Microsoft and AMD could bring Radeon graphics to the next Surface Pro X

Soupreme

Posts: 36   +2
Staff
Rumor mill: The Surface Pro X hasn't seen any substantial SoC upgrades since its initial release in 2019, bar a minor clock speed bump with the SQ2 chip in 2020. However, it's now looking like Microsoft and AMD are working on something with RDNA graphics to power a next-generation Surface Pro X -- and maybe other devices, too.

If a thread on Korean tech forum Clien is to be believed, Microsoft and AMD are working together to design an upcoming laptop-class processor, following Samsung's Exynos 2200 in using mRDNA graphics paired with an Arm CPU.

While it's expected to only use Cortex X1 cores compared to the Exynos' X2s, it's also likely to be running them at significantly higher clock speeds if the 3+ GHz clocks of the SQ processors are anything to go by. That should be a sizable advantage over the Samsung chip, more than enough to negate the 16% difference in IPC that Arm claims between the two designs.

Plus, it should be able to tote more of those cores -- whereas the Exynos only has a single X2 as its "Super" core -- and sustain that performance far better with the thermal and power headroom of a laptop chassis.

On the GPU side of things, the processor will apparently use an mRDNA2 GPU like that of the Exynos design, with 8 CUs, a setup that puts it on the same footing as the Steam Deck. The forum posts clarify that performance is comparable to (but weaker than) than the GTX 1050. That's below where the Valve handheld is thought to be, the Deck is also using full RDNA 2 graphics being fed with high-speed LP-DDR5 RAM. In any case, the Microsoft-AMD chip should still firmly beat the graphics solutions in existing Qualcomm products.

An Exynos modem should bring 5G connectivity, but that seems to be the extent of Samsung's involvement with this project. It was apparently going to be produced on the Korean titan's 5nm process originally, but low yields forced a shift to TSMC's 5nm node instead; the resulting delay would be responsible for the lack of an updated Surface Pro X for 2021.

However, there's also a substantial difference in process technology between the two foundries, with previous Anandtech testing finding Samsung's 5LPE to only just match TSMC's previous node, moving it to the latter's N5 process should bring tangible efficiency benefits. Given the fiery competition in laptop processors right now, between AMD's Ryzen offerings, Apple's M1, and upcoming Intel Alder Lake heterogeneous parts, any further gains for a device still weighed down by the mess of Windows-on-Arm would be more than welcome.

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Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,056   +877
Savage, I’d definitely prefer GeForce.

Also fiery competition between Ryzen and Apples M1? How does that work? They both work on completely different operating systems and products. Also it’s not much of a competition, the M1 uses ARM which is way more efficient. At 10 watts the M1 powers a MacBook Air. At the same wattage no Ryzen CPU can operate. The nearest competing laptop part is the 5900HX which is rated at 45watt but turbos well above this and where you can compare these parts the M1 seems to have a bit of an edge.

If this becomes a race between X86 vs ARM then RIP X86.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,358   +2,655
What was wrong with bringing it to *this one* they're getting ready to launch? Ryzen 5000 is certainly at least equal than intel counterparts out at the time they were designing it, probably better for thermals and battery
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 681   +512
Savage, I’d definitely prefer GeForce.

Also fiery competition between Ryzen and Apples M1? How does that work? They both work on completely different operating systems and products. Also it’s not much of a competition, the M1 uses ARM which is way more efficient. At 10 watts the M1 powers a MacBook Air. At the same wattage no Ryzen CPU can operate. The nearest competing laptop part is the 5900HX which is rated at 45watt but turbos well above this and where you can compare these parts the M1 seems to have a bit of an edge.

If this becomes a race between X86 vs ARM then RIP X86.


Did you not note the story of Samsung/AMD collab , of AMD efficiency drive .
it's not much competition - as many people do not want to be in the expensive/controlling Apple system .
MS realise this - so we will have Windows android , we will have MS agnostic MS store etc .
End of the day the vaunted Apple is a cynical company - more efficient phone - so smaller battery,
Oh a more efficient phone next year - yippee a smaller battery - work that battery into the ground , yippee buy a new phone.
Surface Pros - Chromebooks have great battery life already.
I don't game on a laptop - but my guess is they are powered 90% of time in game mode - to stop throttling, screen dimming or whatever laptops do - That M1 is not going to run RT Cyberpunk 2077 by itself
 

DZillaXx

Posts: 420   +547
Savage, I’d definitely prefer GeForce.

Also fiery competition between Ryzen and Apples M1? How does that work? They both work on completely different operating systems and products. Also it’s not much of a competition, the M1 uses ARM which is way more efficient. At 10 watts the M1 powers a MacBook Air. At the same wattage no Ryzen CPU can operate. The nearest competing laptop part is the 5900HX which is rated at 45watt but turbos well above this and where you can compare these parts the M1 seems to have a bit of an edge.

If this becomes a race between X86 vs ARM then RIP X86.

M1 and Ryzen both run desktop operating system, of which run on both x86 and arm, and both have products aimed at low power laptops.

The Ryzen 5800U is a part that can be locked down to 15watts, and other than its weak GPU performance thanks to the outdated GCN graphic cores it is a pretty powerful chip that sips power. For being a Node behind Apple's M1 and also just being a second thought of a CPU, the 5800U @15w is a pretty solid CPU and pretty much does everything better than Anything Intel has been able to get into sub 15watt machines.

When it comes to actual productivity the 5800U and M1 compare pretty well to each other, the 5800u being a more powerful multithread chip. The M1 really takes advantage of co processors that offer hardware acceleration of various tasks, Like Rendering. This really helps the M1 in more productivity workloads, where as the dated GCN is more limited in the help it offers the CPU when it comes to some of these hardware accelerated tasks, even though it is able to do some.

The big leg up the M1 has over the 5800U is the low power cores, and the OS that is optimized for them. This is one area Microsoft has really been lacking, mainly because there isn't much for Big-Little Designs out in the wild. MacOS has had better standby battery usage for a long time now, even back on X86. And now with ARM their idle power usage is damn low, and this is something Windows really needs to work on even with X86.

In a race between ARM vs X86, AMD has already shown that Ryzen is capable of scaling down with great performance per watt. For Example the HP Aero 13 is a super light laptop that easily gets 10-11hr's of real world usage with a smaller battery than most laptops in this area get. Being a good deal lighter than even a macbook air (Which isn't really light at all, for a device called the air). The M1 can draw more than 10watts, and is more inline with a 15watt chip than you'd think.

Apple will no doubt outbid anyone for using the best TSMC node out there, so I doubt we'd see a AMD chip on the same node at top end Apple silicon anytime soon. Which is a big reason why their chips will continue to look like their are more power efficient than they really are. I'd Say with Zen 4 Ryzen will be able to match or nearly match Apple when scaled down, but retain the king of performance per watt when scaled up. There are some ARM designed that are scaled up that do pretty well scaled up, like Amazon's graviton. But those are pretty application specific.

We probably won't see Intel retaking any big leads until 2025

For AMD they have no need to make a M1 killer, it is not a product line that is going to make them a ton of money. Apple computer sales are still small game compared to what the big PC manufactures see. They have a very niche userbase, I have a M1 Macbook air and it's biggest strength is the standby and idle power usage. AMD's focus is the server market and all the R&D is best server breaking into a market that pays. I wouldn't expect any highly integrated chip from AMD. If anything Intel is more likely to interduce a more highly integrated SOC with big-little cores in the short term. Intel already has a Big-Little Chip.