One of the elements of building a complete end-to-end solution means having all the components under one brand. The complexity of modern gadgets means that having everything made under one company is near-on impossible - especially with the wealth of IP and patents in every small segment of the modern electronic device. To facilitate the appearance of uniform branding, companies will often rebrand the components under their own name. Introducing the AMD RZ608, a Wi-Fi 6E 2x2 wireless module!

As discovered by Laczarus, the new handheld device called the AYANEO uses a wide array of AMD components, starting with the AMD Ryzen 5 4500U mobile processor which is a six-core Zen 2 chip with Vega 6 graphics. It also has a 7-inch display, and it runs a full version of Windows in a handheld device, something akin to an x86 competitor to the Nintendo Switch, albeit crowdfunded and currently shipping to initial backers.

On an update posted to the crowdfunding site on May 9th, the developers behind the project announced that their second batch of 2000 units will be using an unannounced AMD Wi-Fi 6E module. The post states that the AYANEO might very well be the first device with this module in production, and they leverage their cooperation with AMD for the integration with this part as well as troubleshooting. It is also noted that the AMD solution is slightly more expensive than the standard Wi-Fi 6 that was initially part of the design.

So here comes the crux: AMD doesn’t make the Wi-Fi module. Through our sleuthing, this is actually a rebranded MediaTek MT7921K module with an AMD logo on it. MediaTek sells the modules to AMD who brands them, but also leverages the regulatory compliance that MediaTek has already done for this product. AMD then takes over custom integration projects, sales, marketing, and support for the module. The RZ608 sold by AMD is in an M.2 2230 form factor and uses PCIe 2.1, although the AYANEO likely is using a more custom integration. There is also Bluetooth 5.2.

The use of the partnership with MediaTek will likely allow AMD to partner its mobile processors with its own branded Wi-Fi 6E solution with OEM partners when it comes to designing devices. Intel leverages the fact that it has Intel CPU, Intel Wi-Fi, Intel Thunderbolt, and Intel Ethernet as a combined sales opportunity for OEMs making devices around an Intel product, so it appears that AMD is leveraging the same ecosystem gains, albeit with rebranded components.

There was an unconfirmed rumor going around the internet last year about a collaboration between MediaTek and AMD co-creating some custom wireless designs, with some reports suggesting that the collaboration will go beyond Wi-Fi. We're not sure to what extent AMD has had any input in the design of the MT7921K / RZ608, or how much that will continue going forward. At this point I'm confident that this sits as a rebrand just for now, given the lifecycle of product development in this area, as well as the Wi-Fi certification being in MediaTek's name.

Wi-Fi Alliance Certification of MT7921K/RZ608

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  • Small Bison - Monday, May 10, 2021 - link

    MT7921 is supported in the vanilla kernel ( so I suppose it’s just a matter of how different MT7921K is.
  • kepstin - Monday, May 10, 2021 - link

    Looking at the specs, the only difference is that the 'K' model adds WiFi 6E support (6ghz band). It should be otherwise the same. I'd expect Linux driver support will be coming soonish… but that's probably gonna be a couple months until there's a workable experimental driver, and longer until it's in released/distribution kernels.
  • Solo450 - Monday, May 10, 2021 - link

    Any reason to prefer AMD's RZ608 module over Intel's AX210 module? The AX210 is already quite inexpensive (especially if directly shipped from China) and as a bonus has 160 MHz bandwidth support in the 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands.
  • kepstin - Monday, May 10, 2021 - link

    There's no real benefit to the consumer. That said, the 160MHz bandwidth isn't really *that* useful unless you're sitting in a faraday cage beside your wifi router.
    (Of course, I live in Canada, where there's only a *single* 160MHz band available, and WiFi 6E's 6GHz bands are not permitted.)

    My best guess is that this is purely a marketing/branding play by AMD aimed at laptop OEMs. AMD wants to remove that last "Intel" brand name that shows up on the spec sheets of premium laptops.

    I bet AMD is going to be offering some CPU+wifi "bundle" deals to laptop OEMs to bring the cost of the AMD-branded wifi down below that of bare Intel AX210 module.
  • lmcd - Thursday, June 3, 2021 - link

    It all makes sense, right up until the part where they picked MediaTek. Yikes.
  • Memo.Ray - Monday, May 10, 2021 - link

    6E but no 160MHz , interesting!
  • regsEx - Monday, May 10, 2021 - link

    Will it be available as a M.2 2230 key A/E card, as Intel AX200?
  • kepstin - Monday, May 10, 2021 - link

    The reference design for the Mediatek MT7921K does appear to be an M.2 2230 A/E-key card. I assume the AMD-branded one will be the same, since the goal is presumably for it to be a drop-in replacement for the Intel AX210 in laptops.
  • zodiacfml - Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - link

    interesting. mediatek SoC with AMD GPU in the future?
  • nandnandnand - Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - link

    I'm sure Samsung has the ARM + AMD GPU combo locked down.

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