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Buyer’s Passport: Hardware configurations can eat up 25% of the Radeon 6800M’s performance

Editor’s grip: The new Radeon RX 6800M GPU in the Asus Strix G15 seems to suffer severe performance deficits with storage RAM, as well as when it is sent out to the internal screen. Both of these can be solved relatively easily, but it is not a good start for the hardware-focused AMD Advantage initiative.

When is not a GPU the same GPU? When in a Laptop!

Gaming portable buyers have long been accustomed to buying weaker versions of the graphics cards sold under the same name on the desktop, with lower TDP and fewer cores (even when not intended!) – but in addition to the two factors, AMD’s RX 6800M looks appears to be triggered by the rest of the laptop it enters.

With the Asus ROG Strix G1

5 reviewed, YouTuber JarrodsTech found that the laptop had severe performance losses when using stock RAM and the laptop’s own internal monitor in use. The ROG G15, like many other gaming gaming laptops, features hybrid graphics that switch between the discrete GPU and the CPU’s integrated graphics; this improves battery life, but limits bandwidth and eats into the CPU’s power budget.

Nvidia’s Advanced Optimus may force a discrete graphics mode, but the G15 has no such option, which means it only reaches maximum performance when output to an external monitor. Furthermore, loose times for memory from the manufacturer also further damaged performance – previously seen in Ryzen-powered Lenovo Legion 5 Pro – and the effect of these two factors is quite shocking when put together.

By switching RAM and sending to an internal monitor, the G15 jumps from an average of 102 to 135 FPS in Shadow of the Tomb Raider; in relative terms, the 6800M was held back to barely RTX 3060-beat performance when there could be trades with a powerful RTX 3080.

This presents a serious problem for prospective buyers. Our review of the Radeon 6800M here at TechSpot used the same Asus laptop, and we noticed the problem with memory times – we actually replaced it to measure GPU apples to apples as we usually do – and ran tests with both internal and external screen output, but many others do not want it, which means that consumers only see an AMD-only device that is worse than its Intel and Nvidia rivals, when in reality it is limited by bad decisions on the part of the manufacturer.

Seeing the G15 with these issues is a particularly bad look for the red team, as it will be the debut of the AMD Advantage initiative, a set of goals set by AMD for laptops when working with manufacturers similar to Nvidia Max-Qs or Intel Evo.

Asus’ close partnership with AMD – bringing Ryzen processors to the ROG Zephyrus G14 and Flow X13 ultraportables and even going into the technical work of applying thermal adhesive in liquid metal to them – makes these design forks even more confusing.

And while none of the Advantage requirements explicitly cover RAM, graphics switch or even performance as a whole, the initiative should be for AMD to work with its partners to get the most out of the systems their chips go into – and have poor implementation that suffocates those tiles two levels down in the product pile hardly give their best foot forward.

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