AMD SmartShift Technology Only Available on Dell G5 15 SE Laptop For 2020, More Variants In The Work For 2021


One of the key technologies of AMD's Ryzen 4000 Renoir APU family is SmartShift which enables CPU & GPU to shift power dynamically based on the workload. Laptops with this technology can either get higher gaming performance by delivering more power to the GPU or increased content creation performance by increasing power limits for the CPU. However, this sought after feature of AMD's Ryzen 4000 laptops is kept exclusive to just a single laptop for the entirety of 2020.

AMD's SmartShift Technology Limited To Just One Laptop In 2020, More Renoir Powered Laptops With SmartShift Expected To Land in 2021

AMD's Chief Architect of Gaming Solutions, Frank Azor, in a recent tweet revealed that since the technology is new at this point of time, the adoption rate has been lower but credit is given to Dell for adopting it in its Dell G5 15 SE notebook which features the Ryzen 9 4900H CPU & a Radeon RX 5600M GPU.

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Frank confirmed that while we won't be getting any more SmartShift laptops featuring AMD's Ryzen 4000 Renoir and RDNA 1 Radeon RX GPUs, his team at AMD is working hard on bringing a variety of options for 2021. It is likely that we would get to see some new variants displayed at CES 2021 that support SmartShift technologies along with refreshed designs to existing Renoir notebooks.

While it is disappointing that this key feature won't be hitting more options at all this year, AMD's Renoir powered laptops still feature outstanding efficiency compared to the competition leading to higher battery life. Features like SmartShift would make use of the extra power to drive it into the necessary hardware components. AMD has claimed that users can expect up to 14% better gaming performance and up to 12% higher CPC performance with SmartShift enabled.

AMD also developed a customized interface in its Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition through which users can view how power is being shifted to the CPU and GPU. The technology can boost a singular component or both at once depending on the workload and the power headroom. One of the reasons why there have not been many SmartShift offerings this year could be due to design limitations on the notebook vendors side.

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AMD has set criteria of what's required to enable Smart Shift on laptops. These include:

  • The electrical subsystem for the CPU & dGPU must be sized to supply each ASIC at peak power.
  • Thermal solution must be designed to manage sudden power shifts and peak power on each ASIC.
  • A balanced CPU/dGPU pairing that provides a meaningful increase when the shift happens.

And the most important bit that AMD revealed themselves was that they will focus SmartShift for AMD Navi 10 dGPUs with Ryzen 4000 series. Considering how there are already a limited Radeon RX 5000 'Navi 10' notebooks out there, it makes sense why there's only one laptop being offered in 2020 that supports SmartShift.