Microsoft News Roundup: Windows 11 on 400 million PCs, Microsoft salaries, and a 3DS look-alike running Windows

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 3 in photos
(Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

From gaming leaks to an exclusive report about Windows 11, we saw quite a bit run across the Windows Central news desk this week. Our Senior Editor Zac Bowden shared that Windows 11 is now on 400 million devices and is on pace to be on half a billion PCs in early 2024. Intel and AMD each launched processors, giving gamers and creators more CPU and GPU options. We also got a better idea of how much Microsoft pays its employees, thanks to a leak. Here are all the biggest stories from the past week.

Windows 11 on 400 million devices

Surface Laptop Studio 2 photos

(Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

Windows 11 is on over 400 million devices, according to an exclusive report from our Senior Editor Zac Bowden. Based on growth levels, that figure is set to hit half a billion in early 2024.

Windows 11's rollout has been different than that of Windows 10 in several ways. For example, Windows 11 has stricter minimum requirements, effectively cutting off PCs from before 2018. As a result of that, and other factors, the growth of Windows 11 is much slower than the adoption rate of Windows 10, which reached 400 million devices in just over one year.

While adoption of Windows 11 has been slower than that of Windows 10, it has still surpassed Microsoft's expectations. Bowden said that according to sources, "Microsoft has consistently blown past [its] internal goals."

14th Gen Intel CPUs

Intel Core i7-14700K

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Intel's 14th Gen CPUs were one of the worst kept secrets in tech, but the chipmaker officially announced and launched the processors this week. The Intel Core i9-14900K is the flagship CPU of the lineup, promising a 6GHz boost clock speed. You can already get a pre-built PC with that CPU, thanks to a new configuration option for the Alienware Aurora R16.

That isn't the only chip in Intel's lineup, however. In our Intel Core i7-14700K review Windows Central Managing Editor Richard Devine said the CPU "offers excellent performance for gaming and intensive tasks." He added that it's a "modest upgrade over the previous generation," so you need to consider your current setup when deciding if a 14th Gen Intel chip is worth it.

Alienware Aurora R16 | $3,499.99 at Dell

Alienware Aurora R16 | $3,499.99 at Dell

You can now purchase the Alienware Aurora R16 with up to a 14th Gen Intel Core i9-14900KF and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090.

If you want to get a bargain, Dell has several Aurora R16 configurations with 13th Gen Intel chips on sale right now. The highest savings option available is $150 off for the model with a 13th Gen Intel Core i7-13700F and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070.

Different configuration: $1,849.00 (13th Gen Intel Core i7 and RTX 4070)

Price check: $1,599.99 at Best Buy (13th Gen Intel Core i7 and RTX 4060 TI model)

AMD Radeon RX 7900M

AMD Radeon RX 7900M

(Image credit: AMD)

Intel wasn't the only company to unveil a processor this week, though AMD's announcement was on the graphics side of things. The Radeon RX 7900M is the "fastest AMD Radeon GPU ever developed for laptops," according to AMD. It's built on AMD's RDNA 3 architecture and it features 16GB of GDDR6 VRAM.

Because of the architecture it's built upon, the RX 7900M has second-gen AMD Infinity Cache and second-generation raytracing technology. AMD designed its new GPU for 1440p gaming, though it could handle higher depending on settings other than resolution.

The Alienware m18 is among the first laptops with the RX 7900M inside. In that gaming laptop, AMD's powerful GPU is paired with an AMD Ryzen 7945X CPU.

Alienware m18 gaming laptop | $2,799.99 at Dell

Alienware m18 gaming laptop | $2,799.99 at Dell

This is one of the first laptops to run on the AMD Radeon RX 7900M, which is the most powerful Radeon GPU to date. That high-end graphics processor is paired with an AMD Ryzen 7945X in this PC, giving you a ludicrous amount of portable gaming power.


AYANEO Flip DS - white

(Image credit: AYANEO)

In 2023 we've had plenty of handheld gaming consoles and devices with hinges, but how about both? The AYANEO Flip DS does just that, bringing Windows to a form factor that's eerily similar to the Nintendo 3DS. Images of the new gaming device leaked this week, giving us a glimpse of what's on the way.

According to reports, the AYANEO Flip family of devices, which includes one system with two screens and another system with a full keyboard, will run on an AMD Ryzen 7 7840U. The portable PC will sport a 7-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate, assuming leaks prove accurate.

Microsoft salaries

Microsoft employees throwing cash in the air

(Image credit: Windows Central | Kevin Okemwa)

One of the biggest stories of the week came courtesy of a leak about Microsoft salaries. A report shared the pay guidelines for various roles at the company, including hiring bonuses, annual stock awards, and the ranges of employee pay.

None of the figures are particularly surprising on their own, but having all of the information in one place is interesting. The leak shared such details as Level 70 employees having a base pay ranging from $231,700 to $361,500 plus a hiring bonus between $310,000 to $1.2 million. On the other end of things, Microsoft's lowest-ranking employees have a base salary of $42,500.

For context, level 68 employees are considered partners, so a level 70 employee is quite high in the company's corporate structure.

Reviews & Editorials

Image of the Razer BlackShark V2 HyperSpeed wireless gaming headset.

(Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

We don't just cover gadgets, games, and gizmos when they're announced. We go hands-on with the latest tech and take a deep dive to see what's worth adding to your workflow or gaming setup. This week our team of experts reviewed a new headset from Razer, a powerful mini PC from Geekom, in insanely Lenovo fast gaming monitor and more.

