Is the Surface Laptop 3 Ditching Intel for AMD? It's Complicated

Over the last days, the laptop processor rumor mill started to emit the kind of smoke that signified a big change coming. While preliminary reports suggested Microsoft's relationship with Intel might be waning, the truth (it seems) isn't as cut and dry.

Rumblings began with WinFuture claiming "a series of corresponding entries in non-public databases of European retailers." Whatever the site found gave it confidence to claim that the expected 15" Surface Laptop 3 will feature AMD's CPUs and not Intel's.

Then we saw the benchmarks. Windows Latest shared a Geekbench score sheet for a laptop it expected to be the Surface Laptop 3, and it listed an AMD Ryzen 5 3550U processor and Radeon Vega Mobile graphics. This laptop seemed likely to be a new Surface device because it was listed with the model name 'OEMMO OEMMO Product Name' — which is similar to the internal tagging Microsoft used for the Surface Go in 2018.

My issue with all of those reports is that the presence of AMD chips in Microsoft devices isn't proof of the absence of Intel chips in other models. That hunch proved out yesterday when our sister site TechRadar provided an update to its original story, saying it had been contacted by "A source with knowledge of the situation" who said that Microsoft isn't dumping Intel "when it comes to Surface products" (TechRadar's words).

MORE: Microsoft October Event Preview: Surface Pro 7, Laptop 3

Instead, Microsoft's devices could be running a variety of processors, coming from different manufacturers. Which sounds like consumers will be getting more choice in the internal parts for their next Surface device, a win.

If I were Intel, though, I'd probably be wondering why Microsoft thinks it needs to use other chips, as the act does signal to consumers that even the big tech titans in Redmond don't see Intel as the end-all and be-all of processors.

We should learn the whole story at Microsoft's October 2 event, where we might see the Surface Laptop 3 and other products, including the Surface Pro 7. We might even see a new version of Windows, one that's made to compete with Chrome OS.