Mendocino: Old + New for the cheap seats…

AMD plans to bring better graphics to budget laptops later this year with the launch of a new line of “Mendocino” processors that combine the company’s latest RDNA 2 integrated graphics technology with CPU cores based on AMD’s Zen 2 architecture, which is a few years old at this point.

The upshot is that by providing a mix of new and old, AMD expects Mendocino chips to end up in laptops that will sell for between $399 and $699. And that price point shouldn’t be surprising, because you know what else has a Zen 2 + RDNA 2 processor? Valve’s Steam Deck, a handheld gaming PC that sells for $399 to $649.

Mendocino processors could bring a big graphics performance boost to entry-level laptops, with the company’s RDNA 2 architecture offering performance that rivals an entry-level NVIDIA MX series GPU. As Anandtech notes though, it’s likely that laptops with these chips won’t be targeted at gamers and probably won’t include a high number of GPU cores, but may be able to leverage RDNA 2 technology for energy-efficient hardware-accelerated video encoding and decoding for things like media playback and video chat, among other things.

While the company isn’t providing detailed specs or model numbers for the Mendocino chips yet, here’s what we know so far:

Manufactured using the same TSCM 6nm processor as Ryzen 6000 mobile
Up to 4 Zen 2 CPU cores / 8 threads
LPDDR5 memory
Expected to deliver 10+ hours of mixed usage battery life
Targeted at notebooks in the $399 to $699 range
Expected to show up in Windows notebooks and Chromebooks
AMD also indicated that a Lenovo IdeaPad 1 laptop would be among the first to feature a Mendocino processor.