Surface Book 3 LeadSource: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

Microsoft Surface Book 3 13.5- and 15-inch models are set to on sale on May 21. While Microsoft has not changed the fundamentals of its most powerful laptop, it has overhauled the chips that power them bringing them up to speed for 2020.

My Surface Book 3 15 review sample arrived for some testing this week. While it is still too early for general remarks on battery life and the overall experience (though I'm not expecting a radical shift in opinion), I can run some benchmarks to see what that new Core i7-1065G7 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (Max-Q) deliver.

Surface Book 3 15 – What's new at a glance

Surface Book 3 Logo GrassSource: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

Before we get to the benchmarks, let us recap what is different from the Surface Book 3 15 over the Surface Book 2 15:

Category Spec
Wi-Fi Intel Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.0
RAM Up to 32GB LPDDR4x
Storage Faster, up to 2TB (15-inch only)
CPU 10th Gen Intel Core
GPU GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q (15-inch)
Quadro RTX 3000 (15-inch)
Charger 127W (15-inch)
Audio Dolby Atmos
Power 50 percent more powerful
Battery Half hour longer battery life

The wire mechanism that controls the display detaching is reportedly three times faster and quieter than Surface Book 2, which is a minor change, but I can report it as accurate.

And here is a full specification comparison between Surface Book 2 and Surface Book 3:

Surface Book 2 15 vs. Surface Book 3 15 specs

Surface Book 2 (15) Surface Book 3 (15)
Processor 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7
RAM 8GB or 16GB LPDDR3 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB LPDDR4x
Storage 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB
Display size 15 inches
Touch
15 inches
Touch
Display resolution 3240 x 2160
3:2 aspect
260 PPI
3240 x 2160
3:2 aspect
260 PPI
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 620
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
Intel Iris Plus
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (Max-Q)
NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000
Ports Two USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen1)
One USB Type-C w/ video, power in/out and USB 3.1 (Gen1) data
Full-size SDXC card reader (UHS-II)
Headphone jack (3.5mm)
Two Surface Connect ports (1 in tablet, 1 in keyboard base)
Two USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen1)
One USB Type-C w/ video, power in/out and USB 3.1 (Gen2) data
Full-size SDXC card reader (UHS-II)
Headphone jack (3.5mm)
Two Surface Connect ports (1 in tablet, 1 in keyboard base)
Connectivity Marvel Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Blueooth 4.1
Xbox Wireless
Intel Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax
Bluetooth 5.0
Xbox Wireless
Camera 5MP Front-facing 1080P
8.0MP Rear-facing AF 1080P
5MP Front-facing 1080P
8.0MP Rear-facing AF 1080P
Biometrics IR camera IR camera
Battery 80WHr
Up to 17 hours
80WHr
Up to 17.5 hours
Charger 102W 127W
Dimensions 343 mm x 251 mm x 15-23 mm (L x W x D)
13.5 in x 9.87 in x 0.57 to 0.90 in
343 mm x 251 mm x 15-23 mm (L x W x D)
13.5 in x 9.87 in x 0.57 to 0.90 in
Weight i5 total: 1,533g (3.38lbs)
i7 total: 1,642g (3.62lbs)
Tablet: 719g (1.59lbs)
i5 total: 1,533g (3.38lbs)
i7 total: 1,642g (3.62lbs)
Tablet: 719g (1.59lbs)

Surface Book 3 15 Preliminary benchmarks

Surface Book 3 Logo ProfileSource: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

Putting the Surface Book 3 15-inch through a few popular synthetic benchmarking apps reveals expected results. There is a slight boost in CPU performance when switching from 8th Gen to Intel 10th Gen Core i7, but the significant increase comes from the GTX 1660 Ti graphics card, which is significantly faster (especially on CUDA). The tests, as always, are run with the laptops plugged in and set to maximum performance in a 70-degree Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) room.

