Wednesday, October 2nd 2019

AMD and Microsoft Announce New 15 Inch Thin and Light Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

Today, AMD and Microsoft announced the first-ever 15-inch Microsoft Surface Laptop powered by new AMD Ryzen Microsoft Surface Edition processors. A significant, multi-year co-engineering program between AMD and Microsoft at the silicon, platform, and software levels created this 15" Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 with a perfect balance of performance, battery life, and sleek and lightweight design. Combining world-class compute and graphics performance with a fully optimized, rearchitected system software stack including AMD Radeon FreeSync display technology, Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is designed for creative professionals, students, gamers on the go, and business users who value the large screen experience alongside portability. The custom AMD Ryzen Microsoft Surface Edition processors and optimized software highlight the latest example in the multi-year collaboration between AMD and Microsoft, first established more than a decade ago for the Microsoft Xbox and now spanning from Azure to Surface to xCloud and Project Scarlett.
"With AMD Ryzen Microsoft Surface Edition processors, AMD brings to market the most powerful mobile processors for ultrathin laptops we ever created," said Rick Bergman, executive vice president, computing and graphics business group, AMD. "The AMD-powered Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 delivers premium craftsmanship only AMD could help bring to life, combining a 15-inch laptop with a customized 15 W processor to create a device that packs all the power and visual experiences of a large screen with the benefits of an ultra-thin, 3.4 pounds device. Widely recognized for offering world-class CPU and GPU performance, AMD is pleased to partner with Microsoft and continue bringing innovation to the market."

"When looking for the right processor to power the all new Microsoft Surface Laptop 3, we wanted the best graphics performance in a single processor. AMD immediately came to mind given our successful history of collaboration bringing world class graphics performance to the Xbox," said Pavan Davuluri, Distinguished Engineer, Microsoft Corporation, Microsoft devices group. "Through our long-term partnership with AMD, which demonstrates process capabilities at the forefront of the industry, we're bringing advanced computing experiences and striking innovation to Microsoft Surface Laptop 3."

Read more about AMD and Microsoft's multi-year journey to bring Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 to life on the AMD blog and Microsoft Windows Blog.
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22 Comments on AMD and Microsoft Announce New 15 Inch Thin and Light Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

#2
Franzen4Real
I bought an original Surface right when they launched and have always liked it a lot, but at the same time always thought it would have been a little nicer if it would have been designed with an AMD APU for more graphics muscle. Even though gaming isn't it's intended use, it was still cool to do some light gaming from time to time. As much as I've wanted to upgrade as the form factor and efficiency improved over first gen, I have held off due to the limited iGPU's from Intel. I think that eventually when an AMD w/ Navi APU is available in a Surface, that would be my breaking point to grab a new one and retire my 1st gen.
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#3
Vayra86
Great news to see AMD in a premium product. Curious to see what a 15W TDP does on a Ryzen apu... @W1zzard any chance?
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#4
yakk
Finally indeed. Eager to see how it stacks up versus other Surface configs.
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#5
AnarchoPrimitiv
TheLaughingMan
Finally time to upgrade my Surface Pro 3.
Me as well... Though I had won mine in an online giveaway

I tell you, the surface pro would have been an excellent product for the Kaby Lake CPU/AMD GPU collaboration, it would have really given it some graphical horsepower. Either way though, I'm really interested to see what AMD can do with the Zen 2 cores.... You think they'll use the same Vega CUs in an APU or Navi with the new Navi based mobility GPUs? Either way, what would be really awesome is if partnering with AMD will be able to get the price down.
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#6
danbert2000
No info on Zen+ vs Zen 2, probably Vega instead of Navi. This is a great start but I'm more interested in what Zen 2/Navi could do. With the older tech it's probably just going to be a minor bump in GPU and that's it.

EDIT: Looked it up from the links:

"This re-engineered approach provides a hybrid-turbo-like capacity for bursts up to 4 GHz of 'Zen+' CPU performance or take what is already the world’s fastest performing graphics for ultrathin laptops to new heights when needed."

