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Surface Book 3 will never be the most powerful laptop you've ever seen — here's why

Microsoft Surface Book 2
Microsoft Surface Book 2 (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft recently revealed the new Surface Book 3, the first refresh since late 2017. The powerful 2-in-1 gets the latest Intel and NVIDIA silicon making it a more modern device with a reported 50 percent boost in performance. While the lack of design changes and features are unfortunate, others are lamenting that it "only" has a quad-core processor and is not something ... more.

I get it. I am sure Microsoft does, too. No, the Surface Book is not – and never will be – the most powerful laptop. It is, however, the most potent convertible because there is no other laptop like it. There is no other PC that has a detachable display that acts as a standalone tablet computer.

But because of this design, there are substantial limits on its capabilities.

I think what some people really want is not the Surface Book, but a mythical "Surface Laptop Pro."

The new Surface Book 3 uses an Intel Core i7-1065G7. That is a U-series chip (read: Ultrabook) that requires 15 watts of energy, although Microsoft can run it up to 25 watts of thermal design power (TDP). Many 13-inch laptops run that CPU model, but Microsoft is likely to get better performance due to the slightly higher TDP.

Intel has more powerful H-series chips like the Core i7-10750H. That is a 45-watt processor with six cores and twelve threads. There's also the beefier Core i7-10875H with eight cores and sixteen threads found in the new Razer Blade 15.

If U-series chips are four-cylinder car engines, then H-series are bigger V-8s and V-12s.

So, why doesn't Microsoft drop these mighty chips into the Surface Book 3? It seems so obvious!

The primary reason is just physics. Because the Surface Book 3 has a detachable display, the processor is behind the screen (along with the RAM, the SSD, and the motherboard). The fan and heat piping also must be a part of that along with a battery. That is a lot of stuff to put behind a touch display. It also limits how hot the processor can get, which is further constrained by the cooling system and desired fan noise.

Surface Book 3 Display Teadown

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

Notice how no other laptop does this.

For one, it is incredibly hard to engineer (and expensive to design). The other reason is it is simpler to put the processor in the base of the computer where there is physically more space for cooling, larger heat pipes, and bigger fans. The heat can also go higher as the risk to ruining the delicate display components is non-existent (excessive heat can damage the glue that binds the display layers together).

Surface Book 2 vs. Surface Book 3: Which is a better buy?

There are other reasons, too, why putting a 45-watt chip into the Surface Book 3 would be a bad idea (even if it were possible). It'd undoubtedly drive up the price, and the Surface Book 3's battery life would take a massive hit (especially for the tablet portion).

But what about AMD?

AMD's new Ryzen chips look outstanding, but if Microsoft wanted those in the Surface Book 3, it's not as simple as dropping in the chip. The entire board, wiring, battery, memory system, and Wi-Fi chipsets would all have to be redesigned, swapped out, and rebuilt for the Surface Book 3's chassis.

You can't just swap to an AMD chip, or use a 45-watt CPU in the Surface Book.

This design issue is a sticking point for AMD, who loathes when PC makers do base swaps with Intel-based laptops. AMD knows that to make the most of its chips, you need to design the computer from the ground-up for AMD Ryzen. AMD calls this "cooperative design," and it is part of its AMD Assured Program for working with manufacturers. The new AMD-based ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 is an example of this partnership.

It is undoubtedly feasible that for a Surface Book 4, which by current pacing would arrive sometime in 2022, could be built around an AMD Ryzen architecture to capitalize on its potential. That could happen.

And maybe Microsoft should have rebuilt the Surface Book 3 from scratch for 2020, but quite a few companies follow this "iterate once and let it ride for a few years" engineering style, including Dell and Apple. But Surface Books (like Surface Studio) are low-volume drivers and it may not make financial sense to re-engineer something just to keep tech nerds happy.

Either way, my point remains. You can't just swap out to an AMD system, and using a 45-watt chip (whether Intel or AMD) is currently not feasible with the design of the Surfaced Book.

The bottom line: You probably want a different laptop

Asus Rog Mothership Press

Source: ASUS (Image credit: Source: ASUS)

The Surface Book is, first and foremost, a convertible laptop PC. It is the only kind with a detachable display, and because of that decision, it has stringent design limitations compared to typical workstation laptops like the XPS 15 or Razer Blade 15.

We could debate about the usefulness of that detachable display, which is fair. Still, the fact is Surface Book 3's current hardware and design is likely maxed out (although NVIDIA GeForce RTX options would have been attractive).

This brings me to my final argument: I think what some people really want is not the Surface Book, but a mythical "Surface Laptop Pro." That device is one built from the ground up as a non-convertible laptop with a 45-watt processor and the most powerful graphics on the planet.

Microsoft has not made "Surface Laptop Pro", yet. Maybe it will. But until then, people need to stop trying to make the Surface Book something it is not. Just like you cannot shoehorn a V-12 engine into a Honda Civic without significant consequences, you cannot just slap in a 45-watt processor in the Surface Book either.

And if you do want a tablet PC with a massive, heat-inducing Core i9-9980HK and a desktop-class NVIDIA RTX 2080 GPU, well, it is already here. It is called the ASUS ROG Mothership. It weighs 10 pounds (4.5 kg) and it costs $6,500.

So, what's stopping you?

