The big change for the new Surface Laptop 4 is the choice of AMD or Intel for business and government buyers.
How do the two options compare, and which should you choose for your users?
Faster cores versus more cores
The biggest difference between AMD and Intel options is the number of processor cores. The new 11th gen Intel Core i5 and i7 have four, while the 4th gen AMD Ryzen 5 has six and the Ryzen 7 has eight. The new AMD options also cost less than their equivalent Intel options. All processor options are available on the 13.5 inch Surface Laptop 4, while the 15 inch version offers the choice of AMD Ryzen 7 or Intel Core i7.
AMD - more cores
More cores mean more calculations can be made at the same time. To gain an appreciable performance boost, you need to be using apps and doing tasks that are designed for multi-core processing. These include media encoding, 3D rendering, complex Excel calculations and image transformations. If you have a team working on video or content creation, then their encoding time will be faster, making the AMD models a good choice. The AMD versions are also a bit less expensive. With The Laptop Company's deployment and migration services, you can migrate users without anyone noticing they're not using an Intel-powered device. It offers a substantial boost over the Surface Laptop 3, and extra battery life over the Intel versions.
Intel - faster cores
The faster cores of the Intel models make them well suited for single core processes, these include scripting, general application responsiveness, software development, testing and any software that's not multicore optimised. Microsoft is recommending the Intel version for data scientists, developers and researchers. This comes at a reasonable price premium.
The new Intel option provides an even greater performance boost over the Surface Laptop 3. Battery life is up to 17 hours for the 13.5 inch model, or up to 16.5 for the 15 inch one.
By the benchmarks
Benchmarks by PC World so far indicate overall performance for the Surface Laptop 4 Ryzen models trailing that of the 11th gen Intel powered Surface Pro 7+ (the same CPU used in the new Surface Laptop 4 Intel option), this helps justify the price premium commanded by the Intel versions:
The notable exception is HandBrake media encoding and Cinebench 3D rendering, where twice the cores equals twice the performance for the Ryzen 7. If your job is heavy on the media-encoding front, the AMD will be a boon.
Both processors provide a performance advantage over the outgoing Surface Laptop 3, and provide a substantial performance improvement over 7th-8th generation processors that were supplied with Intel 620 graphics.
What about graphics?
Despite AMD's reputation as a GPU leader, the AMD Radeon Microsoft Surface Edition graphics has not benchmarked as fast as the new Intel iRIS Xe found in both Intel options so far. Intel's iRIS Xe graphics have also benchmarked around 50% faster than the previous generation Intel iRIS Plus graphics used in the Laptop 3. Both are more than adequate for most users, and have sufficient power to run the Surface Laptop 4's high resolution PixelSense display and up to two 4K monitors at 60 hz.
3D creators are likely to opt for the more expensive Surface Book for the option of powerful dedicated NVIDIA graphics, higher resolution 3K+ displays and enhanced Pen and Touch support on a reversible tablet screen.
Which would I choose for my team?
For most users, either look to be a viable choice and provide a performance increase over the now discontinued Surface Laptop 3 as well as the lower cost Surface Laptop Go. Either is suitable for fleetwide deployment in corporate environments and each provides a significant performance boost for users migrating from older 8th generation Intel Core i5 or i7 laptops, particularly for graphically intensive tasks.
We recommend talking to your account manager to see what models suit your team best (and which are likely to be delivered sooner). There are still stock constraints across the PC industry, so getting your order and your preferred specification in ahead of time will save time and hassle.
If you don't have an account manager at The Laptop Company yet, enquire below or contact us.
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