AMD’s upcoming Mendocino processors are designed for low-cost laptops in the $399 to $699 price range, but at least one company has also announced plans to use a Mendocino chip for a handheld gaming PC that will be priced as low as $289.

At first glance the processor seems like a good fit for gaming, since its architecture is similar to the custom “Aerith” processor AMD designed for Valve’s Steam Deck. Both chips combine AMD Zen 2 CPU cores with AMD RDNA 2 graphics processors. But Mendocino chips are rumored to have as few as two GPU compute units, while the Steam Deck’s Aerith chip has 8.

via ChipHell

AMD hasn’t confirmed the specs for its Mendocino processor yet, but according to a report from Angstronomics, the processor will feature a single RDNA 2 WGP (Work Group Processor) with two compute units.

That seems to be confirmed by a slide posted to the ChipHell forum (via @Olrak29_), showing that Mendocino processors features:

  • Up to 4 Zen 2 CPU cores (and up to 8 threads)
  • Navi2 “small” graphics with 2 RDNA 2 compute units
  • Support for up to 32GB of LPDDR5 memory

It does look like there could be multiple chips in the Mendocino family, with mentions of it bring a “scalable” platform that could offer chips in the AMD Athlon, Ryzen 3, and Ryzen 5 lines. I just wouldn’t expect any of them to be graphics powerhouses with just one quarter of the GPU compute units available in Valve’s Steam Deck.

The good news is that there’s also a decent chance that this could mean the chips will also consume less power, which could mean longer battery life for laptops or handhelds with Mendocino chips. And the GPUs could still be good enough for light gaming including emulation of older game systems. Just don’t expect any sub-$300 handhelds to offer Steam Deck level performance anytime soon.

That said, a number of handheld gaming PC companies have already announced plans to release models with AMD Ryzen 5 6600U or Ryzen 7 6800U processors in the coming months. These chips feature Zen 3+ CPU cores with RDNA 2 graphics. The Ryzen 5 6600U is a 6-core, 12-thread processor with 6 GPU cores, while the Ryzen 7 6800U is an 8-core, 16-thread chip with 12 graphics cores that should offer far greater performance than the Steam Deck’s Aerith processor.

Just don’t expect any handhelds with those chips to be competitive with Valve’s handheld in terms of pricing.

via VideoCardz

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4 replies on “AMD’s Mendocino chips pair Zen 2 CPU cores with RDNA 2 graphics, but might not be graphics powerhouses”

  1. memory interface is half wide compared to mainstream APUs, which are already limited by their slow interface compared to dedicated GPUs. Great for gaming!

  2. Did anyone ever actually think this would be anywhere close to being the same as Van Gogh and it’s derivatives? From the beginning this has always smelled like a replacement for very low end Ryzen 3s and Athlons that used Vega 2 and 3 iGPUs, but with more CPU cores. If they do indeed have a “high end” Mendocino I would expect it to max out at 4 CUs.

    1. It clearly states: for cheap chromebooks: more than enough to render Web and play casual games

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