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

134 Comments
  • I feel this article will be a big "duh" for people who follow laptop hardware, but I was surprised about the amount of comments from people that think otherwise. I think it would be great for the Surface team to make a Laptop Pro at some point, one that really is just a juggernaut laptop akin to how Surface Laptop is to Ultrabook. On other hand, Dell's XPS 15, the Blade 15, Spectre x360 15, all fill that space nicely already. That said, people really need to realize the Surface Book isn't your kid's gaming rig, or a maxed-out workstation. It's kind of its own thing. And if you don't like that thing, that's understandable.
  • Agree. It is still powerful. And it has its niche it fits into. Sometimes I wished I got a Surface Book instead of a Pro for my hobbies. Its perfect for some people and not the best choice for others. Not everyone needs a van and not everyone needs a truck
  • This is a necessary article though. Many inevitably compare the SB2, 3 to the MacBook Pros - it is important to point out that they are just completely different categories fitting different needs. I am a big fan of the SB line, mainly because, as you pointed out, there's really nothing out there that is a true alternative. On the other hand, there are many straight up Pro laptop alternatives. So if MS is to go with only one, I'd rather they go for the Surface Book all day. The Surface Book is the only laptop I will ever consider buying these days, mainly because, I just don't use laptops - either on my Surface Pros 4 or 6 when on the go, or I'm on any of my desktop workstations proper. There's no room for 'just a laptop' in any of my use cases, it's kind of pointless to me now. If I'm on a proper desk, then I go all the way with my desktop. If I'm on the move, then the Surface Pro is good enough for on the move type tasks.
  • I guess Microsoft marketing probably is half the blame here shooting themselves on foot by mostly comparing this to MacBook Pro but not clearly stating only the 13 inch model which SB4 is comparable at. Also their marketing is simply too hyped that probably causing wrong expectations. Not me but certainly others as they are expecting "the ultimate laptop" means having the ultimate performance spec sheet, and not the whole package. Surface Book isn't even a 'pure' laptop either, it's a hybrid. Microsoft just doesn't have an answer yet to 16 inch MacBook Pros, and I think a Surface Laptop Pro that has 15 or 16 inch would solve this gap while retaining Surface Book as a high performance hybrid laptop. Personally I still prefer the Surface Book for factor as I am currently using. It ticks pretty much all the boxes I need for a laptop that can be a tablet with pen and high performance that can also game. It's not cheap, but there is nothing like it on the market, it would be nicer if there is from other OEM's that isn't a convertible flipping screen laptop, which is still bulky to be used as a tablet.
  • It's still a bummer. The Surface is a line of products developed around pen input. Microsoft is still the only game in town. That makes the Surface ideal for creatives. No business person or programmer needs a fully spec'd out SB3 at thirty-five hundred dollars. Who is a full maxed out SB3 for? Same issue with the Surface Studio. Any creative doing anything demanding like video or motion graphics isn't going to want the machine in 2020 over a Macbook Pro. They love the pen input but to not offer 64gb of RAM and a better processor with more cores in 2020 is crazy. Even crazier is not TB3. I own a SB1 Performance and SB2 15" fully maxed out and they don't cut it. The Dell machines and Blade 15 etc all have 16x9 screens which suck for creative work. The Blade and XPS and Spectre only offer 16gb of RAM and i7's. There isn't a single PC laptop on the market that even comes close to offering what the Macbook does at this point. That's insane. This shouldn't be that hard. And this has been true for 2 cycles. The last MBP offered specs that were better. Why can't PC laptop makers make a laptop with a high core Ryzen or Intel chip, TB3, 3:2 screen, 64gb RAM, and a dGPU? And for MS...pen input. I'd pay four thousand for it. You could sell me a Surface monitor for another two to three thousand. Microsoft already has an underpowered laptop that makes no sense: The Surface Laptop. I owed one when work accidentally bought me that instead of the SB2. There are much better ultrabooks and the touchscreen is impossible to use with a pen so what is the point of it being a Surface product other than piggybacking off the name? The SB3 is a huge miss. Maybe no one should have expected Microsoft to deliver a really fast laptop with bleeding edge specs but as someone who's bought every Surface that's been released I think I'm done with the brand until MS gets its act together and specs a thirty five hundred dolllar computer with components that make sense. Also, the detachable screen could easily be thicker and simply fold over or rotate rather than detach if they need to be able to use the base to house components or think they can't make the screen thicker. The SB3 is a meh improvement over the SB2. What the heck is Mircosoft doing with this line and who is is for at the high end? Yuppies with too much money.
  • "the detachable screen could easily be thicker"
    Can it, though? There is already a bit of wobble with the Book's display, something that would only be worse if it is thicker/heavier. We know from teardowns there is a lot of dead space in the tablet area, which they could fill with battery. But it must be light still because of that wobble concern, especially on the 15-inch.
  • Filling in the dead space with battery would greatly increase the battery bloating problem, because li-ion batteries don't like prolonged heat.
  • While one of original idea behind the Surface line was the pen input, that is not what users used Surfaces for and Microsoft has mostly backed out by not bundling the pen if I am right with anything but the Surface Studio.
  • Pretty much, although, ironically, the Surface Book 3 in some locations (including UK) are offering a free Surface Pen (black) this time. But yeah, dropping the included pen also allowed them to lower the price/sink that cost back into the product.
  • True, though it just felt like odd considering Surface devices except for Laptop is designed to have Pen. Surface devices is actually the one consistently pushing Windows Ink feature, yet Pen are not bundled to the package. Maybe that's just me since I really like having good pen input on a touchscreen device. For me, no pen on touchscreen, no buy.
  • Doesn't seem like they did. They raised the prices (only lowering them after dropping Surface down to W10H and), raised the pen prices, and slowed to a deathly crawl on design progress. They barely changed the chassis on anything from SB1 to SB3, same for SP5-SP7. The pen argument is the same as the Kinect issue--Microsoft marketed it for about 10 seconds, took the accessory out of the package (though at least the Kinect removal led to a cost savings), and made a self-fulfilling prophecy of consumer disinterest. They forced the pen out of people's minds by taking it from an awesome inclusion to an expensive, niche accessory (compounded by raising it from $50 to $100 when they unbundled it with SP5) Most people don't discover or use it because Microsoft made it expensive and inconvenient to do so.
  • Or, many people just don't want/need to use a pen. Microsoft had data on who was using the pen and it turns out, it wasn't the majority, which is what drove them to drop it as being included. Apple doesn't include the Pencil either. I find all of this "include the pen!" stuff dubious. If they include it they're going to jack up the cost, plain and simple. And for what? So some people might use it? Pass.
  • it's more about the fact that previous models were cheaper, yet came with a pen.
    now the new ones don't come with a pen but are still quite more expensive.
    even if they'd just taken out the pen to maintain price parity that would have been better.
  • prices definitely raised a lot.
    original base SB including pen, windows pro and complete care was about 1500
    now base SB3 with no pen, and just windows home starts at 1600... complete care tacks on another $250!
  • You're only looking it from the perspective of video or motion graphics. What about companies that use stuff like Photoshop ? The SB3 is very good for that; pen support, studio mode for longer drawing sessions and tablet for shorter drawing sessions, good big screen, good enough cpu & gpu, very good battery life when docked.
    If all you care about is performance and tbolt than there are lots of alternatives for lower prices. Even if you want one with a pen there is the Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel (i am surprised Daniel not mentioning this one). The only downside I can think of is the 16:9 panel, but at the same time is that really such an issue on a 15 inch panel? Especially compared to 16:10 the difference is not that big.
