AMD’s Ryzen Z1 series isn’t far from being one of the best CPUs; however, the Zen 4-powered chips do wonders for handheld gaming devices, such as the ROG Ally, the primary rival to the Steam Deck. Despite being processors that consume no more than 30W, the Ryzen Z1 series can rival some desktop processors as long as the latter is a few generations old.
If you haven’t been following the gaming handheld scene, the Ryzen Z1 Extreme is AMD’s highest-performing processor for handheld devices. Wielding the latest Zen 4 cores, the Ryzen Z1 Extreme has eight cores, 16 threads, and respectable clock speeds to brag about. The octa-core chip has a 3.3 GHz base clock and a boost clock that hits 5.1 GHz. Nonetheless, Ryzen Z1 Extreme’s RDNA 3-based integrated graphics is mainly responsible for the chip’s graphics prowess. It features 12 RDNA 3 compute units at 2.7 GHz.
While other ROG Ally owners are busy gaming, Twitter user Mochamad Farido Fanani has benchmarked the Ryzen Z1 Extreme with Cinebench R23, providing a reference for comparison to see how much processing power is inside the tiny Zen 4 chip. The Ryzen Z1 Extreme inside the ROG ally has access to 16GB (2x8GB) of LPDDR5-6400 memory.
|Processor||Multi Core||Single Core|
|M2 Max (MacBook Pro)||14,797||1,620|
|Ryzen Z1 Extreme||10,818||1,676|
|Apple M1 (Mac Mini)||7,833||1,522|
The Ryzen Z1 Extreme delivered 32% and 17% higher single-and multi-core performance than the Core i5-10600K. It’s an impressive feat on one hand because the Ryzen Z1 Extreme is a 30W, reportedly running at 15W, while the Core i5-10600K is a 125W processor. That’s a significant delta in TDP. On the other hand, the Core i5-10600K is a three-year-old chip, so it does take away some merit from the Ryzen Z1 Extreme.
It’s logical the Ryzen Z1 Extreme cannot compete with a more modern model, like the Core i5-13600K. The margins were abysmal. The Core i5-13600K posted 20% faster in single-core performance and 113% in multi-core performance.
The Ryzen Z1 Extreme was superior to the Apple M1 (via Anandtech’s review of the Mac Mini). The Zen 4 chip outperformed the Apple M1 by 10% in single-core performance and 38% in multi-core performance. The Ryzen Z1 Extreme was also 3% faster than the M2 Max (MacBook Pro 2023) in single-core performance. However, the M2 Max showed its strength in the multi-core benchmark, outpacing the Ryzen Z1 Extreme by 37%.
Asus has interim exclusivity to AMD’s Ryzen Z1 series of high-performance processors for handheld gaming consoles. The processor’s maximum potential remains a mystery. It’ll be interesting to see if other manufacturers can squeeze more out of the Ryzen Z1 series.