First Windows 11 PCs Running Microsoft Pluton Coming This Year

The first wave of Windows 11 OEM devices based on Microsoft's security-focused Pluton chip will arrive later this year, Microsoft said this week at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Microsoft first revealed Pluton in 2020 as an AMD-based chip designed to curb the growth of ransomware attacks. Pluton devices store sensitive data like passwords and encryption keys at the hardware level, making it harder for attackers to access that information. Initially, Pluton was built into Microsoft's Xbox consoles and IoT Azure Sphere products.

On Tuesday, Microsoft announced that in conjunction with its partners AMD and Lenovo, the ThinkPad Z13 and Z16 laptops will be the first Windows 11 devices to include the Pluton security chip.

Describing how these new laptops will leverage the increased security, David Weston, Microsoft's director of Enterprise and OS Security, wrote:

The Pluton security processor's firmware will be updateable through Windows Update along with standard industry controls. This tightly integrated hardware and software helps protect against security vulnerabilities by adding additional visibility and control, and provides a platform for innovation that allows customers to benefit from new features in future releases of Windows that leverage the Pluton hardware and, with this design, are adaptable to changes in the threat landscape.

The two new entries in Lenovo's business laptop line will also come with the latest AMD Ryzen Pro 6000 series processors, which Lenovo says is the first X86 processor to provide "powerful security from chip to cloud on Windows 11 PCs."

Weston said that working closely with Microsoft OEMs on devices using the Pluton chip is necessary to achieve the level of security aimed with the chip, and the company is working closely with other hardware partners on future releases.

He also reiterated that devices, like the two new Lenovo business laptops, will help IT secure its growing remote workforce, as the Pluton chip, in conjunction with partner hardware, will also provide data on the expected state of devices that might not be on-premises.

"In the future these signals will also be reported to cloud services like Intune, through the Microsoft Azure Attestation service, so that they can be used by IT administrators to take a step further in the zero-trust security paradigm of verifying as much as possible before authorizing access to any privileged resources," said Weston.

Lenovo's ThinkPad Z13 will be priced starting at $1,549, and the ThinkPad Z16 at $2,099. The devices are set to arrive in May. Learn more about the full specs here.

About the Author

Chris Paoli (@ChrisPaoli5) is the associate editor for Converge360.