  • I don't see what the issue is at all, If I fully spec out a MacBook Pro, it's going to be as much as the SB3. The CPU is better, but the GPU is worst, yet creatives seem to have no problem with MBPs, why would they been hindered by SB3? I've seen real world examples, they aren't. As far as why OEMs don't make X with X. I agree with you on Ryzen, but the SB3 is pushed for the enterprise space, and for the enterprise case, the fact is, Ryzen isn't there yet. It doesn't have an equivalent (yet), like VPro, and all of the specific IT security hardware specific security capability that the Intel chips have. That's why for the Surface Laptops, the business skus listed models are with Intel chips. As far as surface laptops being "useless".....for who? In my environment we were all issues SP laptops and they run great. Again, going to apple, Nobody seems to complain about Macbooks, so why are SLs any different? dGPU? all of the SB3 models have a dGPU now. TB3? I've said this in numerous threads here, but it's a feature that isn't justified in cost use, and the impact it has on security. Everybody keeps bringing up "EGPUs", first of all, EGPUs have been a thing for almost a decade. Alienware started that trend, it never took off. Razer, MSI, and other have been offering EGPU's with their products for years, and they never took off. Why? because it makes no sense. The enclosure, usually goes for 300-500, BEFORE I buy the GPU. Usually people who want one, are looking at a mid-high , to high range GPU to do their gaming...ok that's 450-500 bucks, in addition to the 1500 you probably already spent on the laptop. You could have simply bought 2 cheap computers. a 1000 ultrabook , and a 1200 gaming desktop that could UTTERLY smoke your egpu setup because there's no bottleneck, and for what? so you can nerd out about having TB3? USB 4 is a year away tops, and that equals TB3 in spead, MS is better off waiting for that, because it's not proprietary, and will be probably be more secure. It's a decent improvement for what it is, and it will sell
  • "There isn't a single PC laptop on the market that even comes close to offering what the Macbook does at this point." You are so wrong. Let me give you one example in the consumer area...
    Alienware Area 51-M with i9-9900k, NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 2080 8 GB GDDR6, 64GB,2+1 TB ssd/sshd (you can have 4hdd's). If you want to stick to Dell but now for serious work you could opt for the the Precision 7740 Mobile Workstation with Intel XeonE2286m. Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000 w/16GB GDDR6, 128gb 2666Mhz DDR4 ECC, M.2 2tb NVMe ssd +3 additional HDDs and you can even further beef it up.
  • Does the Area 51 have a detachable screen? No
    Is it Touch Screen? No
    Does it have the same color accuracy?
    No?
    As light? No
    Equal battery life?
    No
    Pen Support? No
    Windows Hello? No
    As thin? No
    Camera Front and back? No Basically all you did was vomit specs without any of the features or reasons why people buy an SB, thus proving Daniel's point
  • Except he was comparing the Area 51 to a MacBook Pro, not the SB.
  • For sure you can read in contradiction to RagingTyga :-)
  • Did you actually read the quote I was responding to? It starts and ends with " So I was responding to the MBP fan. There is no need to use the word "vomit" in a decent conversation imho.
  • I think a lot of people just see how "big" (which is obviously quite relative) the Surface Book 3 is and assume that there's plenty of space for all these things, completely forgetting that, as you pointed out, nearly all of it has to fit and function in just the screen portion of the device and not in the larger base portion.
  • "Dell's XPS 15, the Blade 15, Spectre x360 15, all fill that space nicely already" But I believe all of those devices currently have a 16:9 screen. For me personally, 16:10 is the shortest aspect ratio I would want in a laptop display with 3:2 being the ideal ratio. However, leaked photos of the new XPS 15 seem to indicate a new 16:10 display with smaller bezels. Either way, I would still want Microsoft to create a Surface Laptop Pro. Off-topic question: With all the rumors of Apple moving to ARM, do you think we might see a Surface Laptop X in the future? Perhaps running Windows 10 X.
  • Yeah, it seems most people just didn't get what Surface Book really is and why it exist and who is it for. Many seems pushing the idea that Surface Book should be just a normal workstation laptop, which is more practical for most but also losing the market it only serve. I am one of them since this laptop pretty much is my dream. Yes I would be lying not wanting extra cores. But we have to be step back and be realistic. I think AMD 4000 and it's future iterations maybe the answer to have more powerful internals yet still more efficient for Surface Book. But this was only rather recently been introduced, and SB3 is likely been finalised before that. So hardware redesign is needed. On the other hand, it can be a good thing that redesign didn't happen to SB3, since it's better they redesign the hardware to be optimised with new AMD chips. If they have done it now, they likely we will get the Laptop 3 disappointing AMD variant. I think if they release a Surface Laptop Pro, a 15 or 16 inch laptop. Then people will stop expecting Surface Book to be a top-spec performance laptop. I guess that people asking for highest-spec we can have today on Surface Book are likely don't even care about its Pen and tablet functionality.
  • I would buy a “Surface Book Pro” in a heartbeat. A powerful 2-in-1 that doesn’t have that stupid detachable screen? That’s a no-brainer. I seriously don’t know what Microsoft is thinking.
  • it should be a 2-in-1 fold over
  • MSFT does not need or want to be all things to all people. Surface is a premium device meant to satisfy a niche market (10% of the market) at a high enough price to justify the low ROE. Azure has a gross profit margin of 65%. MSFT is lucky to get 10% on surface sales. But Surface is primarily a R&D effort, not a profit center.
  • Car guy here, using the Miura as an example is definitely a bad choice as the car is almost 60 years old. You can say an Aventador. Nit picking.
  • lol, fair, I took that out anyway as I didn't like how it fit.
  • I've said this a few times, and I'll say it again: as far as hardware goes, Xbox should be for gamers what Surface is for prosumers. That is, they really should think about releasing premium designed (and priced) Xbox-branded gaming laptops down the line. Full Windows 10, with maybe an optional special Cshell for gaming mode. Surface Book isn't, and will never be, a Microsoft laptop aimed for gamers.
  • Surface was designed for pen input. That's the cool thing about the Surface and what makes it stand out. No programmer needs a $3500 SB3. It should be a creative powerhouse. It's such a shame that MS didn't get something with more cores and finally offer 64gb of RAM.
  • That is not only thing what makes it stand out, your forgetting the 3:2 screen (very nice for programmers), long battery life, good video card (for game programmers / designers) etc.
  • "Surface was designed for pen input." Yet the abomination that is the SL3 exists to stab that design to death.
  • @Tales Normando Has MS ever claimed the SB is suitable for gamers?
  • No, but this article is about pointing out that people should stop trying to make Surface Book into what it's not.
  • To be fair, this article also spend most of its time being a strawman to dismiss the actual criticisms of the SB3. Maybe some leolme are wanting a gaming laptop out of it but that is NOT the primary criticism. Instead, it's the complete negligence in chassis improvement, refusal to adopt AMD (which offers objectively better chips), and the fact that a two-year hardware cycle has led to less progress than most OEMs produce in one. Peolle weren't clamoring for SB3 to be a gaming device. They were wanting AMD options like the SL3. They were wanting a bigger track pad. They were wanting design that showed progress between 2017 and 2020. Microsoft took a 2017 laptop and threw the smallest hardware improvements in that they could get away with, similar to how they disappointed with the second-Gen Studio and the SP6-7.
  • I literally address AMD and the lack of chassis design as disappointments (and no RTX). I even mention that in the announcement article. There was no strawman, but I question your reading skills.
  • Keith Wallace, you are a loser. Stop being a loser.
  • They would shrink their market by branding it a Xbox gaming laptop. Plus people would buy it thinking it plays Xbox games, which it won't. If they create a Surface Laptop Pro with a gaming GPU, they will attract both gamers and people who need more power for their tasks.