"Effortless acceleration when needed: The specifically customized AMD Ryzen Microsoft Surface Edition processor inherits from the graphics core architecture of Xbox One and includes one additional compute unit more than any other AMD Ryzen mobile processor for an extra boost of graphics horsepower."

So it's got one extra CU (So I guess Vega 11?) and it is Zen+ but with some tuned boosting algorithms to reach up to 4 GHz. So we're not going to see IPC uplift from Zen 2, but that frequency is pretty high for a laptop APU. I'm guessing it will be bursty and then clock down pretty aggressively. Overall, not bad. I'm guessing we'll get at least MX150 performance in games.
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#7
windwhirl
AnarchoPrimitiv
Me as well... Though I had won mine in an online giveaway

I tell you, the surface pro would have been an excellent product for the Kaby Lake CPU/AMD GPU collaboration, it would have really given it some graphical horsepower. Either way though, I'm really interested to see what AMD can do with the Zen 2 cores.... You think they'll use the same Vega CUs in an APU or Navi with the new Navi based mobility GPUs? Either way, what would be really awesome is if partnering with AMD will be able to get the price down.
danbert2000
No info on Zen+ vs Zen 2, probably Vega instead of Navi. This is a great start but I'm more interested in what Zen 2/Navi could do. With the older tech it's probably just going to be a minor bump in GPU and that's it.
The footnotes for Mobile Ryzen reveal a Vega 9 IGP and a Zen+ CPU (almost ensured it will be a quad-core with SMT, the Ryzen 7 3000 series for Mobile only goes up to four cores, so I don't think this Ryzen 5 will be an exception).
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#8
Mark Little
Arstechnica says this is a Ryzen 3580U with 9 Vega compute units.
https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2019/10/amd-scores-a-big-marketing-win-with-ryzen-powered-microsoft-surface/

This is not a stock part but rather custom as the press release states. It falls between the 3550U and 3700U.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryzen#Zen+_microarchitecture

I would venture to guess that it is a quad core SMT 4(8) with 2.2 GHz base clocks and 3.9 GHz turbo clocks. The number of Vega processors is 576. This should be faster on the CPU and GPU side than the Core i7-1065(G7) and only marginally slower on the CPU side but much faster on the GPU side than the Core i7-8665U.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Core_i7_microprocessors#Sunny_Cove_microarchitecture_(10th_generation)

This is probably the reason MS went with AMD.

Edit: That makes the AMD processor Zen+ and Vega.
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#9
dicktracy
This is Zen+ with the infamous gross latency. And still no Thunderbolt for EGPU action. PASS.
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#10
john_
(I hate this site, but they do have some benchmarks)
Microsoft Embraces AMD: Custom Ryzen 7 Surface Edition CPUs Debut in Surface Laptop 3 (Updated)


GraphicsProcessTDP3DMark 11 Score3DMark Timespy Score
Ryzen 7 3780U "Surface Edition"Radeon RX Vega 11 (11 CU)12nm (likely)15W51241126.5
Intel Core i7-1065G7Iris Plus Graphics10nm15W4910 (4% less)957 (18% less)
Intel Core i7-8665UUHD Graphics 62014nm15W2019.5 (154% less)455.3 (147% less)
Intel Core i7-8565UUHD Graphics 62014nm15W2237.8 (129% less)485.5 (132% less)
Ryzen 7 3700URadeon RX Vega 10 (10 CU)12nm15W4432.3 (15% less)969 (16% less)
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#11
Camm
dicktracy
This is Zen+ with the infamous gross latency. And still no Thunderbolt for EGPU action. PASS.
And anyone who actually has passed thru a egpu thru thunderbolt will tell you its not worth it. If you need better laptop gaming performance, just buy a better gpu in your laptop.
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#12
Darmok N Jalad
I would love to see a truly custom AMD chip go into Surface. Since memory is not upgradeable anyway, maybe a 256bit memory bus or HBM2 connected to a 4 to 6 core CPU and a GPU with 20+ CUs. Make a beast!
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#13
R0H1T
Darmok N Jalad
I would love to see a truly custom AMD chip go into Surface. Since memory is not upgradeable anyway, maybe a 256bit memory bus or HBM2 connected to a 4 to 6 core CPU and a GPU with 20+ CUs. Make a beast!
That thing will probably come at some point in time but the thing is someone like MS, not unlike Apple, needs to ensure there's sufficient volume for AMD to justify such an investment in a custom APU. If I'd have to make a wild guess (why not?) that'd be 7nm or 7nm EUV based solution from AMD, 2021 at the earliest.
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#14
biffzinker
No one's talking about the Surface Duo?

