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Opinion | Most OEMs treat AMD CPUs like second-class citizens when it comes to laptops. Now is the time for change

Most OEMs treat AMD CPUs like second-class citizens when it comes to laptops. Now is the time for change
Most OEMs treat AMD CPUs like second-class citizens when it comes to laptops. Now is the time for change
Microsoft had the cojones to put both AMD and Intel on its flagship Surface series. In contrast, other OEMs offer AMD options only for their lower-end to mid-range product families. The Ryzen 5 3500U and Ryzen 7 3700U are comparable enough to the Core i7-8565U and even Core i7-1065G7 to be treated on equal ground on flagship laptops.

(October 21, 2019 update: Corrected the page to say Surface Laptop instead of Surface Pro.)

If you want the best Ultrabooks from manufacturers like Lenovo, Asus, Dell, or HP, then you will want to look at their flagship offerings like the Yoga 900 series, ZenBook S series, XPS series, or the Spectre series, respectively. All of these laptops come equipped with only Intel CPUs and the occasional GeForce GPU depending on the SKU. If you want any AMD options, however, you'll have to dig deeper into the budget-midrange category populated by more lackluster laptops like the Lenovo Ideapad series, Asus VivoBook series, Dell Inspiron series, or the HP Pavilion series.

OEMs have a habit of offering AMD CPUs for budget laptops only while the thinner, sexier, and often headline-grabbing flagship Ultrabooks would nearly always be associated with the latest Intel CPUs instead. This made sense in the past when AMD was offering laughably slow Bristol Ridge and Carrizo APUs for mobile that didn't stand a chance against the likes of Intel Broadwell or Skylake at the time. The latest AMD Ryzen U series, however, has proven itself to be neck-to-neck against the best of Intel Whiskey Lake-U and even Ice Lake in some cases. Thus, they deserve a shot at being inside flagship Ultrabooks as alternative SKUs to the usual Intel options.

Microsoft will be taking this bold step forward with its latest Surface Laptop 3 series of tablets. AMD isn't being pushed aside for a budget "Surface Go" offering; the Surface maker announced both AMD and Intel SKUs simultaneously and is treating them all on relatively equal ground.

We're hopeful that other OEMs will follow a similar path. Seeing a Dell XPS 13 or HP Spectre 13 powered by AMD Ryzen would be a treat especially if it would mean lower and more competitive prices from Intel. Asus already announced plans to put Ryzen options onto its flagship ZenBook 14, but core details like price and availability remain unknown.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 10 > Most OEMs treat AMD CPUs like second-class citizens when it comes to laptops. Now is the time for change
Allen Ngo, 2019-10-20 (Update: 2019-10-22)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.