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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 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.

    I get constant rejection even though the compiler is supposed to accept constants.
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