Should you buy Surface Pro 6 with a Core i5 or Core i7 CPU?

Should you buy Surface Pro 6 with a Core i5 or Core i7 CPU?

Best answer: Most people will find that the Core i5 Surface Pro 6 offers the best overall package.Microsoft: Surface Pro 6 ($899)

The Core i5 model is still a powerful PC

For a starting price of $899 you'd certainly hope so, but the fact is that even the lowest priced Surface Pro 6 is a powerful PC. The 8th generation Intel Core i5 found inside is a quad-core processor with eight threads. The i5 model is also super quiet thanks to its fanless thermal solution.

Microsoft itself claims the Surface Pro 6 is over 67 percent faster than the previous model Surface Pro, which is no small feat. For the majority of users, the Core i5 version will be all the portable PC they need.

Core i7 use is more targeted to the professional crowd, for example, developers compiling code, or even folks looking to do creative work like video and photo editing on the move. If you want to do more gaming on the go, it's also a better option than the i5 (although still not the best option for portable gaming). It's also the noisier option, since the Core i7 has to have a fan. It's good the option is there for the crowd that needs it, but most really don't.

You'll save significant amounts of money

The Core i5 models start at $899, while the Core i7 models start at $1,499. Besides the processor, the only difference there is 256GB of storage in the Core i7 to 128GB in the entry Core i5.

But even matching the storage as well as the RAM, you'll be saving a full $300 over the Core i7 model. And that's a big saving, which the majority of people will be better off making than chasing a spec they probably don't need. Plus, with the Surface you need to spend extra on accessories, so now you'll have more room in that budget for something like a Surface Pen.

Ample power, no noise, better battery life

This year's Core i5 Surface Pro 6 is impressive in a number of ways, but the fact you're getting a fanless system with a quad-core Intel Core i5 CPU inside it is nothing short of remarkable.

For starters, there's now double the cores and threads available over previous dual-core models of Surface Pro. You're able to handle more demanding applications better, the system has more at its disposal and even if you're running things like Photoshop, you'll be just fine.

It's no gaming machine, for example, but it's plenty powerful enough, silent and will enjoy better battery life than the Core i7 model.

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at