Geekbench 4

Geekbench 4.0 (CPU) (Higher is better)

Device CPU Single core Multi core
Surface Book 3 15 i7-1065G7 1,298 4,511
Surface Book 2 15 i7-8650U 1,130 3,602
Samsung Galaxy Book Flex i7-1065G7 1,317 4,780
Dell XPS 13 (9300) i7-1065G7 1,284 4,848
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 i7-1065G7 1,209 3,571
Surface Laptop 3 15 i7-1065G7 1,336 4,893
HP Elite Dragonfly i7-8665U 1,125 2,942
Surface Laptop 3 13.5 i5-1035G7 1,177 4,413
Lenovo Yoga C740 i5-10210U 1,094 3,767
HP Spectre x360 13 i7-1065G7 1,006 3,402
Surface Pro X SQ1 725 2,819
Surface Laptop 3 15 Ryzen 5 769 2,720
Surface Pro 7 i5-1035G4 1,191 4,441

Geekbench 5

Geekbench 5.0 (CPU) (Higher is better)

Device CPU Single core Multi core
Surface Book 3 15 i7-1065G7 5,166 18,743
Surface Book 2 15 i7-8650U 5,036 14,237
Surface Book 2 13 i7-8650U 4,862 14,694
Surface Laptop 3 15 Ryzen-5 3,985 12,079
Surface Laptop 3 15 i7-1065G7 5,727 19,593
Surface Laptop 3 13.5 i5-1035G7 5,265 17,345
Surface Laptop 2 i5-8250U 4,203 13,233
Surface Laptop i5-7200U 3,725 7,523
Surface Pro 7 i5-1035G4 5,245 17,350
Surface Pro 6 i7-8650U 5,037 13,864
Surface Pro 6 i5-8250U 4,287 14,031
Surface Pro 5 i5-7300U 4,302 8,482
Surface Pro 5 i7-7660U 4,513 9,346
Surface Pro 4 i5-6300U 3,319 6,950
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 i7-1065G7 5,459 19,097
Razer Blade Stealth i7-8565U 5,139 16,339
Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 i7-8665U 5,469 15,800

PCMark

PCMark 10

Device Score
Surface Book 3 15 4,393
Surface Book 2 15 4,228
Surface Laptop 3 15 (AMD) 4,006
Surface Laptop 3 15 (Intel) 4,604
Surface Laptop 2 2,748
Surface Pro 7 i5 3,992
Surface Pro 6 i7 3,644
Surface Pro 6 i5 3,501
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 4,427
Dell XPS 15 7590 5,521
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 4,427

GPU

Geekbench 4.0 CUDA (higher is better)

Laptop GPU Score
Surface Book 3 15 GTX 1660 Ti 233,528
Surface Book 2 15 GTX 1060 132,785
Surface Book 2 13 GTX 1050 75,665
Razer Blade 2017 GTX 1060 138,758
XPS 15 GTX 1050 75,636
Surface Book GTX 965M 59,945

SSD

CrystalDiskMark (Higher is better)

Device Read Write
Surface Book 3 512GB 2,370 MB/s 1,458 MB/s
Surface Book 2 1TB 2,428 MB/s 730 MB/s
Surface Book 1TB 1,018 MB/s 967 MB/s
Surface Laptop 3 15 2,028 MB/s 806 MB/s
Surface Laptop 3 13.5 2,338 MB/s 1,583 MB/s
Surface Pro 7 2,040 MB/s 809 MB/s
Surface Pro 6 1,632 MB/s 814 MB/s
Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 3,376 MB/s 2,983 MB/s
Dell XPS 13 (9300) 3,000 MB/s 1,217 MB/s
HP Spectre x360 (Optane) 2,092 MB/s 515 MB/s
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 2,400 MB/s 1,228 MB/s
HP Elite Dragonfly (Optane) 2,124 MB/s 548 MB/s
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme (Gen 2) 3,416 MB/s 3,016 MB/s
Lenovo ThinkPad P53 3,567.23 MB/s 2,813.25 MB/s
Lenovo ThinkPad P52 3,120 MB/s 1,551.5 MB/s
Dell XPS 15 7590 3,000 MB/s 2,796 MB/s
MSI PS63 Modern 3,300 MB/s 1,875 MB/s

.