On top of our reviews, our experts share personal insight and analysis in editorials and breakdowns each week.


Microsoft Laptop Studio on a colored background

(Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

With Prime Big Deal Days behind us, you may think that you'll have to wait until Black Friday to find discounts on laptops, PCs, accessories, and games. That's not the case though, as many retailers have already slashed prices. Right now, is a great time to buy a Surface, Lenovo laptop, or an XPS 13. We also found a great discount on one of our writer's favorite childhood games.

Microsoft - Surface Laptop Studio 14.4” Touch Screen – Intel Core i5 -16GB Memory – 256GB SSD - Platinum: $1,599.00

Microsoft - Surface Laptop Studio 14.4” Touch Screen – Intel Core i5 -16GB Memory – 256GB SSD - Platinum: was $1,599.00 now $1,099.99 at Best Buy (30% off)

The successor to the applauded Surface Book line, the Surface Laptop Studio was the first generation in a new approach by Microsoft to compete with the Macbook Pro and iPad Pro in one device. The screen slides down into two positions to make writing on the tablet with the Surface Pen easier. 

With the recent release of the Surface Studio 2, which we gave a great review, this 1st generation model is enjoying a clearance deal, so grab it while you can. 

Great for: Sketch, artistic work, and medium workflows (lacks RTX GPU). 

💰Price check: $1,090.00 at Amazon

Microsoft - Surface Laptop 5 – 13.5” Touch Screen – Intel Evo Platform Core i5 – 8GB Memory – 512GB SSD): $1,299.00

Microsoft - Surface Laptop 5 – 13.5” Touch Screen – Intel Evo Platform Core i5 – 8GB Memory – 512GB SSD): was $1,299.00 now $999.99 at Best Buy (17% off)

This is the Sage version of the newest Surface Laptop. Several other versions are on sale for different amounts, but this is an excellent middle-of-the-ground option with an i5 12th Gen CPU, 8GB of RAM, and an upgraded storage capacity with a 512 GB SSD.

Great for: Those that want a premium feeling and performing laptop with the excellent touch support of Surface. 

💰Price check: $900.00 at Amazon (black version)

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 14" (Gen 10): $3,439.00

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 14" (Gen 10): was $3,439.00 now $1,374.99 at Lenovo (60% off)

Lenovo is one of the best brands in the laptop and PC market, and the ThinkPad series is known for its durability and performance. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is no exception, as it offers a sleek design and a long battery life. Whether you need a laptop for work, school, or fun, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon can do it all. Don't miss this chance to get one of the best laptops on the market at a great price.

Great for: Use as a work laptop or personal device

💰Price check: $1,799.00 at Amazon

Lenovo ThinkBook 14 (Gen 4): $1,469.00

Lenovo ThinkBook 14 (Gen 4): was $1,469.00 now $763.50 at Lenovo (50% off)

This ThinkBook 14 (Gen 4) features an AMD Ryzen 5000 processor, DDR4-3200MHz memory, and PCIe 3.0 SSD storage. The 14-inch touch screen has an FHD resolution with a 16:9 aspect ratio which is good for general work or school tasks. You can also get a webcam with an FHD resolution for better video calls, and Wi-Fi 6 support.

This AMD model has two USB-C 3.2 (Gen 2) ports, dropjaw Ethernet, HDMI, two USB-A 3.2 (Gen 1), and a 3.5mm audio jack. There is no IR camera, but you do have a fingerprint reader, firmware TPM 2.0, and webcam shutter.

Great for: Those with a limited budget who want an Ultrabook for their home or small business.

💰Price check: $839.99 at Best Buy (ThinkBook 14 Intel version)

LOQ (15" AMD) with RTX 4050 | was $1099.99 now $749.99 at Lenovo

This is a great price for packing a GeForce RTX 4050 GPU under the hood, with which you also get the AMD Ryzen 7, 8GB DDR5 RAM and 512GB built in storage. 

You'll get reliable performance for most games at high settings, but you may have to pare back some more demanding titles.

✅Great for:

LOQ (15" AMD) with RTX 4050 | was $1099.99 now $749.99 at Lenovo

This is a great price for packing a GeForce RTX 4050 GPU under the hood, with which you also get the AMD Ryzen 7, 8GB DDR5 RAM and 512GB built in storage.

You'll get reliable performance for most games at high settings, but you may have to pare back some more demanding titles.

✅Great for:
 A budget gaming laptop with reliable 1080p performance.

💰Price check: $749.99 at Best Buy

Dell XPS 13 | was $799 now $599

Dell XPS 13 | was $799 now $599

This laptop builds on years of Dell's impressive XPS 13 lineup. The discounted model runs on a 12th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU and Intel Iris Xe graphics. You can expect a solid typing experience, a bright screen, and a premium design from the XPS 13.

Price check: $1,049.99 (Intel Core i7 model)

Destroy All Humans! 2: Reprobed |$39.99now $10 at GameStop

Destroy All Humans! 2: Reprobed | was $39.99 now $10 at GameStop

The remake of Destroy All Humans! 2 is one of the silliest, most over-the-top action-adventure games available, and thanks to this GameStop deal you can get it for just $10. It's one of my favorite childhood games, and I can't recommend it enough.

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