  • @MrContinuum Nonsense, if such message was problematic they wouldn't name their PC gaming subscription service Xbox Game Pass for PC. Furthermore, the needs of hardcore gamers are far different than the needs of prosumers, mechanical keyboards being a prime example.
  • Surface Book series is a niche product line for a specific market. Microsoft makes decisions based on market research and customer feedback. It's for people who need to use professional GPU intensive software that needs the Surface Pen on the go. Anyone who uses it for otherwise is just fan of the product/company or bought the wrong laptop. If you compare it to MacBook Pro, you need to look into XPS 15. They are great.
  • Mostly yes but not always, the 3:2 screen + nice keyboard/touchpad + long battery life for example can be a good reason to choose for the SB. Or purely the ability to detach the screen to mark eg pdf's or such.
  • I really liked the last line. Sums it up nicely.
  • You're just being baited by hyperbolic nonsense. People weren't looking for the SB3 to compete with an ASUS Mother ship, he's being ridiculous. They want the SB3 to be a worthy upgrade from the SP7. They want it to be a top-tier 2-in-1. I want something that's like a detachable competitor to the Yoga line...like a Yoga mixed with a SB2.
  • "They want the SB3 to be a worthy upgrade from the SP7. "
    ??? The Book's CPU will beat the Surface Pro 7 just on thermals, and the GPU will crush the SP7. What are you even talking about?
    "They want it to be a top-tier 2-in-1. "
    Name a better one?
    "I want something that's like a detachable competitor to the Yoga line...like a Yoga mixed with a SB2."
    Cool, I want a gold laptop. I fail to see how MS not making the laptop YOU want reflects poorly on them. Last I checked, It's MS Surface, not "MS Surface for Keith Wallace". Also, Yoga? The best Lenovo has is Yoga C940 15-inch. It has a more powerful CPU and a weaker GPU (GTX 1650, not a 1660 Ti) with a 16:9 display and a max of 16GB of RAM (not 32GB). It's a great laptop, but let's not act like it would destroy a Surface Book 3 15. ..and what 13-inch convertible 2-in-1 has a GTX 1650 GPU in it? There aren't any. Go, go find one. And good luck finding a 13-inch with a discrete GPU that gets 9-11 hours of real world usage. It won't be the Blade Stealth, that's for sure.
  • This!
    I keep telling people... pound for pound, the SB3 is the fastest 2in1 out there. And as for the 13 inch form factor... nothing compares. Nothing even exists at that size that has inking and also a discrete GPU like the 1650 in it. And guess what, pop the top off and you've got a svelte 1.6lb tablet instead of a hulking 2in1.... you just can't compare it to anything else.
  • Thank you for this article. It's always good to help people understand that computers aren't just magic boxes, and there is a lot of physics that must be taken into account when designing something.
  • A lot of people are caught up in the antiquated "Spec War" every time a laptop comes out. Those are usually the people who also: - Say its too expensive
    - Were never going to buy it anyways Saying the style hasn't changed yet the MacBook Pro and other devices haven't had a major change in almost 5 years is not really necessary until processors get more efficient. This is a really unique device giving you a 13.5 or 15" tablet with a fully working laptop.
  • The MacBook has actually made attempts to add things and move forward though. They've got TB3 ports and have at least tried new things like the controversial TouchBar. I would like to see them add a touchscreen, but you're being a bit blind if you say the MacBook line hasn't tried to do different things.
  • All incremental changes though, nothing radical. Eg Touchbar vs extra half second screen of Asus Zenbook / rog zephyrus. Apple likes to play it safe and while it does from now and than add something to move things forward, it is almost always after other brands have already tried and tested it (eg active pen, hinge/stand, notch, placing 4 thunderbolts instead of 2 etc).
  • I learned this the hard way using a first gen Surface Go as my daily driver until it got to the point that the weak dual-core CPU was seriously holding me back in my work. Although it only happened about 10% of the time, it was enough to make me realize that no matter how hard I think otherwise, the Surface Go is NOT a powerhouse PC replacement, which prompted me (especially during quarantine where I can't even travel anyways) to pick up my old HP Envy x360, which definitely suits my needs. I sort of deluded myself into thinking the Surface Go can be that laptop replacement it never turned out to be.
  • The Go2 m/y version changes that a bit though, still not a powerhouse but can be snappy for standard workflows.
  • Problem is, the m3 Go costs about as much as an i3 SP7.
  • ...and that i3 SP7 has 4GB of RAM. To get 8GB you must spend $220 more to get the i5 model. It'd be a "problem" if the prices overlapped, not when there is a clear minimum $70 difference.
  • The Surface Go was never meant to be the primary device, it is a secondary one. I am a Mac user, but I really love my Go and use it almost everyday.
  • Ironic that you're talking about a Surface with a weak CPU in an article trying to defend the SB3's weak CPU.
  • Stills disappointed that AMD isn't in there, they used the objectively worse 3rd gen on the Laptop 3 15" but didn't used the objectively better 4th gen ryzen on the Book 3, I mean the 35w R9 4900HS decimates every H and HK series CPU, a 25w R7 4800U should be about the same as an i9 10980H.
  • Nothing objective about the Ryzen 4000 U-series until they let reviewers review them ;) Been waiting for many months. Sure, there is a lot of hope/expectations there, but I'm not willing to say they are objectively better than Intel across-the-board just b/c AMD's pressers say that. There's also a more boring issue which is businesses prefer Intel still for management, over AMD. That's why there's an Intel 15-inch Laptop, after all.
  • Correct, you're talking about Vpro, and the IT security capabilities that are centered around the Intel chips
  • Interesting, you'll not accept Renoir as objectively better without reviews as an excuse to not use the chips but this site is totally fine talking up the Series X as having objectively better hardware than the PS5 6-9 months before they launch. These things have been benched across several laptops by now. Microsoft is using Zen 2 and know what it can do in Xbox.
  • I'm glad you find it interesting. My point stands. CPUs are a lot more than just benchmarks. It's about things like instant on, heat, memory compatibility, network cards, and battery life, e.g. from AnandTech:
    "That performance does come at a cost though, and that is heat. The Acer Swift 3 could not keep up with the demands of the Renoir APU at full blast, and there was significant throttling when running at the Best Performance level in Windows 10. That is disappointing, because it prevents this notebook from being able to get the most out of the APU inside. If you were hoping to use the integrated Vega graphics for light gaming, be aware that you may run into heat issues."
    I praised AMD quite a bit lately including in this article. Let's not pretend I'm hating them at all. But I do find the AMD fanboi contingent irritating and hyperbolic.
  • Because it has objectively better hardware. The PS5 literally has a weaker AMD SoC. Why are you determined to be so dumb?
  • I think people have forgotten the Surface original reason for being. To show hardware manufacturers how to make a fast (not the fastest mind you) elegant device that consumers want that isn’t named Apple. It was meant to be...see we did it now you follow our example and be better. Because if you recall their partners were pissed that Microsoft would do such a thing.
  • Seems Microsoft forgot as well. They're not showing off new things or being innovative whatsoever. Putting Ryzen 4000 in these things would be showing the OEMs what can be done...but they didn't. Surface is more PC Mac than a leader in design anymore. They're clearly coasting on past praise and just selling devices at a premium with minimal improvements. They've been incrementally crawling forward for, like, 5 years.
  • "Putting Ryzen 4000 in these things would be showing the OEMs what can be done...but they didn't."
    What makes you think they didn't try it? There were reports of Surface Book 3 with Ryzen 4000 for awhile. Did you ever thing that just maybe it had issues? Maybe driver or heat problems? New platforms have teething problems, see Skylake. I get how AMD fans think everything is a conspiracy against them, but sometimes engineers decide what works best. But I do love how you think the Surface team could have just dropped in AMD, made this laptop "killer", but they opted against that, because they wanted their product to be...not as good. Yeah, that's a great explanation.
