Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 could turn to AMD again — this time will be different

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 lid
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The Surface Laptop 4 won't make the same mistakes as its predecessor. I was bewildered by Microsoft's decision to equip consumer versions of the Surface Laptop 3 with AMD 3000-series chips. At the time, AMD hadn't proven itself against the likes of Intel — its chips lagging behind in both performance and endurance. 

My skepticism proved to be well-founded; the Surface Laptop 3 was ultimately held back by the choice in CPU, causing us to cut an entire star from its rating when compared to the Intel-powered business model. 

It turns out Microsoft was on to something — it was just a year too early. As we've learned over the past 12 months, AMD is now a force to be reckoned with in mobile. Its 4000-series processors blew us away, notching higher performance scores than some Intel equivalent chips while enabling extra-long battery life for ultrathin and gaming laptops alike. 

If Microsoft had waited to put the 4000-series chips in its Surface Laptop 3, it might not have faced so much criticism. Regardless, the company set itself up for success and is now poised to put AMD's Ryzen 5000 series chips — those announced at CES 2021 — in the upcoming Surface Laptop 4. 

We suspected as much considering the use of AMD chips in the previous model, but now a listing on the benchmarking site Geekbench all but confirms the return of AMD to the Surface Laptop. As spotted by MSPowerUser, the listing shows an AMD Ryzen 5 CPU inside what is believed to be a base model Surface Laptop 4. It has 8GB of RAM but the rest of the components are unknown. 

As for the performance, the supposed Surface Laptop 4 landed a single-core score of 1063 and a multi-core score of 5726, both of which top the Intel model, which scored 1343 and 4970, respectively. For comparison, the XPS 13 with an 11th Gen Core i7 CPU scored 5,319, below that of the Ryzen 5. 

We should take these numbers with a grain of salt, of course. We can't say for sure that these are scores were put up by the Surface Laptop 4, or that it will be armed with an AMD Ryzen 5000-series chip. However, if they are accurate, it shows just how far AMD has come in such a short amount of time. 

Whatever the case, we are eager to get our hands on the upcoming Surface Laptop 4, and this time, we hope Microsoft sticks with AMD. 

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.