Intel just discontinued the processor that powered the Surface Neo

Windows10x Surface Neo Devday
Windows10x Surface Neo Devday (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Intel has discontinued its Lakefield series processors.
  • Lakefield series processors are in the Lenovo X1 Fold and a version of the Galaxy Book S.
  • The Surface Neo also ran on a Lakefield series chip, though the device never shipped.

Intel officially discontinued its Lakefield series of processors, which could spell changes for devices including the Lenovo X1 Fold and Surface Neo, assuming the latter ever ships. Lakefield series processors weren't in many devices, and those that they were in generally had unique form factors. Anandtech broke the news about the discontinuation of the Lakefield series.

The discontinuation of the Lakefield series is a bit surprising. The chips were only announced in January 2019 and only shipped in devices in June 2020.

Comparing Lakefield processors to other chips is a complicated task. Lakefield wasn't used in many devices, so benchmarking isn't as easy as with more popular chips. Additionally, Lakefield was aimed at different types of devices, so an apples-to-apples comparison against chips like the Qualcomm 8cx or other processors from Intel isn't exactly fair.

Lakefield series processors were made to have a small footprint, which allowed them to fit into thin devices that steered away from the norm. For example, the Surface Neo and Lenovo X1 Fold both used Lakefield chips (the X1 Fold even had fans to cool it down). There's also a version of the Galaxy Book S with a Lakefield processor. That device is a traditional laptop but is exceptionally thin.

Anandtech has a deep dive into Intel's Lakefield series processors. That piece concludes by saying, "But the bottom line is that in most cases, expect Lakefield to perform similar to four Atom cores, just above Goldmont Plus, and not like any of the Skylake/Ice Lake Core products and its derivatives."

Because of the discontinuation, some thin and light devices will have to use an alternative to Lakefield series processors. That could come in the form of CPUs from Qualcomm or other processors from Intel.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

13 Comments
  • Probably Alder Lake based chip already being validated
  • Yes you are right, Alder Lake is the mainstream Big.Little architecture implementation for x86. Lakefield was an experiment, especially to work on the Windows scheduler. This has been used for years in ARM, but x86 will introduce it later this year with 12th gen, and the Windows kernel has to be optimized for it.
    There are mobile variants as well.
  • Seems that this is how it is all going to go. Microsoft cancels Windows 10x and pushes back Neo indefinitely. This leads to Lenovo to discuss future device plans and will announce it is stopping production of the X1 Fold. Intel, with the biggest two devices to use the chip no longer going to be in production, decides to cancel the chip proper as it is not viable for a laptop device.
  • My understanding is the design of the Neo was in collaboration with Intel and Intel has had similar designs they've shown off recently. Given the poor adoption of the chip, I doubt 10x getting shelved was a major factor. The news does make me wonder if it would be easy for Microsoft to switch chips or does it require a tweak to the design to make it a proper ARM device.
  • Have you take a look at Windows 11 looks a lot like Windows 10x lol
  • I wonder if MS will go ARM for the Neo then (if they release it all), would help to explain their recent push to make Windows 11 awesome on ARM devices. Just a thought.
  • Lakefield is only a stepping stone to Alder Lake.
    It was the initial experiment for the Big.Little in x86, which Alder Lake will bring for the first time to mainstream x86 later this year.
  • This is an awesome opportunity AMD or snapdragon.
  • I don't think AMD had a product here...the Samsung and AMD partnership may though....
  • I know that 😂
  • Just as Apple had issues with getting CPUs from Intel, that had been promised but didn't deliver, I suspect that the Neo was underpowered and the processor was not very good. This also could explain why MS had performance issues with Windows 10x emulation for x86. If the processor couldn't manage the emulation task they had no apps for the device. Love to hear the true story of what happened at some point instead of guessing.
  • This has "Zune" written all over it.
  • Powered what, exactly? There is no evidence the Neo ever existed outside of prototypes and spec sheets. You can't replace what wasn't actually used.