  • How many people comment on this page truly work in an R&D environment? MSFT would love to have Intel make a CISC chip that has the power efficacy of a RISC chip. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. Intel chips are getting more power efficient. AMD chips are getting more powerful. As it stands now, you get a powerful Intel laptop with maybe 10 hours of life or you get a 20 hour Apple iPad. The iPad is great as a mobile platform (really hard to beat but I hate iOS). But the Surface gives you the power to get through the day. When the USS Enterprise heads for the closest solar system, computers will be something miraculous. Now if we could comment on PC Magazine articles from the 80s, what would be the tone? In 1987, the lab I worked at was switching to Sun Spark Workstations. I took a leave of absence to work on my graduate degree. I visited about 9 months later. What did I discover? Lunch time was filled by engineers using MSFT Flight Software on the networked workstations to dog fight. Think of that. In 1987, engineers spent their lunch break using the first FPS software. Of Course these were $15K machines. The first car I bought in 1986 was $14K-a Honda Prelude (a great car I drove for 10 years until my wife got side swiped at 65 mph by a truck and spun around across three lanes of traffic on I85 southbound during rush hour-the car had minor damage and she was A-Okay-but she refused to drive her new Miata anymore). Life is good. Why do people argue about something that is not going to happen because physics says it can not happen? Does anyone learn anything in school anymore?
  • It's almost like you don't know how to read or form a coherent argument.
  • I have a Surface Book 2 15". Lovely machine. I understand exactly what this article is saying. However, on one level it is a bit "blame the victim" in tone. Part of the confusion is that Panos has been in the habit of saying things like the Surface Book is twice as fast as the MacBook Pro - machines that use the higher wattage processors.
  • That's true, although it gets confusing too as MBP in the past tended to use last-gen CPUs, which did put them at a disadvantage. That and NVIDIA GPUs tend to be more powerful, but again, that becomes a wash when doing something like editing in Final Cut, which is so optimized vs. Premiere on PC.
  • I think only MacBook Pro 13 is comparable to Surface Book, but they can be config higher than SB if I remember correctly. But MacBook Pro 16 (even the older 15) to Surface Book 15, then there will be a clear difference. I think Microsoft has to stop vaguely comparing this to MacBook Pro without a clear comparison which specific variant. It gives wrong impression and exoectation to people, even just subconsciously. Just better focus on how it's unique feature benefits the target user and improve their life than making vague comparisons. MacBooks are just pure laptops while Surface Books are hybrid laptops.
  • The MacBook Pro does come in configurations where it's the same CPU as the MacBook Pro (quad core 15W). So for those configurations, the SB line is more powerful because they come with Nvidia graphics. However, where the MBP starts off with the same CPU as the SB, they have the 45W variants too which are more powerful. Though MBP is still stuck with bad AMD graphics. All this would be solved if Microsoft created a Pro version of the Surface Laptop with the new AMD chips or the Intel 45W chips. I think the SB line should be for people that want the versatility of the SB. Though I think if they came with a hard keyboard base for the Surface Pro, they can do away with the SB line. Have the SP line with optional keyboard base and the Surface Laptop line for ultrabook to power laptop line.
  • Agree that the Surface Book detachable is a great form factor. But I'm personally not so concerned with super power in a tablet-esque detachable device. What I'd really rather see is a 10.5 inch (or 12 inch) version of Surface Book. I'd be perfectly happy with a 10th gen i3 in it (low end) or a 10th i5 (high end). My issue with Surface Go and even Surface Pro has always been that the kickstand form factor feels kind of precarious while situated on my lap. A 10.5 inch SB would fix that. It'd be the ultimate portable as far as I'm concerned. A true Surface "Book". What'd be even better is a built in pen garage, LTE, that comes in all 4 Surface colors, Platinum, Black, Ice Blue, and Poppy Red. Now that's a device I'd take with me absolutely everywhere.
  • Huh, interesting idea. Never thought about a mini Surface Book. That would be kind of wild. Expensive, but it would fill a unique niche in mobile computing!
  • I like my Go. Wont buy the Go 2 because My Surface Pro (5) is old. For some reason Outlook is busted. I have done everything to get it to work. But Outlook works on my Go. Works on my OnePlus. Works on my 10 year old PC. But not on my Surface Pro Went to the mall (Lenox in Atlanta). It is now open. But Apple store and Microsoft store are closed. Hoping to pick up a i5/256 w/o the type cover. Headed to the beach soon and wanted to switch over when I can get away from work. I WOULD RATHER pull off the light keyboard and read my book or take notes than deal with the battery in the keypad. If I am sitting in a conference room with my CFO taking notes, I don't want to deal with the battery issue. The Go is maybe 5 hours. If I use a mini Surface Book and pull off the big battery, it must ruin the user experience of the tablet. This comment was typed on my Go. I prefer a bigger keyboard.
  • love that concept! I'd be in day one if they released it. How about it Dan? Keen to peddle it to your contacts?!
  • Please add me to list of people who would buy day one, even at $$$. I want the size of Go, and need the power of Pro. I want some something that I use like a Kindle when I need to read some tech resource, dock up to monitor and keyboard at a client to do light-weight Dev, and then take notes w/pen at a prospective client.
  • Get a Brydge Keyboard for the Surface Pro. I had a Surface Pro 3 laying around and needed an extra "laptop." Added a Brydge KB and it works like a charm.
  • I don't know how good it is for their business but what if Microsoft merge surface pro & surface book concept ? It will require lots of effort & design changes in packing as much battery & ports inside clipboard as there is in surface pro & at the same time maintaining weight balance similar to clipboard. Alongside type cover offer Optional Fulcrum hinge keyboard to those who want more lapability & battery life. also option of external gpu.
    Some design alteration in kickstand so that it doesn't fiddle with keyboard base.
  • Second this. (though I suspect they are or have experimented with this) business wise I think it would be smart cause people will probably buy multiple keyboard docks/covers.
  • Well they can have like Surface Pro as a base computer and optional Surface Book base with GPU. This will essentially combine the two product line up. Then just release a Surface Laptop Pro 15/16 as their flagship pure laptop workstation.
  • Processor is not the killer for me. Lack of Thunderbolt on any Surface product is killer. And yes I know their "reason" for it but I find that a paper thin excuse.
    I'd rather have a Surface product for my work laptop but here I am on my Dell XPS 15 simply because it has thunderbolt.
  • Out of curiosity, what do you hook up to that TB port?
  • multiple displays. For work I like to have up to 4 monitors running 2-4k.
  • This...so much...this
  • I think it all comes down to Microsoft's strategy for Surface Book. In my opinion, Microsoft wants to take on MacBook Pro with this line. And to do that, making it "the most powerful" laptop with bulky base won't achieve that. Having a form factor MacBook Pro can't have is the key here. Touch detacheable screen that you can flip and push down so you can write/draw on it makes MacBook Pro looks dull. Thats the key selling point. Specs do not need to be the most powerful. I do not think this article is wrong. I just think it should address a "missing" model (i.e. laptop with super top performance) in the Surface family, instead of taking it on the Surface Book as if the product was designed awfully. I think SB is a great product.
  • Microsoft DID have the advantage against MBP for a few years, but your right, in 2020 it's not truly clear that still exists.
