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


Rumor machine: The Surface Pro X hasn’t seen any substantial SoC upgrades since its initial release in 2019 except for a slight slowdown in clock speed with the SQ2 chip in 2020. However, it seems now that Microsoft and AMD are working on something with RDNA graphics to power a next-gen Surface Pro X – and maybe other devices, too.

According to a thread on the Korean technology forum Clien, Microsoft and AMD are working together to design an upcoming laptop-class processor, following on from Samsung’s Exynos 2200 using mRDNA graphics paired with an Arm processor. .

While it is only planned to use Cortex X1 cores compared to Exynos’ X2s, it is also likely that they will run them at significantly higher clock speeds if the 3+ GHz clocks of SQ processors are acceptable. This should be a huge advantage over the Samsung chip, more than enough to negate the 16% difference in CPI that Arm claims between the two designs.

In addition, it should be able to carry more of those cores – whereas the Exynos only has a single X2 as a “super” core – and maintain that performance much better with the thermal and electrical headroom of a high-performance chassis. ‘laptop.

On the GPU side, the processor will apparently use an mRDNA2 GPU like the one in the Exynos design, with 8 CPUs, a setup that puts it on par with the Steam Deck. Forum posts state that performance is comparable (but inferior) to the GTX 1050. This is below where the Valve handheld is supposed to be, the Deck also uses full RDNA 2 graphics. powered by high speed LP-DDR5 RAM. In any case, the Microsoft-AMD chip should still firmly beat the graphics solutions of existing Qualcomm products.

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

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


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