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Question CPU for Surface Laptop 3.

LikeLinus

Lifer
Jul 25, 2001
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So I went ahead and ordered a Surface Laptop 3 with the Ryzen cpu, 16gb of ram and 512mb SSD. But I'm seeing conflicting reports about the Intel CPU and Ryzen. Microsoft is saying it's the "fastest mobile CPU/GPU on the marketing". But then some articles talk about the speed advantage of the i7 and it appears to be the better all around cpu, but maybe not as great as the Ryzen GPU. Battery life on both is said to be the same. So I'm not taking in to account the 25w vs 15w.

Plus, from what I've seen, the business version is strictly Intel. Now I'm on the fence and just wondered what everyone's opinion is.

FYI: This will not be for gaming. It's simply for light (travel editing, review and backing up 4K material and photos) video production and graphics. I currently have a MacBook Pro (2017) and a Surface Pro 4. Love them both and they are great, but I want to try the Surface Laptop 3 for fun. Love new toys, guilty as charged :D

The other advantage of the business machine is they go to 32GB and 1TB SSD. But my primary concern is the CPU and if I should order an Intel one just to be safe. I can always cancel one of them.
 
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Abwx

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Apr 2, 2011
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The other advantage of the business machine is they go to 32GB and 1TB SSD. But my primary concern is the CPU and if I should order an Intel one just to be safe. I can always cancel one of them.

The AMD model support up to 32GB while the Intel one is limited to 16GB, wich is light for this class of products, FTR the Ryzen based Lenovo Thinkpads wich are geared toward business support up to 64GB.

 
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LikeLinus

Lifer
Jul 25, 2001
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According to Microsoft's own pre-order site(s), the AMD is only available up to 16GB ram. It also appears to be limited to 512GB SSD.

(Select 15")

The Business class goes up to 32GB and 1TB SSD, but it is only available with Intel.

(Select 15")

Not sure why the Anandtech article says the opposite?

It also incorrectly says "Strangely enough, however, the 15-inch laptop will top out at 512GB, whereas the 13.5-inch model is getting 1TB drives."

The 15" business model indeed has 1TB.

Another interesting note in the article. "However, because AMD’s processor doesn’t support LPDDR4X – an artifact of using Zen+ – Microsoft is instead equipping those laptops with standard DDR4-2400. The bandwidth and power consumption differences between the memory types are significant, and on paper this is going to give Intel a significant edge on both."

So sounds like maybe the Intel could be the way to go. Wish they would put up some benchmarks SOON!!
 
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LikeLinus

Lifer
Jul 25, 2001
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So both versions of the laptops have shipped and I will have them Tuesday. What test should I run on each version? I have an AMD Ryzen 7 and Intel i7 15" version on their way.
 
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Markfw

CPU Moderator, VC&G Moderator, Elite Member
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Well that article was a real shame. Thanks for sharing. I hadn't realized that was released. Disappointing!
Disappointing ? It sure looked like a good laptop to me. I wouldn't say a 10, but not bad at all.
 

TheGiant

Senior member
Jun 12, 2017
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What test should I run on each version?
my usage test on ultrabooks-

yes - short workloads, conference calls, reporting files/xls/pdf opening and browsing while calling, multiple files presenting, opening, printing, general fast responsiveness

no-power workloads (long calculations, encoding, rendering)

  • ability to play youtube 1080/1440p videos while calculating excel in background (run something you have for like 5mins of calculation, excel can use many threads)
    • CPU usage over time
    • noise (subjective)
    • test done while youtube video is on fullscreen
  • CPU usage while calling with microsoft teams- at least 10 mins- just watching
    • CPU usage over time
    • noise (subjective)
  • CPU usage while calling with microsoft teams- at least 10 mins while editing
    • excel file excel online- opening time until you can edit it (be sure your internet connection is not the limit)/compare it to desktop if you have one
    • can try with ppt or word, doesnt matter
  • microsoft powerapps complex app opening time - if you have have (use chrome as web browser)
  • CPU usage while calling with microsoft teams- at least 10 mins- opening new youtube video
    • opening time from ctrl+t (start), ctrl+v (link), loading time (stop1), time ultil youtube starts playing without stutter (if any) stop2
    • can do while calculating xls or other in the background
  • if you have uploading time of 1000 (or like that) rows to complex sharepoint list
    • in web browser
    • in access
  • prepare 200+ pages complex powerpoint/document for printing
    • if you have some, compare it to the desktop
Battery life after each test of 10-20 mins
 

LikeLinus

Lifer
Jul 25, 2001
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Disappointing ? It sure looked like a good laptop to me. I wouldn't say a 10, but not bad at all.
Yes, it is considering the business class has Intel w/ faster memory, wifi 6 for $100 less. No one said it's a bad laptop, but it appears to not be as good as the Intel version.