  • As a Microsoft developer that loves surface products, I'd say this is a branding issue. Panos always compares the Surface Book to the MacBook Pro. So no matter what else is said afterwards the expectation is that it will have capabilities that match up favorably to said Apple computer across the spec sheet. There's also the issue of the price which matches up right along with the MacBook Pro as well. It doesn't take long for people looking to buy the PC version of the MacBook Pro, that Microsoft has soft sold them on from their Public facing presentations, to start looking at the spec sheet. When that happens confusion ensues. They should build a convertible (with all the V8/V12 components in the base) to go along with the Detachable Screen version, call that PC the Surface Book Pro and feed the beasts that clearly are willing to pay for the extra umph. Market the Pro to Videographers, XBOX PC Gamers and Spec chasers and the Surface Book to everyone else with a $100 price cut. This shouldn't anger Dell and HP to much because the premium associated with the convertible would still make their high end PCs look like a deal. Problem solved. But the truth is that Microsoft likes those Margins. The average consumer and businesses don't really care that these aren't the Ferraris of the PC world. But the fan boys don't like knowing they are outgunned at their local coffee shop while surrounded by a sea of MackBook Pro Apple computers . And who can blame them when those same MackBook Pro owners snicker, knowing that Surface Book owners paid $2300 for a great developer machine that's happens to also be pretty decent at photo editing and signing law office documents but no match for the video-centric world we live in today.
  • "They should build a convertible (with all the V8/V12 components in the base) to go along with the Detachable Screen version, call that PC the Surface Book Pro", this is the way
  • This is a fantastic article. Talking about people wanting mythical things... I think people want a mythical operating system. One that the Surface Book could use to its full Hardware potential. An operating system that has amazing tablet capability to make its uniqueness and ingenuity something that helps us be more productive and have fun doing so. I own the Surface Book 2. I really like the device, but frankly I wished I had gotten a regular laptop. I'm hoping Windows 10X may eventually be allowed to be installed on this Surface Book 2.
  • I personally had a small hope that they would turn the Surface Book line-up into their Macbook Pro. But I'm assuming Microsoft sees a market for the 2-in-1 Surface Book. Plus, they probably wouldn't want to confuse people with two different form factors in the same series.
  • Great article and I think the comments on this have been really thoughtful. Way to go WC Community! Personally, I have always been drawn to the pen input, but as someone that isn't artistic, I feel like the only use cases I've found compelling are taking notes as I read a book and signing legal documents. Other things like whiteboarding just don't seem to have the ecosystem for collaboration... Though, maybe that's just my experience. I have been pleased with my SB2, but I don't use the setschavle/reversible feature enough to make me want to jump to get an SB3. I keep thinking that my future is likely to be more SStudio3, a Neo, and maybe a Laptop... But, I've still got some miles to burn on my SB2.
  • They should build a model with a powerful CPU in the base and an ARM processors in the tablet portion. People complaining is probably misplaced, but it also reflects a genuine desire from people to have a Surface device that beats the Macbook Pro. Surface Book was that for a time but tech has caught up and is moving past it due to newer and better CPUs that SB can't take advantage of.
  • That sounds like it would require dual boot.
  • Because it's not an Asus Mothership.
  • Why not put the more powerful processor and GPU people seem to want in the Performance base, and allow the tablet portion to be as powerful as it makes sense to be, but make the performance base deliver the ultimate performance people want when they want it. Best of both worlds. It would add to cost, but if you make it a-la-carte, people could buy it if/when they could justify it. It really feels like a no brainer with this design. They've even done it in the past, already.
  • I think they can do this with AMD because AMD has better pricing. AMD has finally become good in CPU/GPU. Big Ryzen fan. Intel has been stagnant for far too long. They let AMD catch up and pass. And this time, they can't corner the market through anti-competitive contracts, rebates, etc.
  • I own a Surface Book (13"), and Surface Book 2 (15"). Both have 2 MAJOR design flaws that have not been addressed:
    1) the lack of a Thunderbolt port, specifically for game /VR/AR developers. If you are going to improve the graphics card and jack the RAM to 32GB, why not add Thunderbolt to allow it to connect to systems like the Vive.
    2) SD Card slot should be on the tablet and not on the keyboard. This presents a problem for graphic designers who have content on the SD card and want to use the tablet/pen interface.
    P.S: I also own a Surface Go and an SP7
    I am a huge fan of this product category. But I'll pass on the SB3
  • 1. Security
    2. That would just be adding even more to the tablet part.
  • 1) So my Dell XPS 15 is less secure?
    2) My Surface Pro 7 (slot) includes an SD card slot
    3) My Surface Go (tablet) includes both an SD card slot and a SIM card slot
    Try again.
  • I'm a Surface Pro 7 owner and I agree it's a better design than the SB because everything is on the tablet portion. But TB is less secure because it gives the device direct access to the memory bus. Which means if a person can get access to your PC and plug in a device by TB, they can access everything. The only reason Apple can get away with it is because they have a custom security chip. No PC has that security chip.
  • We have to stop explaining away Microsoft's Suspicious decision making! as lovers of microsoft it is better that we let them know when they fall short, they are falling short!! way short!
  • Man, this article swing and misses HARD. It's a silly excuse to deflect from what a lazy job the SB3 is. It's 2020. AMD isn't new to competitive mobile chips any longer. Microsoft has an AMD-powered SL3 out now. They weren't blindsided by Ryzen for the SB3, they're just not bothering to put forth resources to make an overpriced niche decide competitive. They could do it if they had any ambition to be a market leader of any kind, rather than having Apple-like complacency without the consistent polish to justify it. This leads to the power/thermal excuse. The Ice Lake chips inside are 15W, fine. I don't think I've seen any serious cry for H-series stuff at 45W. This is a serioslusnstrawman. AMD has multiple 6- and 8-core options at 15W, but Microsoft won't put forth the effort to use them. A parallel was drawn between AMD and 45W in the article that is either sloppy wording or ignorance of the Ryzen offerings. All of these excuses are just confounding. Yeah, Dell is still riding out Intel, to an extent. Dell is also putting AMD in some of their stuff, as is every mainstream PC OEM (I wouldn't be surprised to see the super-niche Razer Blade's next iteration offer it as well. When ASUS is showing up with 5-10 Ryzen laptops, "other OEMSs use Intel" isn't an excuse. Lastly, the "Surface Book is niche" argument. This just blatantly dances around reality. OK, SB is niche...why isn't there a Surface Pro with AMD inside? It's not niche. If being niche is a problem for SB3, then why was Microsoft up for making an AMD version of the SL3? It isn't like they JUST did it for the SL3 line as a whole either, they went super-niche and did it for one model of the SL3. How is that niche offering suitable, but the SB3 (arguably more suited to the efficiency proposition of Ryzen 4000) isn't worth the engineering? It's a device that probably has an average selling price over $2K USD/unit...surely a little board engineering could be put to use for high-end parts? If they could redesign for Ice Lake in 2 years, why not Ryzen 4000, which probably had most of its specs planned and readied sooner than Ice Lake (given the Zen 2 product line Ryzen 4000 comes from is bearing a year old, unlike Ice Lake). Oh, and don't forget MS has been working on designing hardware and boards around Zen 2 for some time now with Xbox, so they had the resources and knowledge...just not the willingness to try. Again, this really just reads like trying to deflect from the biggest complaint from consumers: SB3 basically does nothing. It's got one of the highest starting prices on the market, yet they barely did anything in a 2-year window. They didnt improve ports. The track pad is still small for the chassis. The price is still super-high. They didn't bring in Thunderbolt (whose alleged security issues were patched in W10 already, so that lame excuse is DoA). The chassis as a whole is a lazy work of recycling. I didn't even bother looking...does $1,600+ even get you W10 Pro, or is that a separate purchase? Come on, let's not act like Microsoft is a little guy who couldn't afford basic R&D and like the SB3 was at all expected to be a pro gamer laptop. The lack of AMD is sad, but the really dumb thing is how they took 2 years to toss out such an uninspired refresh. Suggesting it's worthwhile to wait for a 2022 AMD SB3 is comical. Oh, you mean Microsoft might adopt leading technology SIX YEARS after the competition? Awesome.
