AMD built a custom Ryzen processor for Microsoft's new 15-inch Surface Laptop 3

(Image credit: AMD)

Microsoft today announced a bunch of new products, one of which is the Surface Laptop 3 available in 13.5-inch and 15-inch form factors. The latter is a first for the Surface Laptop line. What's also unique is the hardware inside—it is exclusively offered with custom AMD silicon.

AMD is dubbing one of the new parts—Ryzen 7 3780U—as a "Microsoft Surface Edition" processor. Microsoft will also offer a lower end Ryzen 5 3580U option. Both are custom APUs (accelerated processing units) that pair Zen+ CPU cores with Vega graphics.

The higher end part is essentially a tweaked Ryzen 3700U. Both it and the the lower end chip are 15W parts, with the 3780U having a "hybrid-turbo-like capacity for bursts up to 4GHz."

AMD has offered up some internal benchmarks to highlight the kind of graphics and gaming performance the 3780U can deliver, compared to other mobile options. Here are the reported 3DMark 11 and Timespy scores:

  • AMD Ryzen 7 3780U (Vega 11, 15W)—5124 and 1126.5
  • Intel Core i7-1065G7 (Iris Plus, 15W)—4910 and 957
  • Intel Core i7-8665U (UHD 620, 15W)—2019.5 and 455.3
  • Intel Core i7-8657U (UHD 620, 15W)—2237.8 and 485.5
  • AMD Ryzen 7 3700U (Vega 10, 15W)—4432.3 and 969

Microsoft is claiming the 3870U is the fastest mobile processor around, resulting in the Surface Laptop 3 being the "fastest 15-inch laptop you can buy." The fine print notes that claim is rooted in the premium ultrathin category that are no thicker than 20mm, with a 15W TDP.

The Surface Laptop 3 will also come with 10th generation Intel Ice Lake CPU options, albeit only in the 13.5-inch form factor. For those who want the bigger model, it's AMD or bust.

This is a big deal for AMD, which continues to put the pressure on Intel with its Ryzen family. Sure, the Surface Laptop 3 is not likely to end up in our list of the best gaming laptops, but if AMD's own benchmarks are an accurate reflection of performance, this could be an intriguing option for work and play.

The Surface Laptop 3 will go up for preorder today starting at $1,199 for the 15-inch model with AMD inside, and $999 for the 13.5-inch model with Intel inside.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).