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Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 delivers broader CPU choice

by Mark Tyson on 9 March 2021, 11:11

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), AMD (NYSE:AMD)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaeqb7

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Microsoft started to offer an AMD-powered Surface Laptop 3, alongside its Intel alternatives, back in 2019. However, it held back from letting users select AMD or Intel for the full range of Surface Laptop 3 offerings: if you wanted an AMD processor you had to go with the 15-inch model.

In April, reports WinFuture, Microsoft will widen the CPU options available for new Surface Laptop 4 purchasers. Again Microsoft will be trotting out 13.5- and 15-inch Surface Laptop models but this time both screen size models will have accompanying AMD or Intel CPU choices. It is good to see Microsoft expand the configuration options with the latest AMD mobile processors in favour with many other laptop makers.

According to the report, Microsoft's Surface Laptop 4 models won't offer the latest AMD CPU technology. WinFuture says that again Microsoft has worked closely with AMD and come up with special 'Surface Edition' processors for this laptop range. Going by the processor codenames, AMD Ryzen 5-4680U and Ryzen 7 4980U, these will use 'outdated' Zen 2 cores. A little more info is provided about the AMD Ryzen 5 4680U – it is said to have a base clock of 2.0GHz and a boost clock of 4.4GHz.

While the Surface Laptop 4 upgrades its AMD CPU choices with 'last gen' APUs, the updated Intel models offer fully up to date Tiger Lake Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs with Iris Plus Graphics 950. It looks like Intel will still be the pricier premium option for the Surface Laptop 4, as Microsoft is only giving Intel users the choice of a 32GB of RAM and a 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD – AMD configuration max RAM/storage is half that.

Other than the above considerations, there seems to be little new in the Surface Laptop 4 design. We shall have to wait and see for any surprises as well as full official specs, availability, and pricing. WinFuture's specs table is reproduced below, and while the site has a good track record, the specs might contain errors or things could easily change between now and launch.

Technical data for Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

Model

13.5 in

15 inches

Operating system

Windows 10 Home

Display

13.5-inch, 2256 x 1504 Pixel, 3:2-Format, 10-Point-Multitouch, Pixelsense-Display, 201 ppi

15-inch, 2496 x 1664 Pixel, 3:2 Format, 10-Point-Multitouch, Pixelsense-Display, 201 ppi

CPU

Intel Core 11th Generation i5-1145G7 or i7-1185G7 CPU
AMD Ryzen 5-4680U or Ryzen 7 4980U CPU

Graphic

Intel: Iris Plus Graphics 950
AMD: Radeon Graphics

RAM

8, 16 or 32 gigabytes of RAM (32 GB only Intel)

Storage

128, 256, 512 GB to 1 terabyte PCIe NVMe SSD (1 TB only Intel)

Connectivity

Surface Connect, USB A, USB C, WLAN AX, Bluetooth

Particularities

Windows Hello, Surface Pen and Dial compatible, ambient light sensor

Battery pack

6,513mAh, 49Wh

Measurements and weight

308 x 223 x 14.5 mm
Intel 1.31 kg / AMD 1.25 Kg

339.5 x 244 x 14.5 mm
Intel 1.54 kg / AMD ? Kg

Casing

milled aluminium

 



HEXUS Forums :: 9 Comments

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One thing I have learnt the hard way is that a well optimised last-gen component can be worth more than a rushed current gen there to appease marketers. I'd applaud doing it right rather than bowing to the marketing department.
Also, bear in mind that the iGPU on the AMD stuff will be better than the Intel HD stuff..
Still feels like a missed opportunity as we know how much extra performance the 5000 series parts brought to the table.
5000 would have been nice but we also know how long it takes Microsoft to test and validate these things, so 4000 series is about as good as we can expect, especially given the shortages..
I have a Ryzen 4800H, it's a beast and can do anything I can throw at it, the difference between the generations would be negligible. Very clever from AMD to rebadge some older stock and use it up too.