Microsoft’s Surface line has been comfortably Intel since its third generation, but that may soon change. According to Thurrott’s Brad Sams, it’s due a significant shakeup, with possible AMD processors, a modular Surface Studio monitor, and a foldable device.
The information comes from Sams’ latest book, Beneath a Surface, which details the rocky history of the brand and is well worth a read. The short of it is that Microsoft is rumored to be strongly considering AMD after Intel’s slow progress on 10nm, with talks ongoing about the red team’s upcoming Picasso line.
The change could potentially allow Microsoft to mitigate the throttling devices like the Surface Book see under load. However, at this point, things are very much subject to change. Though AMD has seen a leap forward in processing in recent times, it’s yet to show it can sustain that momentum.
Modular Surface Studio Monitor
Perhaps more likely to make it to market is what Sams calls a ‘Surface Monitor’. The idea is that users can swap out the compute unit of a Surface Studio for one of a higher power. A quality monitor like that of the Studio lasts a long time, so it would make a lot of sense from a consumer perspective.
This is an idea that Surface Chief Panos Panay has mentioned previously. However, this is the first indication we’ve been given that it’s anything more than an off-hand thought. Sams says we can expect such a release in 2020.
Of course, we’ve already heard a lot about Microsoft’s rumored Surface Andromeda foldable, but the concept is still very flexible according to Sams. It seems the company is working on either a variant of Andromeda or a replacement that’s similar to Intel’s Tiger Rapids prototype.
The Tiger Rapids is larger than a phone but utilizes an e-Ink display to let users write on a paper-like surface and have it transcribed on the PC. This lines up somewhat with rumors we heard earlier that Andromeda is shifting to more of a laptop/tablet device.
Knowing Microsoft, there will be some casualties along the way, but if Sam’s sources are to be believed, we’re in for an interesting few years for the Surface line.