There was some confusion when AMD announced and launched the Ryzen Z1 series of processors. Was it a new series or an upgraded 7xxxU APU … so AMD decided to make things a little more clearer.
Taken from TPU … The ASUS ROG Ally handheld games console emerged last month and it was revealed to pack some impressive “custom” AMD hardware – the two companies have boasted that the collaboration has resulted in two special SoCs – the Ryzen Z1 and Ryzen Z1 Extreme. Silicon enthusiasts were quick to point out that the Z1 series sported similar specifications to mobile/ultra-portable chipsets in AMD’s 7040U family – in particular the Ryzen 7 7840U looks almost identical to its gaming equivalent (Ryzen Z1 Extreme). Andrew E. Freedman at Tom’s Hardware was curious and motivated enough to request clarification (about this situation) from AMD. Team Red were happy to respond and acknowledged the apparent similarities between the gaming and laptop chipset ranges, but also stated that Z1 APUs have been tweaked by company engineers to a certain degree.
Matthew Hurwitz, a client PR manager at AMD, provided a response to the Tom’s Hardware-issued query: “The Ryzen Z1 series are purpose-built with handheld gaming in mind. To accomplish this, AMD engineers had to validate entirely new power ranges and optimize the voltage curves specifically for this use case – this optimization and validation work should not be trivialized. So while the technology building blocks (like ‘Zen 4’ and RDNA 3) are similar between the 7040 and Z1 series, the resulting models have very distinct characteristics customized for their use cases. In addition, the AMD Ryzen AI engine is not available on AMD Ryzen Z1 series processors.” Hurwitz also confirmed that AMD’s XDNA AI engine is merely disabled (so not removed at hardware level) on the two Z1 APUs – this feature is only enabled on the range-topping Ryzen 7 7840U model and mid-range Ryzen 5 7640U. So yes, there are small differences but AMD and ASUS have probably saved some money on development costs by creating and adopting the “slightly adjusted” Z1 SoC series.
Update May 6th: Tom’s Hardware has amended their article (as of May 5, 5:03 p.m. ET) – another source within AMD has informed them about the Z1 and Z1 Extreme APUs having configurable TDPs of 9 W to 30 W. The original story – and AMD’s website – claimed a range of 15-30 W.