Let’s get something straight: If someone had time traveled to 1995 and told me that AMD might be able to “save” the laptop market from Apple in 2023 with their chips, I’d immediately ask them It would have been how many drinks they consumed.

After all, the late 1990s were a different time and place for the PC industry. Intel was the undisputed king of the industry – especially in the desktop realm, as laptops were a relatively nascent market – and its company-owned foundry allowed it to release new processors at a cadence that not only impressed but rivaled competitors such as AMD. Also used to keep in the bay.

As someone who worked at Compaq which qualified and marketed AMD processors for its Presario consumer brand PCs as a hedge against Intel’s impenetrable pricing strategy, in my experience, AMD has a lot to work for. Easy had the reputation – but a Keystone Copes masterful for bad, sometimes abysmal, execution.

That’s how quickly things changed after CEO Lisa Siu came to AMD in 2012.

New AMD chips could challenge Apple silicon

Apple shook up the PC world when it started shipping its own chips, Apple Silicon, in late 2020. Intel.

Because Apple owns the entire hardware and software stack, which allows the company to optimize its macOS for enhanced performance, Mac desktops and laptops quickly became hot, in-demand items. While Windows PCs have a higher market share (about 58% versus 30% for macOS), Apple’s sales have steadily increased over the years.

However, the Windows laptop market may get a boost. Recently, AMD unveiled a new laptop CPU for thin and light devices that, according to the company, outperforms Apple’s M2 model from a year ago. Is this a true win for AMD, or is the company selectively focusing on specific performance metrics that distort the real story?

some important background

A few months ago, Intel released its Core i9 13980HX, a “notebook” CPU—a charitable description, at best—that it claimed outperformed Apple’s current fastest processor, the M2 Max. Although accurate claims of performance victories were technically valid in some areas, there were several limitations attached to such claims.

At first, the Intel processor was a highly unusable “notebook” chip because it lost all of its performance benefits the millisecond it ran on the battery and ate up watts like a man lost in the desert dying of thirst. Plus, whenever a notebook does something strenuous it generates a ton of heat to keep the fan running at full capacity. Finally, at almost seven pounds, it wasn’t exactly wide.

Still, it outperformed the M2 Max for some popular but specialized processor-intensive applications with a more powerful video card and frequent plugged-in use while wearing noise-canceling headphones. Although the concessions were a serious temptation for most Apple consumers, Intel struggled to put one of its CPUs on an even playing field.

This type of misstep has resulted in Intel inadvertently assuming that Apple’s M-series is the de facto industry leader, with continued advances in desktop and mobile computing, power and chip efficiency, and integrated graphics capability. Starting with the first M1 machines, Macs became much faster than any Windows PC in daily use, except in dedicated gaming rigs.

It’s AMD’s Time To Step Up To The Plate

The newest member of AMD’s Ryzen 7 family, the 7840U, is the chip the entire PC industry is talking about.

It’s immediately clear that this chip is a far more credible competitor than Intel’s 13980HX. Contrary to Intel’s insidious “notebook” characterization, the 7840U is actually a processor built specifically for thin-and-light laptops. As a result, it should generate less heat and work more effectively, and that’s just for openers.

Since AMD only introduced this new chip in late April, no production machines have used it in real-world testing yet, which is a moot point. Despite this, AMD recently posted a series of vague benchmarks that it says demonstrate greater performance over Apple’s native M2 processor, which is used by the Mac mini, MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro and two iPad Pros. done in versions.

AMD Ryzen 7840U vs Apple M2

Frankly, it’s still unknown whether the 7840U can maintain this apparently impressive performance on battery and how much battery it uses for comparable workloads as there’s no real system to test it on.

The overly general description of important areas of comparison, the narrow differences between the two chips in all but two categories, and the absence of details and sourcing for any conclusions raise concerns that must be validated in real-life testing.

AMD Ryzen 7040U Series Performance Chart

AMD Ryzen 7 7840U, part of the Ryzen 7040U series, benchmark performance vs Apple’s M2 (Chart credit: AMD)

Even if we accept AMD’s statements on their merits, a closer examination reveals that the company only offers distinct advantages in two of the six areas that its marketing team touts. Chosen as a “proof” of excellence. The other four results can be essentially bounded within the benchmark test margin of error.

Without question, real-world testing on real equipment can differ greatly from the marketing department’s benchmarks. Still, based on these and other early findings, there’s some evidence that AMD appears to have credibly — if only partially — challenged Apple’s M2 hegemony and significantly edged out Intel’s Core i9 13980HX. Which raises even more questions behind Intel.

With that in mind, the Ryzen 7 7840U is a fully integrated laptop chip that looks to compete with the base M2 processor and perhaps the M2 Pro in some areas. This is quite an achievement.

Even though the benchmarking suite scores are competitive, there are other things to consider, as games I tried to play on the Intel Core i9 13980HX laptop experienced a dramatic performance degradation when forced to operate on battery power.

closing thoughts

It’s too early to declare AMD’s 7784u as the new heavyweight champion, competing favorably with or even surpassing Apple’s M2.