I saw another article that mentioned initial testing showed the Ryzen being 13% slower.

I should have both in hand tomorrow for further testing.
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
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Yes, it is considering the business class has Intel w/ faster memory, wifi 6 for $100 less. No one said it's a bad laptop, but it appears to not be as good as the Intel version.

I saw another article that mentioned initial testing showed the Ryzen being 13% slower.

I should have both in hand tomorrow for further testing.
The significantly less battery life of the was the thing that really stood out to me in that article.

AMD has improved on their mobile offerings, but they have a ways to go to catch Intel in that area.
 

Markfw

CPU Moderator, VC&G Moderator, Elite Member
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May 16, 2002
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The significantly less battery life of the was the thing that really stood out to me in that article.

AMD has improved on their mobile offerings, but they have a ways to go to catch Intel in that area.
What I was wondering (I could not find it in the article) was what battery size was in each of the two ? If the Intel had twice the capacity, that could account for it.

More information is needed. The AMD was faster in quite a few things, and I think the video was a lot better. But I don't know about battery size.
 

UsandThem

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What I was wondering (I could not find it in the article) was what battery size was in each of the two ? If the Intel had twice the capacity, that could account for it.

More information is needed. The AMD was faster in quite a few things, and I think the video was a lot better. But I don't know about battery size.
They should have both came with a 46 Wh battery:
Microsoft outfits all of the Surface Laptop 3 models with just a 46 Wh battery, which is actually slightly smaller than the one in the Surface Laptop 2, and all despite this 15-inch model being physically larger. Microsoft has also changed their battery testing methodology from a basic local video playback time, to a more realistic workload, so if you’re looking at the Microsoft spec pages, expect to see a lower runtime advertised as well.

The original Ryzen 2000 Raven Ridge platform had some serious power management issues, and this will be our first test of any Picasso based laptops, since AMD hasn’t had a lot of big design wins previous to this one for their second generation Ryzen APU.
https://www.anandtech.com/show/15008/the-microsoft-surface-laptop-3-15-inch-review/6
 

Markfw

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They said the Ryzen only took 15 watts at max boost, and the Intel took up to 30. So why is its battery life so bad ? There has to be something I am missing here.
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
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May 4, 2000
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They said the Ryzen only took 15 watts at max boost, and the Intel took up to 30. So why is its battery life so bad ? There has to be something I am missing here.
It looks like things like video playback and idle power, and possibly still some power management issues (which was improved on from AMD's previous entry).
So, while AMD has improved their battery draw tremendously, 2.35 Watts of idle power draw is still a lot and leads to the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 delivering less battery life than the Surface Laptop 2, which was 8th generation Intel.
 

LikeLinus

Lifer
Jul 25, 2001
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What I was wondering (I could not find it in the article) was what battery size was in each of the two ? If the Intel had twice the capacity, that could account for it.

More information is needed. The AMD was faster in quite a few things, and I think the video was a lot better. But I don't know about battery size.
Battery size was listed in the article. They are both the same size. Also, I don't think you read the article correctly. The Intel version of the 15" was NOT tested. The Intel version is called the "Surface Laptop 3 for Business" and has additional features. I did my pre-orders when they were announced and wasn't aware of the feature differences, but they have a very generous return policy, so I'll keep what works for me.

They said the Ryzen only took 15 watts at max boost, and the Intel took up to 30. So why is its battery life so bad ? There has to be something I am missing here.
Again, the Intel version was not tested. Nowhere does the article claim the new Intel chip uses 30+ watts. The latest Intel version being used is the new Ice Lake 10nm CPU (AMD is 14nm) that uses LPDDR4X and has Wifi 6.

"The use of DDR4 is less than ideal for a thin and light device since it doesn't incorporate the power-saving techniques of LPDDR4X, but it can be compensated for with some solid design work and a slightly larger battery. For comparison's sake, Intel’s new Ice Lake chips do have LPDDR4X support, so we'd be likely to see better power consumption on the Intel-powered Surface Laptops. "

So between the power management issues that UsandThem pointed out and the RAM, that would be a cause for some of the battery life issues. Both of my tracking numbers show them bring delivered tomorrow, so I look forward to running them through their paces!
 

