Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled two new Surface Laptops promising performance three times that of a MacBook Air, as well as one model with “AMD’s most powerful mobile processor.” That model represents the first time Microsoft has put an AMD processor in a Surface device.
The 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 looks to be mostly an update to the existing Surface Laptop. The key difference is a long overdue CPU jump from the current 8th gen quad-core Kaby Lake R-based Intel CPU to Intel’s newest 10th-gen 10nm Ice Lake CPU.
Microsoft didn’t detail which 10th gen Ice Lake chip it used, but it’s likely the top-end quad-core chip, as the company said it offers a 2x performance over the Surface Laptop 2, which is built on a quad-core 8th gen Kaby Lake R chip from Intel.
Perhaps more importantly for Microsoft, the use of the new 10th-gen Ice Lake CPU delivers a 3x performance boost over Apple’s current MacBook Air, which resorts to a dual-core low power “Y” class processor.
The biggest news though looks to be the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3. Boasting a larger 15-inch screen, the bigger Surface Laptop 15 swaps out Intel silicon for a “special” AMD-built Ryzen chip.
Ryzen: Surface Edition
Microsoft didn’t get into the details of the new “Microsoft Ryzen Surface Edition” chip, but it does appear to be an AMD APU, as it features graphics cores. Microsoft described the Microsoft Ryzen Surface Edition chip as AMD’s “most powerful mobile CPU,” and said it worked very closely with the company to develop it.
In fact, Microsoft said, the new Ryzen Surface Edition chip is the most powerful CPU in its class.
That frankly leaves us with more questions than answers, but it’s assumed to be an AMD 12nm-based Ryzen with Zen+ cores and Vega graphics cores—but even that is up for grabs. Did Microsoft get early access to a AMD’s 7nm Zen 2 mobile APUs? We’ll update this story with more information as we get it.
Super fast charging
Microsoft said the new 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 should offer all day battery life. Both laptops still feature Microsoft’s magnetic Surface connector for charging, but the company said it’s now able to charge a drained laptop from 0 to 80 percent in under an hour.
The 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 will start at $999, and the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 will start at $1,199 with pre-orders available now.
Australian pricing and availability
In Australia, the 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 will launch on October 22nd with a starting RRP of AU$1699. Pricing for the 15-inch model starts at AU$1999.