From a reputational perspective, AMD recognizes the stakes here. We must assume that AMD measured the metrics for their comparison table under the laptop’s optimal conditions: when connected to AC power and without considering factors such as heat and battery consumption. From my point of view, this approach looks completely logical.

But let’s be clear. My conversations with AMD confirm that the company is working overtime to produce the best performing silicon possible. In my discussions with AMD executives, they are not dismissing Apple’s engineering capability (unlike Intel).

The post-pandemic PC market is currently in a growth funk, something that’s unlikely to change for several quarters. Companies like HP, Dell, and Lenovo have created some of the most beautiful laptop designs we’ve seen in years. However, without best-in-class chips, consumer and corporate customers may be inclined to consider non-Windows alternatives, despite the generally higher prices for Apple products.

If AMD’s 7840U turns out to be as advertised, it will give Windows laptops a much-needed jolt of adrenaline. No one likes any company, including Apple, to operate without competition, and AMD’s work here could be music to customers’ ears.

A collaboration between Linux computer and software firm System76 and HP, is pushing for commercial adoption of open-source software and hardware optimized for Linux.

System76 and HP on Thursday announced a new premium computer line designed to attract a wider audience to the developer-focused HP Dev One laptop computer.

HP’s new Dev One, System76’s popular Pop! _OS Powered by the Linux distribution, enables developers to create their ideal work experience with a range of tools to help them function at peak efficiency not available on other computing platforms.

The Pop!_OS platform features auto-tiling, workspaces and easy keyboard navigation. This flexibility allows software developers to create unique customized workflows, freeing up their coding capability.

Typically, Linux users install their preferred Linux platform as a replacement for the default Microsoft Windows on the computers they purchase. Relatively few OEMs create their own hardware line and tune it for specific Linux offerings.

Denver-based System76 developed its own customized version of the GNOME desktop environment to help propel Linux as the future of computing. The company developed Pop!_OS when Canonical decided to stop development of the Unity 8 desktop shell in 2017 and replaced its default desktop with GNOME 3.

“By bringing together our engineering, marketing and customer support, System76 [and] HP is introducing HP Dev One to combine powerful hardware with Pop!_OS optimized for the app dev community,” announced Carl Richel, CEO, System76.

hp dev one laptop

HP’s Dev One laptop has a strikingly classic appearance that thwarts Linux hardware and software optimizations designed for developers.

targeting coders

Software developers want devices optimized for the way they code, added Tylitha Stewart, vice president and global head of consumer services and subscriptions at HP.

“By working with System76, we are meeting this need and delivering a premium experience with Linux Pop!_OS pre-installed to deliver the new HP Dev One. The device has important features for developers including an optional Linux keyboard tuned with a Super key and designed to be more efficient at the core,” offered Stewart.

The companies hope the collaboration will accelerate the usefulness of Pop!_OS, pushing its limits beyond normal mainstream use for home and office computing. Pop! _OS development and innovation has always been a top priority for System76, says the renowned Jeremy Soler, System76’s lead engineer.

“We are working at a much faster pace than ever before to develop new features and adapt existing features to Pop!_OS,” he said.

Unique plan has potential

This interesting announcement shows HP realizes that there are enough markets for developers to focus on specific products, said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

“Although the company has certified its laptops for Linux for many years and has offered Ubuntu as an option on some high-end mobile workstations, it leaves the installation and configuration work mostly to end-users. This new AMD-based solution and the partnership with System 76 changes that,” he told LinuxInsider.

The bigger question, however, is how much of the market there is for HP-branded developer laptops, given the long and deep involvement of other vendors in this area. Consider that Dell has been providing developer-focused Linux solutions for more than a decade, King observed.

Provides Dell XPS 13 and Latitude laptops and fixed and mobile Precision workstations with Ubuntu Linux pre-loaded and certified for Red Hat Linux. In 2020 Lenovo expanded access to its Linux-ready solutions that were previously only available as a special order to enterprise customers. The expanded product range includes more than two dozen ThinkPad laptops, ThinkStation PCs and ThinkStation Workstations.

A handful of specialty OEMs, including System76, are full in this space, King observed.

“Overall, it qualifies as HP moves from twirling its toes to its ankles in the developer endpoint market. Depending on how it finds water, HP may eventually take a deep breath. may and may dive,” predicted the king.

about hardware

The HP Dev One is a premium laptop built for coding. It is not designed for casual computing.

HP’s new Linux-based laptop is built for the way software developers work. It is equipped with 8-core AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 5850U Processor 1 and AMD Integrated Radeon Graphics.

The Dev One’s internal specifications provide much more power than laptops developed for casual and business computing tasks in general. It is packed with 16 GB RAM memory provided by DDR4 @ 3200MHz and offers 1TB PCIe NVMe 3×4 NVMe M.2 2280 solid state drive storage. Its Full HD display shines with 1,000 nits brightness.

