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AMD drops a genuine shock on Intel in laptops, and more

🌞 Good morning! Just hours after yesterday’s exploration of OnePlus, the company announced a launch date for the OnePlus 8 series: April 14, 11am ET. Now we know.

Tech can barely believe what AMD has achieved

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:

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14

  • It’s 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 omissions, 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.
  • But 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

Round Up:

📴 Poco exec confirms Poco F2 won’t be rebranded Redmi K30 Pro (Android Authority).

🛒 Google halts Pixel 3 sales, but here’s where you can still get them (Android Authority).

🎧 The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus have some competition… from Samsung’s own AKG N400 ANC true wireless earbuds (Android Authority).

🍎 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).

😬 A classic brutal Ars Technica review: Galaxy S20 Ultra —Overhyped and outrageously priced

Everything we know so far about the Apple Watch Series 6 (9to5Mac).

🏢 WeWork sells off Meetup.com to AlleyCorp and other investors (TechCrunch).

🔘 Steam limits game auto-updates to manage peak demand: updates will need to be started manually, as Sony and Microsoft also slowed game downloads (Engadget).

🏢 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).

📹 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).

😲 Ford will pump out 50,000 ventilators (which don’t require electricity), in the next 100 days (CNET).

😎 Half-Life: Alyx can be played sitting in a chair and I didn’t know that (Kotaku).

🎦 Sony delays almost all of its movie lineup into next year: ‘Morbius,’ ‘Ghostbusters’ Sequel... plus an untitled Sony/Marvel movie moved from 2021 to unknown (Variety).

🖼 Van Gogh’s ‘Spring Garden’ painting stolen from Dutch museum closed due to coronavirus (AP).

🎣 Animal Crossing’s stringfish is making fans increasingly desperate: last day to catch for months (Polygon)

🥔 I keep laughing at this photo: “my boss turned herself into a potato on our Microsoft teams meeting” (Twitter).

🌌 Want to help science with all your free time? Spot penguins and or find new galaxies and tonnes of other interesting, useful projects(zooniverse.org/)

🧫 “Why do some viruses, such as influenza, quickly mutate (thus require different vaccinations annually), but other viruses, such as smallpox seem to barely mutate at all (or at least much more slowly)?” (r/askscience).

Chart Tuesday

Here’s a chart of Google search trends for the term "grow vegetables" in the USA, over the past 4 months when compared with the same over the past five years (r/dataisbeautiful):

  • It’s spring, duh, so more people are searching for what to grow.
  • But this shows just how far COVID-19 is driving people, and is why my local store here in Germany had no seeds or seedlings a week ago!

Cheers,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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