Intel Vs. Amd Laptop Battery Life: Efficiency For Productivity And Portability. – Welcome to the second part of our study comparing the Ryzen Mobile 4000 and 10th Gen Intel Core processors in the same laptop design. In Part 1, we covered everything you need to know about the design and performance of these laptops, and you should definitely read it if you missed it. Today we wrap this up with a look at games.
To summarize briefly, we have two XMG Core 15 laptops using essentially the same chassis. On the left is the AMD Ryzen 7 4800H, and the laptop on the right is the Intel Core i7-10750H. The specs are otherwise the same: 16GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory, the same 512GB M.2 SSD, the same 1080p 144Hz display and, most importantly, the same Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU.
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There are minor differences on the inside due to the platforms the AMD and Intel chips run on, so the placement of the heat pipes is slightly different and the layout of the main components is also changed. Otherwise, the XMG and TongFang have the same general design, the same Z-axis height, the same weight, and a very similar feature set.
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We also made sure that this was not a case of a manufacturer optimizing one platform and forgetting about another. The Intel machine is capable of delivering up to 75W to the CPU and 100W to the GPU. The AMD machine gets a power boost of up to 72W on the CPU and 110W on the GPU. Either way, XMG pushes components to their limits with this power delivery and cooling solution.
In the first part, it’s no surprise that the Ryzen system goes from slightly faster to much faster in terms of workload performance. We saw this when examining parts at stock power levels, and it is also true when both sources exceed 70W. Intel still holds the single-threaded performance crown, but otherwise – whether we’re talking about GPU-accelerated workloads or heavily multi-threaded ones – the AMD machine is clearly superior. It also increased battery life due to higher efficiency.
As we’ve seen from the desktop battles between AMD and Intel, better performance doesn’t always mean better gaming performance.
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But games are a completely different story. As we’ve seen from the desktop battles between AMD and Intel, better performance doesn’t always mean better gaming performance. Until now, we’ve never had a detailed and objective analysis of AMD and Intel gaming performance on the same processor, so today’s results are very interesting.
Before diving into the benchmark data, we want to briefly talk about the power limits and configurations of this device, as this information is very important for the gaming results that will appear soon.
Today we’ll focus on the two main power profiles each system offers: Enthusiast and Overboost. Although they have the same name on Intel and AMD systems, they operate differently.
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Enthusiast mode is essentially the “standard” setting for both devices. For Intel, this means a maximum long-term CPU power cap of 45 W, while for the GPU it is 90 W. It’s the same story with AMD; The CPU operates at up to 45W and the GPU at up to 90W. Overboost mode goes beyond these limits. For an Intel system this means up to 75W per CPU and 90W per GPU, and for AMD this means up to 72W per CPU and 110W per GPU.
This part is very important because in Overboost mode you won’t see the 72W CPU and 110W GPU running at the same time. Instead, the CPU is sacrificed under heavy CPU and GPU load, dropping to a long-term limit of 45W on AMD and Intel machines.
Since the GPU is more critical to gaming performance, it delivers power at this maximum limit, which is common behavior for high-end power profiles in gaming laptops. If the game is more CPU-limited and the GPU is not running at its limits, more power is allocated to the CPU up to a maximum limit balanced by the overall system thermal output.
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These are the GPU clock speeds implemented in almost all modes of a typical gaming environment like Watch Dogs 2, which is quite taxing on both the CPU and GPU. Each CPU runs at 45W and you can see that in three of the four tests the GPU is running at around 1600MHz with a GPU power consumption of 90W. The AMD system in Overboost mode accelerates to 1770 MHz with a GPU power consumption of 110 W.
This is a significant difference between AMD and Intel systems in terms of Overboost mode. While both systems have higher CPU power limits in this mode, only the AMD laptop has a higher GPU power limit and therefore higher clock speeds. While XMG tells us that the Intel model can deliver up to 100W of GPU power, we didn’t actually see this in our tests; This may happen in some GPU-only workloads, but throughout gaming testing, GPU clock speeds and power were consistent across Enthusiast and Overboost modes on the Intel system.
But the most interesting thing in this comparison is the total system power drawn from the wall. If each system is running the same game, using the same settings, the same part of the game, with the same configuration and even driver, the AMD system will consume less power at the same power limits. And that’s a significant difference of 22W, or 12% less power for the AMD machine.
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What is the logic behind this? There are two factors at play here. First, the AMD chip is more efficient at a certain performance level, so it doesn’t always require the same amount of power. In Watch Dogs 2, despite being capped at 45W, it would sometimes only run at 45W, most often remaining in the 35 to 40W power range. As the CPU load increased, it reached 45W, but the 4800H only consumed 45W under very high loads. The Intel processor, meanwhile, ran completely at 45W, except for very low usage levels, which made up the difference to some extent.
The second reason is that input power does not always equal output power: in order for the processor to use the advertised 45W power, more than 45W of power must be supplied to the system, which comes with various losses. XMG told us that the Intel system’s input power can be 10 to 12 percent higher than the output power. According to some rough tests we’ve run under various conditions, an Intel processor requires 5-10W more power for a given output level compared to an AMD processor running the same workload in the same configuration. This includes Intel’s 3W requirement for the PCH (Platform Controller Center), which AMD designs don’t need due to the SoC design.
Knowing that an AMD laptop is more efficient in overall system power consumption under the same power limits gives the Ryzen machine more room to overboost the GPU. The headroom is 20W, so the GPU power limit has been increased from 90W to 110W. This presents an interesting situation where a laptop with around 190-200W of total cooling power can deliver more GPU power when paired with an AMD APU.
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How does this affect performance? Let’s look at some benchmarks, and there’s no better place to start than Watch Dogs 2 because that’s what we used to measure system power and GPU clock speed.
In Enthusiast mode, which uses the same CPU and GPU power limits and the same GPU clock speed, the Intel system has an average performance advantage of 8%. However, since the AMD system can run its GPU at a higher clock speed, using Overboost mode shows that the gap has narrowed: the Intel system is now only 3% faster.
In Grand Theft Auto V the gap is even smaller; Only 3% in favor of Intel in Enthusiast mode. By setting the Overboost mode, this delta is almost completely eliminated. Note that both systems use the same GPU.
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However, an AMD system may not be able to bridge the performance gap in all cases. In Wolfenstein II running at 1080p max settings, the Intel laptop is significantly faster in both modes: 12% faster when GPU clock synchronized in Enthusiast mode and 7% faster when power clocked in Overboost mode.
But many other scenarios can be observed in these direct comparisons. One such example is Far Cry 5; Here the Intel system is 10% ahead when looking at average frame rates in Enthusiast mode, but about 3% slower at sub-1%. When more power is sent to the GPU, the average frame rate difference drops to 5%, but it is still 5% in Intel’s favor.
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