Multicore processors are designed to improve the performance of certain software products. Although not all customers or software applications will benefit from the use of this technology, HP said. Performance and clock frequency vary depending on application workload, hardware and software configuration. AMD’s numbering is not a measure of clock speed.

HP Dev One Ports Side View

The Dev One maintains HP’s classic layout with ample ports on both the left and right sides of the 3.24-pound lightweight 14-inch mineral silver-colored clam shell.

For software developers, however, multicore performance allows coders to seamlessly multitask between the IDE and photo editing software while testing their releases. The 16 GB memory supply provides transfer rates of up to 3,200 MT/s of speed and response for developers.

Greater storage size and speed means developers can spend less time managing their files. High speed sequential transfer – up to three Gb / s – makes it possible to experience very fast loading and saving of files.

The Dev One laptop measures 12.73 x 8.44 x 0.75 inches (32.34 x 21.46 x 1.91 cm).

Giving birth to a collaboration to develop Linux

A group of HP engineers contacted System76 about the possibility of installing Pop!_OS on one of their laptop computers. According to a spokesperson for System76’s public relations department, after some initial discussions, the two companies saw the potential for a real win, if they made Pop! _OS and Linux work together to bring a wider audience and allow HP to break into a whole new segment.

“The rest, as they say, is history,” the spokesperson told LinuxInsider.

But even casual coders and non-professional users can download a free open-source operating system without spending cold cash for a top-end laptop. The version of Pop!_OS that comes with the HP Dev One is the version that will be available for download on the System76 website.

There is no specially modified software version available. Users can freely download and install any Linux distribution. Linux runs on a variety of hardware configurations. It breathes new life into older computers, especially those that can no longer run current versions of Microsoft Windows.

The added advantage of Pop!_OS is its optimized User Interface (UI) which makes it simple and exceptionally intuitive to use.

“There is no doubt that HP has a far reaching reach in terms of its audience. By bringing Linux into its portfolio as a viable option for its customers, it also wants Linux and Pop!_OS to reach a larger audience. Allows, ”said the spokesperson.

Matter of time

Only time will tell how successfully the HP-System76 partnership will drive Linux adoption. History shows that the lack of coordinated advertising and some of the major OEM providers of hardware preinstalled with Linux have slowed mainstream Linux desktop adoption.

“At this point in time, it is too early to say. We think this is definitely linked to the above question, however, a larger audience learning about the benefits of Linux will lead to greater adoption of the platform in time, ”According to System 76.

But the collaboration with HP has actually greatly expanded the potential of the System 76, offered the spokesperson.

Pop!_OS Edge

System76 POP!_OS is not a skinned version of Ubuntu GNOME as a replacement. It includes much more.

System76 has an impressive track record in pioneering this optimized Linux operating system. This created a uniquely branded GNOME-based desktop environment designed for the company’s own hardware.

The collaboration with HP fixes both the hardware and the software so that the computing platform isn’t available anywhere else. Seasoned Linux users have many reasons to be attracted to the POP!_OS integration of the GNOME desktop.

Selecting this unique Linux desktop System76 emphasizes continuous improvements to the GNOME UI. Optimized special features can make this collaborative effort a winning proposition for coders and related industry settings.

Pop!_OS version 22.04 LTS is designed to have a minimal amount of clutter on the desktop to eliminate distractions. The layout lets users focus completely on using it more productively.

The latest POP!_OS System76, released prior to the Dev One announcement with HP, added the ability to assign applications to run on a specific graphics card. In addition to switching between Intel and Nvidia graphics, users can choose a hybrid graphics mode. In this mode, the computer runs on a battery-saving Intel GPU and uses only the Nvidia GPU for user-specified applications.

Extended keyboard shortcuts create a fluid experience. It’s a refreshing way to navigate the desktop without emptying the keyboard rows to perform mouse actions. These new keyboard shortcuts let you launch applications and switch between them, toggle settings, and more. It should work well for coders.

get it and more

HP Dev One is now available with a starting price of US$1,099.

This laptop comes with full-disk encryption, hall sensor and ambient light sensor. It also gets a dual-point backlit spill-resistant premium keyboard with a glass click pad and gesture support by default.

Wireless connectivity includes Realtek RTL8822CE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2×2) Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5 combo. There is no fingerprint reader in this device.

Audio configurations include dual stereo speakers and two multi-array microphones. The power supply is a HP Smart 65W External AC Power Adapter. Battery type is an HP Long Life three-cell, 53 watt Li-ion.

Ports and connectors include two SuperSpeed ​​USB Type-C 10Gbps signaling rates (USB Power Delivery, DisplayPort 1.4); two SuperSpeed ​​USB Type-A 5Gbps signaling rates (one charging); a headphone/microphone combo; One HDMI 2.0; One AC power (HDMI cable sold separately).

It also includes a 720p HD camera.

For more information or to order visit hpdevone.com.

POP!_OS Distro is available for free download in two versions. An ISO is for Intel and AMD systems. The second ISO is for the Nvidia graphics system.

Both installation ISOs boot the computer in a live session that does not change the current operating system or the computer’s hard drive. It is set up with the click of a button from the live session.