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posted by martyb on Thursday October 03 2019, @02:09AM   Printer-friendly
from the I-want-one-in-my-RPi dept.

Microsoft's new custom Surface processors with AMD and Qualcomm: an inside look

Microsoft has just announced its new Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Pro X devices, and neither will come with an Intel processor. The software giant is diversifying its silicon for Surface this year by partnering closely with AMD and Qualcomm, respectively, to create custom processors for its Surface line.

The Surface Laptop 3 has a custom Ryzen Surface Edition processor on the 15-inch model, while the Surface Pro X goes the ARM-powered route with a new SQ1 processor co-engineered with Qualcomm. It's a big change for the Surface line, even if Intel will still power the Surface Pro 7 and the smaller 13-inch Surface Laptop 3 models.

On the AMD side, this Ryzen processor will be available exclusively in the 15-inch model of the Surface Laptop 3, a notebook that also has a metal finish instead of the fabric we've seen on previous Surface Laptop models. Microsoft has worked closely with AMD to add an additional graphics core on the 12nm Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 Surface parts that are built on Zen+, and to optimize the chip to fit inside the slim-and-light chassis it uses for the Surface Laptop 3.

The Ryzen Surface Edition is a Ryzen 7 3780U, a Zen+ APU with a 15W TDP and better performance than a Ryzen 7 3700U. There is also a cheaper Ryzen 5 3580U, a variant of the Ryzen 5 3500U.

The Microsoft SQ1 is a customized Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx with 8 ARM cores, with 4 of the cores clocked at 3.0 GHz. It also has acceleration for "AI" rated at 9 trillion operations per second.

Other models, such as the Surface Pro 7, will continue to use Intel chips.

Also at AnandTech.

See also: AMD scores a big marketing win with Ryzen-powered Microsoft Surface
AMD Scored Big Points Against Intel in Microsoft Surface Battle


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  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday October 03 2019, @03:09AM (4 children)

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 03 2019, @03:09AM (#902142) Journal

    maybe my old nose is mistaken, but it feels like there's a smell of impeding layoffs at Intel.

    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 2) by mendax on Thursday October 03 2019, @04:18AM (1 child)

      by mendax (2840) on Thursday October 03 2019, @04:18AM (#902161)

      Indeed. AMD has been in the news lately with positive reports on their products. AMD is producing some very competitive products these days. Is it any wonder that Micro$oft is starting to pay attention?

      --
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      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday October 03 2019, @05:10AM

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 03 2019, @05:10AM (#902167) Journal

        Is it any wonder that Micro$oft is starting to pay attention?

        After reading TFS, me thinks MS started to actually pay $$$

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 03 2019, @02:31PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 03 2019, @02:31PM (#902276)

      The opposite: Intel historically invests during downturns. Yes some heads may roll for not delivering, but on a whole the 800 pound gorilla that is Intel will be doubling down over the coming years. Expansion is currently underway in Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, and Ireland.

      It will be interesting to see how the Intel powered Surface Pro 7 fares, with the Ice Lake chip. Being their first 10nm chip we should see what Intel can deliver on an even manufacturing playing field.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday October 03 2019, @06:12PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 03 2019, @06:12PM (#902380) Journal

      there's a smell of impeding layoffs at Intel.

      Oh, please, I hope so.

      It's long past time for that abomination of an ISA to just die die die !!!

      And I blame IBM for picking that abortion of a processor for its PC. A processor that inflicted at least one if not two or more decades of segment registers upon the world. With numerous 64 K limitations in the PC world for the longest time. Saddled with layers of new improvements, but maintaining backward compatibility to 8086 16-bit.

      If only the whole thing could be buried in the deepest hole and then nuked from orbit with a vat of acid poured in afterward !!!

      That's just a calm, dispassionate opinion.

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  • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Thursday October 03 2019, @10:53AM (2 children)

    by hendrikboom (1125) on Thursday October 03 2019, @10:53AM (#902220) Homepage Journal

    Will those custom processors run Linux?

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by epitaxial on Thursday October 03 2019, @12:25PM (1 child)

      by epitaxial (3165) on Thursday October 03 2019, @12:25PM (#902232)

      The processors, sure. Unlocking the bootloader is another story.

  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday October 03 2019, @06:06PM

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 03 2019, @06:06PM (#902379) Journal

    We now live in an age where software companies create custom hardware, but more importantly custom processors.

    Who would have thought.

    Imagine if custom processors could not run competing software. What if ISA's could be proprietary. All built on the back of open source and easily retargetable compilers.

    --
    Biden must DO SOMETHING to stop bloggers using the wrong color schemes!
  • (Score: 2) by jasassin on Thursday October 03 2019, @07:01PM

    by jasassin (3566) <jasassin@gmail.com> on Thursday October 03 2019, @07:01PM (#902395) Journal

    Is there much Windows software for ARM?

    I thought that was the big problem.

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