Running some other 3DMark benchmarks like Time Spy, Night Raid and Fire Strike show how the GPU shifts favorably for Surface Book 3 but falls short of most gaming laptops.

3DMark Graphics

Model Test Score
Surface Book 3 15 GTX 1660 Ti Time Spy 4,979
Surface Book 3 15 GTX 1660 Ti Night Raid 9,448
Surface Book 3 15 GTX 1660 Ti Fire Strike 3,406

For the full review, I'll include comparison scores for the above 3DMark ones, though you can easily compare them to 3DMark's online database. For example, the Surface Book 3 is more potent with its 4,979 score on Time Spy, while the Surface Book 2 only managed 3,557.

I'll also toss in some gaming benchmarks and framerates to see just how much better the GTX 1660 Ti is compared to the older GTX 1060 used in Surface Book 2.

While Microsoft is offering an option for NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 graphics, please make no mistake that option is not only pricier, but it won't be any better for gaming or general consumer applications. Indeed, due to the lower core clock rate, it will likely be worse. Quadro is optimized for 3D rendering and CAD applications, where its memory system is ideal for more precise work versus gaming, which is more reliant on faster core speed.

Surface Book 3 Charger 127wattSource: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

The Surface Book 3 15 charger is now 127 watts versus the older 102 watts that came with Surface Book 2. The Surface Book 3 can utilize 120 watts with 7 watts for the Type-A port found in the base. This improvement in wattage addresses a power-draining issue with the Surface Book 2, which, while rare, was a problem for some. Even though the charger does not seem bigger, it certainly is heavy (1lb, or 455G). Luckily, it is still a dual-prong plug without a ground, which makes it great for travel.

Dolby Atmos sound tuning is also here. The physical speakers are unchanged with Surface Book 3, but Dolby Atmos gives more spatial representation to audio and it sounds great. But due to the lack of a dedicated subwoofer, audio remains a little bit less rich than preferred. In theory, I can't see why this software tweak can't be implemented on Surface Book 2, save for the licensing cost.

Surface Book 3 15 Consumer

Category Features
10th Gen Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM, 256GB, GTX 1660Ti $2,299
10th Gen Intel Core i7, 32 GB RAM, 512GB, GTX 1660Ti $2,799
10th Gen Intel Core i7, 32 GB RAM, 1TB, GTX 1660Ti $2,999
10th Gen Intel Core i7, 32 GB RAM, 2TB, GTX 1660Ti $3,399

Surface Book 3 15 Commercial

Category Features
10th Gen Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM, 256GB, GTX 1660Ti $2,399
10th Gen Intel Core i7, 32 GB RAM, 512GB, GTX 1660Ti $2,899
10th Gen Intel Core i7, 32 GB RAM, 1TB, GTX 1660Ti $3,099
10th Gen Intel Core i7, 32 GB RAM, 2TB, GTX 1660Ti $3,499
10th Gen Intel Core i7, 32 GB RAM, 512 GB, Quadro RTX 3000 $3,499
10th Gen Intel Core i7, 32 GB RAM, 1TB, Quadro RTX 3000 $3,699

For configurations, Microsoft is offering multiple for Surface Book 3 15, with 32GB of RAM being the most common choice. Surface Book 3 is aimed at software developers, creative "doers," social creators, architects, and engineers, and it seems to succeed in that regard with this refresh.

If you have any questions regarding Surface Book 3 15, leave them in comments, and I'll try to answer them in our review due next week.

Oh, and for those wondering, you cannot switch the tops of Surface Book 2 with Surface Book 3. Doing so causes it to get jammed on the base, and you'll have to do a manual release, which is not fun at all. Do not ever attempt this maneuver, as it won't work anyway (Microsoft seems to have reversed the magnets to avoid confusion when lining the two parts together, not that it stopped me from trying).

Two in one

Surface Book 3

Power on the go

The refreshed Surface Book 3 for 2020 gets new Intel 10th Gen processors, more powerful GTX graphics, and much better Wi-Fi, SSD, and RAM options making this one powerful 2-in-1 convertible PC.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.