, which AnandTech notes were released way back in 2011.

Lenovo says starting prices for its laptops are for models featuring AMD 3015e processors, but there appear to be at least three new 6-watt processors in AMD’s Education lineup:

Cores/threadsBaseTurboGPUGPU freqDDR4TDP
Athlon Silver 3050e2 / 4?2.8 GHzVega 31 GHz24006 W
AMD 3020e2 / 21.2 GHz2.6 GHzVega 31 GHz24006 W
AMD 3015e2 / 41.2 GHz2.3 GHzVega 3600 MHz16006 W

It’s interesting to note that that while the AMD 3020e processors supports higher speeds than the AMD 3015e chip, it lacks support for hyperthreading. So it will probably perform better at single-core CPU tasks, while the AMD 3015e might actually be better for multi-threaded applications… although that chip also has a slower graphics processor.

All told, it looks like AMD is ready to take on Intel in the entry-level laptop space. Intel has largely dominated that market in recent years with its Atom-based “Gemini Lake” and “Gemini Lake Refresh” chips showing up in many Windows laptops that sell for around $300 or less, as well as some Chromebooks — although Intel faces competition from ARM-based chip makers including Rockchip and MediaTek for the entry-level Chromebook market.

Update: An article at CNX Software reminded me that Lenovo has already introduced a computer powered by the AMD Athlon Silver 3050e. We just didn’t know that it would be a 6-watt processor at the time.

Lenovo ThinkCentre M75n IoT

The upcoming Lenovo ThinkCentre M75n IoT Nano Desktop is a 7.1″ x 3.5″ x 1.4″ fanless desktop computer with 4GB of RAM and support for PCIe solid state storage.

First introduced in June, the little computer is designed for corporate, enterprise, and industrial applications and it will sell for $329 and up. Lenovo also has a consumer/business model called the ThinkCentre M75 Nano Desktop on the way.

Lenovo ThinkCentre M75n

That model will be available with a either a 15-watt Ryzen 3 Pro 3300U or Ryzen 5 Pro 3500U processor and it’s expected to sell for $539 and up.

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15 replies on “AMD brings Zen architecture to entry-level 6W laptop processors”

  1. I was seriously considering a ThinkCentre Nano when Lenovo had their last sale. The thing that held me back was that the RAM was soldered and no replaceable. I hope that’s not the case with the AMD versions.

  2. I am hoping that ASRock or another motherboard manufacturer will put out low-power/fanless Mini-ITX motherboards based on these. Hopefully with 4 SATA ports which would make for a nice base for building a small NAS (upgrades for home servers build on ASRocks J3710-ITX/J5005-ITX).

  3. Am so exciting for this, hope GPD, AYO, or someone else there will make HAndheld console based on this, it look so promising

  4. These might actually be pretty decent CPUs. The 3020e already has some benchmarking data with Passmark: https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+3020e&id=3758 and it scored a passmark score of 2727. And that is only the 2c/2t model. The 4 thread 3050e model should be even more powerful.

    Compare this to the Celeron N4120, which is a 4c/4t chip which only scored 2300 passmark score.

    I think AMD is going to start work on destroying Intel’s Gemini Lake lineup now. I think the only ammunition Intel has right now for this are those Lakefield chips that are upcoming (the big:little 5-core chips), and they are probably not in a position to compete price-wise.

    1. I was prepared to believe Intel was still ahead in single-core performance, but nope. Passmark says 1507 for the AMD 3020e, and just 1113 for Celeron N4120.

    2. core M is better than both and use like 4w power, but as you said price war Amd will win.

      1. This is not aimed at Core M… at all. The names are a tell-all: Silver, Gold? Think Pentium Gold. This is meant to take out Intel’s low-end Pentium and Celeron offerings. These Athlon processors are using old Zen 1 architecture on GlobalFoundries’ mature 12nm process. It is meant to provide cheap processors to the low-end market at $50 a unit or less with far greater performance than the competition. Intel’s 14nm is supply constrained as it is so expect Intel to bleed market share because GlobalFoundries’ now legacy 12nm process has plenty of manufacturing elbow room.

      2. These are going to come pretty close to the Core M, they might even outperform them. The M3-8100y scores a passmark score around 3000. The AMD 3020e (the 2 core 2 thread model) scores a passmark score of 2727.

        We haven’t even seen benchmarking data for the 2 core 4 thread model (3050e), but I think its safe to say it will compete with the 8100y. Depending on the GPU performance, it might even outperform the 8100y.

        Based on the few benchmarks that are in the Passmark database, it looks like the GPU in the 3020e is on par with the M3-8100y, they’re both scoring around 575 in the 3D Graphics test, but Passmark isn’t very well known for their 3D benchmarking, so maybe we should wait to see other tests.

        However, what is interesting is that the 3D benchmarks were done on an AMD 3020e system that only had 3GB of RAM, and nearly all of the M3-8100y benchmarks were done on systems with 8gb of RAM.

        Either way, I think we’re going to see great performance from these chips, they appear to punch far above their weight class.

        1. It looks like these are based on leftover wafers. Basically the cheap 14nm stuff that’s notably inferior to Intel’s 14nm Core i-Y processors. And to top it off, these are using Zen1 architecture, which is also lower efficiency and IPC than Intel.

          So they’ll be faster than an Atom (Z8750) but slower than a Core-M (6y30). All in all, not very impressive.

          But if they’re very cheap, this will finally kill Intel’s legacy Pentium/Celeron/Atom family of chipsets. And we will maybe see these on USD $50 Single-board Computers like the Raspberry Pi 4 or Odroid N2+, unlike the stupidly expensive LattePanda Alpha or Udoo Bolt V8.

        2. You can find benchmarks on Geekbench database for both 3020e and 3050e already. Performance is still inferior compared to Intel Core m3 chips. Perhaps this is why its targeted for cheap ultra low budget laptops.

  5. Last paragraph, you swapped a word:
    “All told, it looks like Intel is ready to take on Intel in the entry-level laptop space.”
    The first instance of “Intel” should probably be “AMD.”

    It’s good to see the Athlon-Es dying! They are so… so budget.

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