What we know about AMD’s Ryzen “Microsoft Surface Edition” processor

What we know about AMD's Ryzen

What we know about AMD’s Ryzen “Microsoft Surface Edition” processor

Microsoft has announced that AMD is powering Microsoft’s 15-inch Surface Laptop 3. With their new 15-inch Surface Laptops, AMD and Microsoft are offering users custom silicon to deliver the “fastest AMD mobile processor for ultrathin laptops”. On top of this, AMD claims that their new chips can provide the “world’s highest performing graphics for ultrathin laptops”. 

These are some lofty claims from both Microsoft and AMD, leaving us to wonder what’s so special about AMD’s semi-custom Ryzen “Microsoft Surface Edition” processors. Yes, the AMD Ryzen CPU that powers the Surface Laptop 3 is a custom design, one which won’t be included in any non-Surface products. 

For starters, we can confirm that these processors are derived from AMD’s Ryzen Mobile 3000 series processors and AMD’s Zen architecture. This means that these processors are manufactured using GlobalFoundries’ 12nm lithography process, and utilise AMD’s Vega graphics architecture. 

Microsoft’s Ryzen Surface Edition processors are officially called the Ryzen 7 3780U and Ryzen 5 3580U by AMD, sitting above AMD’s Ryzen 5 3500U and Ryzen 7 3700U respectively while maintaining a 15W TDP. AMD’s Ryzen 7 3780U contains a Vega 11 graphics component, which is larger than the Vega 10 GPU that’s used on the Ryzen 7 3700U. The Ryzen 5 3580U uses AMD’s Vega 9 GPU. The number of GPU CUs (Compute Units) is listed in each GPUs name. IE, Vega 11 is a Vega GPU with 11 Compute Units. 

One other thing to note is that the Surface Laptop 3 supports AMD FreeSync, which can be used to “optimise your frame rates, reduce screen tearing and enable extended battery life”.

Deep inside one of AMD’s blogposts regarding Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 3, a “revolutionary on-die pen controller” is mentioned. Right now it is unclear whether or not this controller sits on AMD’s Ryzen “Microsoft Surface Edition” processor or not. AMD also mentions that the Surface Laptop 3 contains a “re-engineered approach” to performance shifting, enabling faster shifts from idle to boost clocks. This change enables faster response times and burst speeds of up to 4GHz on AMD’s Zen CPU cores. 

In terms of performance, AMD data showcases large GPU performance leads over their competition within the notebook market, listing 15-19% gains over their Ryzen 7 3700U in 3DMARK 11 and 3DMARK Time Spy. More comparison data is available in the table below. More information about these results is available on AMD’s website. All CPUs in this test are tested ship with a 15W TDP. 

  3DMARK 11 Score 3DMARK Time Spy Score
AMD Ryzen 7 3780U (Surface Edition) 5124 1123.5
AMD Ryzen 7 3700U 4432.3 969
Intel i7-1065G7 (Ice Lake) 4910 957
Intel i7-8665U 2019.5 455.3
Intel i7-8565U 2237.8 485.8

  

What we know about AMD's Ryzen  
With the Surface Laptop 3, AMD is offering users a unique Ryzen chip design that’s exclusive to Microsoft products. This is more than just a rebadged Picasso APU, showcasing the versatility of AMD’s semi-custom design teams. This may have been a fundamental part of AMD’s design win with the Surface Laptop 3, as Intel doesn’t offer this level of product customisation. 

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