Microsoft Surface 3 Laptop Battle – AMD Ryzen 7 or Intel Core i7?


Finding the Ultimate Surface Laptop 3 – Sponsored by Intel

When Microsoft announced the Surface Laptop 3 back in October 2019 it impressed many. Partly because Microsoft announced that the new Surface Laptop 3 is twice as fast as previous generations and the fact that the main Surface Laptop 3 15-inch version was powered by a custom AMD processor. Intel has long dominated the mobile market, but AMD has been pushing in with their Ryzen series of processors and challenging Intel.

The odd thing about the Surface Laptop 3 15-inch models is that while AMD was tapped for the consumer model, Intel powers the new Surface Laptop 3 15-inch model for Business. So, if you poke around on the Microsoft website long enough you’ll run across Surface Laptop 3 15-inch models with the latest 10th Gen Intel Core ‘Ice Lake’ processors inside.

MS Surface Laptop 3 Models

The Surface Laptop 3 for business is virtually the same as the consumer model. You have the exact same 2496 x 1664 display, connectivity ports (USB Type-A, USB Type-C & Surface Connect) and 45.8 Whr battery. But there are some differences with the Intel version that are worth pointing out.

For example, the Intel version generally costs $100 more. The main reason for the extra cost is that the Intel models come with Microsoft Windows 10 Pro, rather than Windows 10 Home on the regular consumer model powered by AMD. The other key difference is the Wireless networking card that Microsoft went with. The AMD Ryzen models have a Qualcomm Atheros QCA61x4A card with 802.11ac Wi-Fi (Wi-Fi 5) capabilities. The 10th Gen Intel models have an Intel AX201 Wi-Fi 6 card inside, which is a newer standard and will likely be seen as a major bonus to those looking to future proof their investment.

AMD vs Intel Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

So, there is an opportunity here for a head-to-head comparison where you can compare the AMD Ryzen 7 3780U Surface Edition versus the Intel Core i7-1065G7 on the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 15-inch series. And that is exactly what we are doing here today as we got our hands on to identical looking Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 15″ laptops in black. This is the first time that we have this close of an apples to apples comparison between AMD and Intel notebooks in recent years.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 15″ Specifications as Tested

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (AMD) Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 for Business (Intel)
CPU AMD Ryzen 7 3780U (Microsoft Surface Edition) Intel Core i7-1065G7
Cores/Threads 4-Core / 8-Thread 4-Core / 8-Thread
Base/Boost Clock 2.3 GHz / 4.0 GHz 1.3 GHz / 3.9 GHz
TDP 15W 15W
Integrated Graphics Radeon RX Vega 11 Intel Iris Plus
Memory 16GB DDR4-2400 16GB LPDDR4-3733
M.2 Storage 512GB SK Hynix BC501 256GB Toshiba BG4
Display 15-inch, 2496 x 1664 touch screen w/ 3:2 aspect ratio 15-inch, 2496 x 1664 touch screen w/ 3:2 aspect ratio
Networking Qualcomm Atheros QCA61x4A Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
Ports USB Type-C; USB Type-A; 3.5mm Headphone jack; USB Type-C; USB Type-A; 3.5mm Headphone jack;
Camera 720p webcam 720p webcam
Battery 45.8 Whr 45.8 Whr
Power Adapter 65W 65W
Operating System Windows 10 Home Windows 10 Pro
Dimensions 13.4 x 9.6 x 0.6 inches (339.5 x 244 x 14.7 mm) 13.4 x 9.6 x 0.6 inches (339.5 x 244 x 14.7 mm)
Weight 3.4 pounds 3.4 pounds
Price (as configured) $2,099 $1,799

Here is a quick table of the specifications for each of the two models as tested.

Microsoft Surface 3 Laptop CPU-Z

Inside the AMD Ryzen 7 mobile system you’ll find a custom Ryzen 7 mobile processor specifically created for the Surface Laptop 3. The AMD Ryzen 7 3780U Surface Edition 4-core, 8-thread processor is best described as a binned version of the Ryzen 7 3700U with the number of enabled Vega graphics compute units bumped up from 10 to 11. The beefed-up Vega 11 IGP gives the CPU a boost in the graphics department. Eagle eyed readers might notice that the CPU-Z lists this processor as being 12nm and features the code name Picasso. Yes, this ‘new’ processor is based on Picasso. That means it uses the 12nm Zen+ architecture, rather than the 7nm Zen 2 architecture that AMD recently introduced on their new desktop processors.

The system powered by Intel is running the Core i7-1065G7 4-core, 8-thread processor, which is one of the first chips to come to market based on the 10nm Ice Lake architecture. On the graphics side it comes with Iris Plus IGP with 64 Execution Units, so the we have the best mobile graphics from Intel and AMD going to battle here when we get around to the actual benchmarks.

On to the benchmarks!