  • I disagree and stand by what I wrote. And enough with the AMD posturing. Such victimhood. Ryzen was baaad in laptops, especially Ultrabooks, up until about a week ago. Ryzen 3000 was fine...for $650 laptops. And you're going off about trackpads, ports, the price, and yet this entire article addressed one thing: 45-watt chips. That's it. That's all it was talking about. Why Surface Book doesn't use 45-watt processors. This wasn't a review of the Surface Book 3, so go copy/paste and save this for later, where it might be on topic and relevant.
  • It wasn't a review of the Surface Book 3, but it WAS an excuse for what the Surface Book 3 is not. The thunderbolt security excuse is lame. Like he said MS had 2 full years to address it. You don't call ANYTHING a "performance" base, if it does not include a performance bus like thunderbolt. It is a DUD!
  • I have to disagree with you there Daniel. The ONLY THING that has changed with AMD, is the they have CPUs that can out perform Intels, even on the high end. However they have always crushed intel in her GPU, and APUs were more efficient then Intel parings with Nvidia chips. This was before the Zen architecture. AMD has also won litigation that proved benchmark softwares were being designed around Intel architecture, giving it an edge. The fact is, the market perceives AMD as a "Value brand" thus, it continues to produce products in that fashion even though AMD offers higher end parts.
    How many Ryzen A10 apu configured laptops do you see? How many Ryzen 9 laptops do you see? Yes there's other factors, like the fact AMD is a fraction of the size of Intel, therefore they can't flood the market with chips and chipsets like Intel does, along with lack of partners and supply chain relationships, but the "Because their chips aren't good" argument has been false for over s decade now
  • the new Ryzens are amazing. they just didn't come out in time to fit the SB development timeline. I suspect they will be in the next iteration.
  • You didn't refute anything, you just put your technological ignorance on display.
  • There are several articles out there that show with these detachable tablet computers, don't handle heat well. benchmark tests between the i5 and i7 show increased thermal throttling in the i7 making the sustained performance actually worse in the i7 than in the i5. This was particularly evident in HP's elite x2 G3.
  • You're right of course but are missing the point. No one wants a 13.5" tablet and they certainly don't want a 15" tablet. There's no market for it. Surface Books are solely used as laptops. Picked because people want a powerful Microsoft branded laptop. There was a market for a 15" Surface Book laptop though and that's why the Surface Book is now in a 15" version too. Other reviewers are right the Surface Book should be redesigned as a 2-in-1. It wouldn't be as sexy but it would be more useful. Surface Pro X is an excellent tablet but it's considerably thinner and no 15" version exists. Which would be a terrible idea.
  • I think that sort of depends on what you think people want the features of a 'tablet' for. If your role for a tablet is to carry it around, and use it while standing in line, on a shop floor, in bed, on the couch, then yea, nobody wants a 13-15 tablet. If however you want a touch screen device with active pen support to use that functionality, a 13, 15, even 27" tablet may be just what you are looking for. Every sketched something out or done some math on an 8.5x11" engineering pad? That's 13" diagonal. How about writing sheet music. That stuff seems bigger than 10". I imagine some artists use canvases bigger than 13", and if you count all the tool bars on graphics programs, I bet 15" comes in handy if you want work space. Enter the Surface Studio. No-one considers that a tablet, really, but isn't it intended to be used much like one? Not the portability aspect but the human interface part of it. Maybe tablet doesn't really describe a full sized, full featured, PC, that happens to have pen and touch options all that well.
  • don't speak for everyone. I'm an artist and while I love my Surface Pro 7, I do wish it was a bigger screen on occasion. It's hard to draw on a small canvas. You're constantly zooming in and out of the display. This is why professional artists use a device like the Wacom ones because you do have a huge canvas (though those machines are only useful because of the huge canvas and can't really be used as computers). The only reason why the SB isn't a better artist tool is because the battery is so small in the tablet portion of the SB. Most of the battery in the SB is in the keyboard.
  • Every single Surface device from the entire Surface line is a product full with compromises, either software or hardware and all they do is justifying that with questionable gimmicks in desperate need to stay in a "separate space" in order not to be compared to others. I'll stick with my iPad Pro and new MacBook Pro and Watch with AirPods. Now matured to the point of absolute perfection and a seamless symbiosis between hardware and software with ecosystem like no other and communication between devices with no match. It's actually amazing for a "hardware company". It's funny how Microsoft wanted that so badly when they started on the same path with Surface, then BOOM!, forced by the unfortunate circumstances and pressure they released Duo with Android and the narrative casually changed for Surface. I rember back then, they said they want every form factor to be with a suitable OS so that's why Android, yet they just released 10 inch tablet with full Windows. Enjoy taping the 40y old Win32 touch-hostile controls with your fat fingers on your small consumer tablet, I guess. No. They are doing this because are failures, greedy and mostly because of incompetence. iPadOs Windows-clone is in development fiasco at this point for 10+ years. It was RT, S Mode, now 10X. Only the names change, but the idea behind it is the same. Microsoft want iPadOS clone in any way. But this time they need the "gimmick" with legacy Win32 support because people "need it", and totally not because they failed with touch apps. Of course! Tell me, Microsoft, who needs this particular software on a 10 inch consumer touch first device? And again the narrative of this OS would be "different" not to be compared. Apple would never released that crammed experience. Never. They would release the Go 2 only when the OS suitable for it is ready. Same goes for Hub 2X, conviniently shifting narratives on the go, because of incompetence. Exactly how the narrative of UWP changed - by being forced to and not out of good will. Some are doing it right almost everytime with a few misses and evolve naturally, while others just can't, no matter how hard they try. Until one day Microsoft decides to produce a slimmer Go with ARM and 10X with audio jack and no proprietary connectors, I will never buy a Surface product. My HP workstation is perfectly fine too for my professional life and does exactly what's expected from it. I have Windows installed on my MBP working absolutely fine when I need it (only gaming and rarely for pieces of software with not suitable alternatives on MacOs FOR ME). But then again, where is the difference with this and other PC's with slammed Windows on top and 0 seamless integration and optimization, becase software is made by one company and OEM is different. Nobody can beat Apple. tech specs and numbers never really mattered for their products. The actual end user experience is what matters and it's untouchable. Btw, probably with the exception of Surface Pro X where Microsoft co-designed the chip, no Surface product is with exceptionally seamless integration between software and hardware, despite them both being produced by the same company. It's just like any other PC.. Microsoft fails with Surface even with that aspect (which was the essence of Surface line when it started... or at least that was supposed to be narrative...). Nobody can be like Apple, no matter how hard they try or how big they are, not even Microsoft... especially Microsoft... they are the closest, though.
  • First time I have seen a troll post such long posts lol.
  • You are welcome. Also I am not a troll
  • That's what they all say.
  • @ochhanz Just because he has a different opinion than you doesn't make him a troll.
  • People can read their other posts.
  • @oraora Seriously man, hit enter every now and then. Reading massive walls of text like that is painful.
