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AMD's beastily new mobile CPUs stun tech, and more
Your good tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Tuesday, March 31.
1. AMD 👑
The battle for CPU supremacy in PCs has long been a two-horse race between Intel and AMD for decades.
As Apple’s MacBooks rose in popularity (until the keyboard fiasco, recently fixed), the more important discussions have been about size, form-factor, utility, battery life, more so than which CPU was on board, for most people. Not counting gamers, of course.
So what’s interesting? AMD’s new lead in mobile CPU computing, courtesy of the new 7nm Ryzen 9 4900H and 4900HK mobile CPUs.
Trust me, I haven’t seen tech sites this hype for a long time:
- PC World calls AMD’s Ryzen 9 chips “a crushing blow to Intel’s most powerful laptop CPUs,” and offers “game-changing performance for laptops”.
- The Verge says “AMD has rewritten the rules of what a gaming laptop can be,” and Digital Trends says “AMD drops the mic”.
- What’s important is that the AMD chips use 35W of power, down from the usual 45W, but that’s not a handicap to performance from 8 cores running at 3.0 GHz.
- Ryzen 9 laptops can be blisteringly fast, and with reduced cooling requirements, it means it can be used in small and light laptops with “record-breaking performance.”
The proof is in the brand new ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 laptop, a 14-inch beast priced at $1,449 RRP that seems to have surprised everyone.
- The new Zephyrus G14 is not the perfect laptop for everyone, by any means.
- But it’s showing what AMD-powered devices can do inside compact bodies, with the AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS, with 8 cores and 16 threads on board.
- The new G14 is thin, small, and light, with great battery life at about 9-to-11 hours which is nuts.
- And it can handle demanding games at solid FPS, like Red Dead Redemption II, even with Ultra graphics turned on.
- It packs the Nvidia RTX 2060 Max-Q, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a 120Hz display into that body.
- Now, this laptop has flaws: no webcam and no Thunderbolt 3 support are weird and AMD-related omissions respectively, while the CPU still gets warm even at idle. LaptopMag gives it 5 stars, The Verge 8.5/10, CNET 8/10.
- It isn’t the fastest gaming laptop known to man, nor is it meant to be: the weight and size are where it wins.
- It’s like a Smart Car being just as capable as a Ferrari everywhere except racetracks with long straights. Which is for 0.01% of people, and accordingly, this G14 is for most people.
- More widely, it’s not even about this laptop, today.
- What it all means is that the likes of Razer, Dell Alienware, MSI, Acer Predator, and Lenovo will soon have their own AMD Ryzen 9 powered laptops.
- That’s when the market will have changed, and Intel will see immense pressure to catch-up to AMD and try to get ahead once more.
- Intel has 10th-gen chips coming out later this year
2. Poco exec confirms Poco F2 won’t be rebranded Redmi K30 Pro (Android Authority).
3. Google halts Pixel 3 sales, but here’s where you can still get them (Android Authority).
5. The Microsoft renaissance continues: Microsoft Office might be the best it’s ever been for consumers, not just workers. Hear me out, these updates look pretty interesting (Gizmodo).
6. By early March, Apple started letting some engineers take home prototypes of future devices to continue work during lockdown, as Apple finally comes around to antithetical ideas like working-from-home on secret projects (Bloomberg).
7. WeWork sells off Meetup.com to AlleyCorp and other investors (TechCrunch).
8. There’s been an interesting recent backlash against Zoom, the increasingly de-facto replacement for Skype video calls for business and friends on group calls. First data was being sent to Facebook before a rushed update (Vice), now this: Zoom meetings aren’t end-to-end encrypted, despite misleading marketing (The Intercept).
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