Markfw

CPU Moderator, VC&G Moderator, Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 16, 2002
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Battery size was listed in the article. They are both the same size. Also, I don't think you read the article correctly. The Intel version of the 15" was NOT tested. The Intel version is called the "Surface Laptop 3 for Business" and has additional features. I did my pre-orders when they were announced and wasn't aware of the feature differences, but they have a very generous return policy, so I'll keep what works for me.



Again, the Intel version was not tested. Nowhere does the article claim the new Intel chip uses 30+ watts. The latest Intel version being used is the new Ice Lake 10nm CPU (AMD is 14nm) that uses LPDDR4X and has Wifi 6.

"The use of DDR4 is less than ideal for a thin and light device since it doesn't incorporate the power-saving techniques of LPDDR4X, but it can be compensated for with some solid design work and a slightly larger battery. For comparison's sake, Intel’s new Ice Lake chips do have LPDDR4X support, so we'd be likely to see better power consumption on the Intel-powered Surface Laptops. "

So between the power management issues that UsandThem pointed out and the RAM, that would be a cause for some of the battery life issues. Both of my tracking numbers show them bring delivered tomorrow, so I look forward to running them through their paces!
What about this quote ?
"Interestingly the CPU on its own only pulls 9-10 Watts under sustained load, with a brief peak of a hair over 15 Watts. This is well under a typical Intel 15-Watt CPU which can pull well over 30 Watts for burst and sustained power draws can be over 15 Watts if the cooling system can handle it. Despite the lower than expected power draw under load the CPU is still able to maintain 3 Ghz or higher. "

In the thermals page/.
 

LikeLinus

Lifer
Jul 25, 2001
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It says "typical", but it's not the new 10nm Intel CPU. I know it does use more watts, but I'm not sure why anyone cares how many watts it is pulling (burst to 3.9Ghz) if their battery life is the same. I ordered the AMD first because I have high hopes for it, but I'm a bit surprised by some of the choices after reading more. Either case, I will see what the results are and post them.

"15-inch Surface Laptop 3 delivering less battery life than the Surface Laptop 2, which was 8th generation Intel." So, regardless of the wattage used, the AMD still isn't competing at the lever of a two generation old CPU? Disappointing is a good word for it.
 

mikk

Platinum Member
May 15, 2012
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What about this quote ?
"Interestingly the CPU on its own only pulls 9-10 Watts under sustained load, with a brief peak of a hair over 15 Watts. This is well under a typical Intel 15-Watt CPU which can pull well over 30 Watts for burst and sustained power draws can be over 15 Watts if the cooling system can handle it. Despite the lower than expected power draw under load the CPU is still able to maintain 3 Ghz or higher. "

In the thermals page/.

Probably a measuring error from the tool he is using, it's well known that some tools are struggling with Ryzen. It's not the first review with a too low watts value, he should use AMDuprof.
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,225
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I must admit, I'm disappointed with Ryzen for laptop so far, but feel that the 'real' products are yet to come.

As I understand it, the lineup so far has been 3xxx mobile AMD is NOT Zen2, but rather Zen+, which seems like it would be a little confusing for consumers as well as give a less than ideal impression of the lineup. Instead of the watershed improvements offered by Zen2 and 7nm, it's dressing up 2xxx-era silicon in model names that would on the surface (lol) indicate Zen 2 heritage.

Now if this SB3 actually IS Zen2, than my interest is piqued a bit more. As I expect grand things from real 7nm Ryzens in mobile SKUs.
 

Thunder 57

Golden Member
Aug 19, 2007
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I must admit, I'm disappointed with Ryzen for laptop so far, but feel that the 'real' products are yet to come.

As I understand it, the lineup so far has been 3xxx mobile AMD is NOT Zen2, but rather Zen+, which seems like it would be a little confusing for consumers as well as give a less than ideal impression of the lineup. Instead of the watershed improvements offered by Zen2 and 7nm, it's dressing up 2xxx-era silicon in model names that would on the surface (lol) indicate Zen 2 heritage.

Now if this SB3 actually IS Zen2, than my interest is piqued a bit more. As I expect grand things from real 7nm Ryzens in mobile SKUs.
It's not. It's Zen+. I have a feeling MS/AMD are feeling pretty good about Renoir (7nm Zen 2 APU).
 
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