  • Those devices are so perfect to the point you're incapable of writing in paragraphs. Seriously, no one is going to read that ridiculous unformatted wall of text.
  • all i read is blah blah blah.... No Apple machine has the versatility of a Surface Pro. The closest is the iPad Pro which is more expensive and still doesn't run desktop class software.
  • I seem to be the only person I see going in he other direction on this. The specs for me are completely fine (I'm running things like Photoshop, Lightroom, some emulation for app development and also light gaming). What I think is missing is the practicality of using the tablet on its own and this hasn't changed since gen1. Why doesn't it have a kickstand? Why is there no connectivity on the screen itself (I could live with the poor battery life if I could charge the tablet over USB-C)? Sometimes I'll just want a type cover style keyboard for taking out to meetings but that doesn't exist. My use case in my office is probably that I wouldn't want the keyboard attached, I'd just have the tablet mounted on an arm connected to a Surface Dock driving two more monitors and other things. Then when I'm at home doing photo editing and playing games I'd connect to the keyboard for the dGPU.
  • Finally someone who actually makes sense where the SB could be improved and what it is meant for.
    All these people above moaning about 35/45 watt cpu's but than forgetting were are talking about a tablet + keyboard dock here.
  • Seconded ^
    SB 2 15 inch owner here. I envisioned (back when we had trains, and commuting) doing work on the train and then yanking the tablet part off to continue on in a more mobile way on foot or on bus after that. The truth is that the 15 inch tablet is gigantic, unwieldy, and a lot of the apps I fire up will try to use the dGPU... making it very cumbersome to switch to the integrated one. I have to do weird workflows like: shut down apps... in order to detach the screen, and then re-open the apps again... now running the integrated graphics. Stuff like this makes it quite hard to get behind the form factor itself. Which is the whole point of slowing down the CPU But yeah; a kickstand. And connectivity. Killer features. What I want is a Surface Pro 7, with a keyboard base that has a GPU, Surface Dock of ports, and battery.
  • exactly. if the SB also came with a kickstand, I would consider it over my Surface Pro 7. And yet, it's still "consider" because the SP7 comes with a bigger battery in the tablet portion. Most of the battery in the SB line is in the keyboard base so with a bigger screen and smaller battery, the SB is destroyed by the SP in battery life. I also agree with your other ports. I don't like how there are no USB ports on the tablet itself which the Surface Pro has. Basically, if the Surface Pro also had a detachable hard keyboard base like the Surface Book line, it would be superior to the SB.
  • So my take on this as a SB 2 15 inch owner with nearly maxed out specs is that the article is pretty spot on. But the catch for me is that MSFT has hyped up the dGPU in the last 3 releases since the performance base onwards... and then not delivered on their end of the bargain. Their driver support is so poorly conceived that they bricked SB2 owners’ Windows updates for months after the rest of the world. And failed to update the driver at all, meaning things like Premiere (which they’re currently advertising as a killer feature of the SB3) now present warnings to all SB2 users that their GPU driver is so out of date that the app will need to rely on the CPU or crash instead of use that all important GPU. Note too “Windows Mixed Reality ready” branding seems to be gone this time around? Not enough ports to actually make that usable for a lot of systems last time. And the GPU turned out to not quite give enough grunt to handle a lot of tasks. Another case where ‘accepting the trade offs’ have burned prosumers here. I’m just taking Microsoft at their word of their marketing hype, but they’ve failed to deliver on it beyond the launch window for their previous flagship. If Microsoft’s justification is: lower voltage CPU so you can have a tablet with a dGPU, then they need to support that dGPU layer much better, for much longer. They’ve yet to prove it enough that I’d recommend anyone accept this low a CPU voltage/core count as a trade off at this price point. At least a high CPU will stand the test of time. A GPU that isn’t given any love will quickly feel out of date and like a paperweight. One last thing: I’d love for them to start mixing and matching the components. Imagine being able to buy an upgraded tablet portion, but keep your dGPU keyboard. Or vice versa. That’d be a fun way to deliver on the form factor and maximise a reward for the slower CPU.
  • I use my Samsung Odyssey+ headset with my Surface Pro 2017 and Surface Pro 7 and they come with the 15W CPUs with Iris Plus graphics. I can't run the "AAA" games (there aren't many true AAA titles in VR). But I can run many good ones like Space Pirate Trainer.
  • Rather than lecturing to Surface fans, how about you take this message to Panos Panay instead? Because Panos and Microsoft have positioned/marketed the Surface Book as a ridiculously powerful laptop that *can* go toe-to-toe with a MacBook Pro. It can't. At least not in the CPU department. Given Microsoft's past messaging, you can't blame users for thinking otherwise.
  • @drfyzziks Exactly. We were also browbeaten by Daniel in his "Stop saying the Surface Pro X is too expensive" article. It's perfectly fine to be a Microsoft cheerleader but he takes it too far at times.
  • here's the thing though. The MacBook Pro does come in configurations where it's the same CPU as the MacBook Pro (quad core 15W). So for those configurations, the SB line is more powerful because they come with Nvidia graphics. However, where the MBP starts off with the same CPU as the SB, they have the 45W variants too which are more powerful. Though MBP is still stuck with bad AMD graphics.
  • This is true. I would like a Surface laptop Pro with the spec of the Book in the Laptop form. But even more then that I would like a kick-stand on my Book's clip-board and a USB-C connector on it. And maybe a 7 hour battery for usage. I could totally use something like that. No, I would love something like that. Or maybe combine the Pro and Book and sell the Pro in 3 sizes and have an option for a keyboard ore power board, with the latter being the on with extar ports and GPU and battery. Yes....Microsoft....you should do that..
  • I've been a creative professional for about 20 years and I love the SB line. I left Mac's behind in 2015 after what I call the "trashcan" incident. I went five years without any available pro upgrade to my desktop and it was clear that Apple was becoming entirely consumer focused. So I bought a Falcon Northwest custom workstation to replace it and never looked back. My surface experience started with a surface pro, which I used for client meetings and sketching. I loved it, but it was really just to small and slow to do any real work on. I like to hit up up cafes and work occasionally and I get stuck on flights making last minute changes more often than I like. So I gave that to my wife when her Mac Book Air got old and I grabbed the SB2 in 2017. It was a breath of fresh air. I could do anything I wanted on it. Photoshop, ZBrush, etc. After Effects still isn't fun but I haven't met a laptop yet that is painless for video. After years of using a Mac Book Pro for mobile work and an iPad for sketching I like the the SB experience so much better. I have already pre-ordered the SB3 Quadro business edition. I get that this is not for everyone but for me personally and my specific work situation this is perfect. The only gripe I have is that the tablet windows experience (when I use the screen as a tablet to draw) sucks compared to IOS. Honestly I still don't like windows as much as OSX for work either, but its a small price to pay for CLEARLY better hardware and functionality.
  • I'm on fence about the SB3, I need to run some items that require a bit more ummp than my i7 8G SP4 can do. I love the form factor of SP but SB gives edge in performance. I was actually hoping they introduced a dock with eGPU in it. As I have replaced my desktop with my SP one for power and windows hello camera.
  • the SP4 is really old at this point and is a dual core CPU. I also own the SP4/i7/8GB/256GB. Starting with SP6, it went up to quad core and the speed difference is noticeable. I currently have the SP7/i7/8GB/256GB and it's really nice. And the big benefit over SP6 is the SP7 has Iris Plus graphics. Intel left out Iris Plus on the SP6 due to lack of die space. SP2017 (which I also own) has Iris Plus graphics with the i7 but it's still a dual core CPU. so the weird thing is for graphics intensive stuff, the SP2017 was actually a bit faster than the SP6.
  • Still, the Surface Book is the only Touch-device suitable for gaming.