The Next Surface Laptop Might Have a Powerful Surprise

The Surface Laptop 2, with Intel inside.
Photo: Alex Cranz (Gizmodo)

German website Winfuture is claiming that the next generation of Surface Laptop could be using AMD processors instead of the Intel CPUs found in every other Surface device. If true that’d be a big boon for AMD and a bit of an embarrassment for Intel.

On October 2 Microsoft is holding an event in New York City where it is expected to launch a whole new slew of Surface devices. We’ve heard rumors for over a year that the next Surface (the Surface Pro 7) would feature a major redesign including USB-C. We’ve also heard plenty of rumors about a dual-screen Surface device. Even this week Digital Trends also uncovered an FCC filing suggesting the Surface Pen would finally include wireless charging—similar to the latest version of the Apple Pencil.

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Last year Brad Sams of Thurrot published a book, Beneath a Surface, that claimed Microsoft would be moving to AMD parts for the Surface Laptop. On Monday Winfuture went a step further and claimed that the AMD parts would appear primarily in a new 15-inch Surface Laptop. Last night data miner and serial leaker @TUM_APISAK tweeted what appears to be the actual parts appearing in the devices.

Those processors have not been officially announced by AMD, but Tom’s Hardware reported on their probable existence last month and suggested they’d be quite speedy, with Vega 9 graphics. Those Vega 9 would potentially be superior to the Vega 8 graphics in the marketplace, and they’d be potentially as fast or far faster than the graphics found in Intel’s new Ice Lake CPUs.

Ice Lake, which is the obvious alternative to AMD’s product, has been slow to roll out. Between that and the potential power boost offered by Vega 9, there would be a clear reason for Microsoft to make the switch.

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But boy, this would be a big deal.

For the past few years, Intel has firmly held the market on flagship devices. The most notable laptops almost always have Intel CPUs standard. You’ll find Intel standard in everything from the MacBook Air to Lenovo’s ThinkPad series to Asus’s Zenbooks.

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There’s a reason for that. AMD’s mobile processors simply weren’t as good as Intel’s for a very long time. It allowed Intel to get a huge chunk of the market and AMD has spent the last three years slowly trying to compete again. It’s been wildly successful in the desktop space, where it’s high octane Threadripper CPUs are coveted by gamers, streamers, and pros. Yet AMD has seemingly struggled in the laptop arena.

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Back at CES, AMD held a roundtable with reporters and AMD CEO Lisa Su I asked Su about the state of AMD’s laptop business and the absence of AMD in flagship devices. She said “You know it’s a journey but we’re making progress. We really are.” She then went on to note AMD was seeing increased traction in the laptop market, and that production of laptops with AMD parts would ramp up before admitting “We have work to do.”

If all these rumors are accurate the laptop space is about to be a lot more competitive. Both AMD and Microsoft declined to comment on this story, but if you know more about what’s coming from AMD and Microsoft you can reach me via Proton Mail or at alex.cranz@gizmodo.com. My DMs also open and you can anonymously contact us via SecureDrop as well.

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About the author

Alex Cranz

Senior Reviews Editor. Trained her dog to do fist bumps. Once wrote for Lifetime. Tips encouraged via Secure Drop, Proton Mail, or DM for Signal.