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#15
R0H1T
Still a concept AFAIK, we also know MS' record with devices such as the Zune & Windows phones.
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#16
rvalencia
dicktracy
This is Zen+ with the infamous gross latency. And still no Thunderbolt for EGPU action. PASS.
APU's quad-core Zen single CCX module doesn't have links between two CCX modules.
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#17
thebluebumblebee
AMD has been doing a lot of things right lately. Then they do this:

[MEDIA=twitter]1179511392879173633[/MEDIA]

"Get the scoop from the @verge" ?!?!?!?!?
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#18
Tartaros
Camm
And anyone who actually has passed thru a egpu thru thunderbolt will tell you its not worth it. If you need better laptop gaming performance, just buy a better gpu in your laptop.
I did to mine and it's worth the hassle. The problem is compatibility, which is a roulette.
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#19
Camm
Tartaros
I did to mine and it's worth the hassle. The problem is compatibility, which is a roulette.
Or that you essentially hit a wall in performance. 1080 Ti's performing like 1070's wasn't exactly a great experience.
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#20
notb
Mark Little
This is probably the reason MS went with AMD.
This is a very weird launch.
There are actually 2 lines of laptops: Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Laptop 3 for Business. Each with 13.5" or 15".
13.5" variants are Intel-only and probably identical save for a TPM 2.0 chip.

Consumer 15":
AMD APU, max 16GB RAM, max 512GB SSD

Business 15":
Intel 10th, max 32GB RAM, max 1TB SSD

Intel variants have WiFi 6, but they don't support Thunderbolt 3 (which is integrated in Ice Lake...).
Camm
And anyone who actually has passed thru a egpu thru thunderbolt will tell you its not worth it. If you need better laptop gaming performance, just buy a better gpu in your laptop.
Not everyone wants a gaming laptop. The whole idea of eGPU for gaming is that you can have a normal, light notebook for everyday tasks (like the Surface Laptop). You attach the eGPU for the occasional gaming (or for non-gaming tasks).
So one shouldn't really compare a laptop+eGPU to a fully-focused gaming desktop or even expensive gaming laptops. It competes with stuff that people normally buy for occasional 2h/week gaming: consoles and cheap desktops.
Camm
Or that you essentially hit a wall in performance. 1080 Ti's performing like 1070's wasn't exactly a great experience.
A desktop 1080Ti performing like a desktop 1070 is not too shoddy compared to laptop alternatives.
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#21
Camm
notb
Not everyone wants a gaming laptop. The whole idea of eGPU for gaming is that you can have a normal, light notebook for everyday tasks (like the Surface Laptop). You attach the eGPU for the occasional gaming (or for non-gaming tasks).
So one shouldn't really compare a laptop+eGPU to a fully-focused gaming desktop or even expensive gaming laptops. It competes with stuff that people normally buy for occasional 2h/week gaming: consoles and cheap desktops.

A desktop 1080Ti performing like a desktop 1070 is not too shoddy compared to laptop alternatives.
I'm not against the idea, but the current contested PCIEx4 limitation has far too many caveats. And that 1070 performance is very dependent on game, for example, games with texture streaming like Titanfall 2 essentially don't work (as they murder out the bandwidth).

Comparatively, you could just spend the extra $1k and get 1070 performance in your laptop all the time.
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#22
Tartaros
Like @notb said,it's a matter of practicality. Back then I got my laptop for work and moved a lot. Then I got home and plugged it to the egpu to play sometimes. Money was a constrain and for very cheap I had a decent gaming setup.
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