Report: Surface Laptop 3 Will Feature AMD Processors

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Microsoft recently invited the press to an event in New York City where it's expected to announce new versions of its Surface hardware. The new version of at least one of these products might be more different from its predecessors than many people expected, according to WinFuture, which reported today that Microsoft plans to announce a new Surface Laptop equipped with AMD processors rather than merely adopting the latest chips from Intel.

So far Microsoft has released two generations of Surface Laptop: the first debuted in May 2017 and the second arrived in October 2018. Both exclusively featured Intel processors. Rumors about the next generation featuring another company's chips started pretty soon after the Surface Laptop 2's debut, though, with The Verge reporting in November 2019 that Microsoft could use AMD's Picasso accelerated processing unit (APU) in the Surface Laptop 3.

Petri published a similar report in June, saying that Microsoft had made prototype Surface devices featuring Picasso APUs as well as Snapdragon chips from Qualcomm, meaning the company had experimented outside the x86 architecture. (Which doesn't come as too much of a surprise, given Microsoft's efforts to support Arm processors in Windows 10.) It seemed like Surface devices featuring non-Intel processors were becoming more likely.

Now we have WinFuture reporting that, according to "a series of corresponding entries in non-public databases of European retailers," Microsoft plans to release a Surface Laptop 3 with a 15-inch display and AMD CPU. (Quote translated from the original German via Google Translate.) WinFuture said it found three Surface Laptop models featuring AMD processors, but the database entries didn't make it clear which of AMD's chips were being used.

This shift could result in future Surface devices offering a mix of Intel and AMD processors. AMD's certainly prepared enough APUs to serve Microsoft for a while: in addition to the Picasso APUs announced in January, the company's also believed to be working on new Renoir APUs featuring Zen 2 cores, as well as Dali APUs based on Raven Ridge. Those APUs would purportedly cover the high (Renoir) and low (Dali) ends of the laptop and tablet market.

We should find out more when Microsoft announces the Surface Laptop 3. If the rumors are true, that should happen at the New York City event on October 2, so we shouldn't have to wait long to learn if the company's finally decided to put something other than an Intel processor in the Surface Laptop.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.

  • excalibur1814
    Title: "Surface Laptop 3 WILL feature..."

    Text: "If the rumors are true..."

    Stop this. A rumour is just that and nothing more. The title should be, "Surface Laptop 3 MAY feature... according to rumour."
  • Antias
    Ummm, maybe I'm nuts, but...
    "with The Verge reporting in November 2019 that Microsoft ..."
    seems a little premature to me...
  • bigdragon
    I look forward to seeing AMD mobile processors show up in premium laptops and tablets. The HP Envy x360 15z that I'm typing this message on right now performs on par with recent Intel products. Unfortunately, the build quality, digitizer, display, and HP drivers and UEFI implementation are all garbage. Hopefully Microsoft will provide a better overall product.
  • StewartHH
    Antias said:
    Ummm, maybe I'm nuts, but...
    "with The Verge reporting in November 2019 that Microsoft ..."
    seems a little premature to me...

    Yes it seams to be premature, there have many rumors of Microsoft using AMD or ARM chips in surface produicts - similar to what about Apple Mac products and so far nothing. Likely latest Intel on pros and InceLake - with Thunderbolt 3 supports

    Trusted Reviews indicated IceLake version on GeekBench - I am hoping for a foldable Lakefield version
  • paul prochnow
    I figure a 12 core phone processor would do it.
    16 thread Ryzens do bring heat, how tame can they lower the power?I

    I got a 4w. HP Stream and it is nearly unusable.
    They need a h u g e quantum leap in the power\core count formula.
  • cryoburner
    paul prochnow said:
    16 thread Ryzens do bring heat, how tame can they lower the power?
    Who said anything about 16-threads? The Ryzen Picasso APUs top out at 4-cores with 8-threads, and models are available with a 15 watt TDP, which should be similar to the power draw and heat output of the processors used in the current Surface Laptop 2.

    The Surface Laptop is also in a much higher price segment than something like an HP Stream. Whereas the Stream targets the budget end of thin-and-lights, the Surface Laptop lineup covers the $1000+ "ultrabook" range. The higher price allows them to include features like a magnesium alloy body that can more effectively dissipate heat.