With the recent launch of an Intel-powered 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 for businesses, we now have the rare opportunity to directly compare it to an almost identical laptop with a consumer-oriented AMD chipset. That’s exactly what AnandTech has done with a new analysis that pits two 15-inch Surface 3 laptops against one another — one featuring an AMD Ryzen 7 3780U and an enterprise-focused device with an Intel Core i7-1065G7.
What the results show is that while AMD’s new “Picasso” Zen+ APU platform is a huge step forward for the company’s laptop processors, it still can’t quite match the performance of Intel’s chips. As AnandTech puts it:
“There aren’t too many ways to sugar coat the results of this showdown though. AMD’s Picasso platform, featuring its Zen+ cores and coupled with a Vega iGPU, has been a tremendous improvement for AMD. But Intel’s Ice Lake platform runs circles around it. Sunny Cove cores coupled with the larger Gen 11 graphics have proven to be too much to handle.”
The difference was most stark in the CPU tests, where Intel’s chip walked away with wins in both single- and multi-threaded workloads. The single-threaded performance of Intel’s laptop chip is particularly impressive, with AnandTech noting that the chip is “able to keep up with even Intel’s best performing desktop solutions which are running at far higher frequencies and larger power draw.” Intel’s chips also came out ahead in terms of power efficiency, with longer battery life and lower idle power draw.
It wasn’t an entirely clean sweep for Intel, however, with AMD notching up a few wins in AnandTech’s GPU benchmarks. However, while AMD came out ahead in certain tasks, its slower CPU bottlenecked its GPU elsewhere.
These benchmarks are by no means the end of the argument between Intel and AMD in laptops. After all, AMD’s mobile Zen+ chips are currently half a generation behind its Zen 2 processors, which offered a large step up in performance on the desktop. This could be set to change come next year, provided Intel doesn’t have some performance improvements of its own up its sleeve.
It’s a complicated situation, and it’s well worth reading AnandTech’s writeup in its entirety for the full picture.