Gaming with the Surface Laptop 4

With the launch of the Surface Laptop 4 this week, as I have done with nearly every Surface device in my possession, I wanted to see if it was possible to game on the laptop. Even though Microsoft doesn’t pitch this device as a gaming laptop, it does have an 8 core, 16 thread, CPU.

If you are looking for a first impression post, you can find that here; the short version of this post is that despite the beefed-up CPU, the GPU is still pulling down the gaming experience. But the best way to showcase that is with video, which you can find below.

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The GPU was by far the limiting factor with CPU usage rarely jumping above 50%. Also, while not heard in the video, when the fans do hit their peak output they are quite loud but that’s to be expected. That being said, the only time I have heard them spin up during my usage is when benchmarking and during normal usage, the machine is silent.

Also, I am eagerly looking forward to Xbox ‘Cloud Gaming’ becoming available in the browser. While I can’t test it quite yet, I do think the Surface Laptop 4 could be a good device to showcase the experience.

Still, a lot to test with this laptop but in the coming days and weeks, I’ll dive into the battery life as that’s the last remaining area that needed significant improvement from the Surface Laptop 3.

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Conversation 13 comments

  • christianwilson

    Premium Member
    15 April, 2021 - 7:10 pm

    <p>Have you tried Stadia on it as a substitute until Xbox Game Streaming is available? </p>

    • Brad Sams

      Premium Member
      15 April, 2021 - 7:52 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#623296">In reply to christianwilson:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>I havent – hoping xcloud shows up soon and could do a comparison. </p>

  • bettyblue

    15 April, 2021 - 8:03 pm

    <p>I could drive my Chevy Silverado with 4 spare tires from a Prius…….but I don't.</p>

    • solomonrex

      16 April, 2021 - 8:01 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#623300">In reply to bettyblue:</a></em></blockquote><p>Sure, but it's a silly post anyway. This thing can play anything an Xbox One or Switch can play. And it will never be confused with a gaming PC (not enough garishness).</p>

  • will

    Premium Member
    15 April, 2021 - 9:15 pm

    <p>It would have been nice to have the 15” with a dGPU. Nothing top end but something in the mid range.</p>

  • Username

    15 April, 2021 - 9:23 pm

    <p>Wouldn’t it have valuable PR for Intel that Microsoft’s premier laptop to be “Evo” branded? Do they talk?</p>

    • solomonrex

      16 April, 2021 - 7:59 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#623308">In reply to Username:</a></em></blockquote><p>MS doesn't need the branding assistance, first, and, second, half of these are AMD laptops and so cannot qualify. I don't know how valuable any 'extra' branding from Intel is, anyway, these days. Everyone thinks of them as inferior now.</p>

    • MikeCerm

      16 April, 2021 - 8:20 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#623308">In reply to Username:</a></em></blockquote><p>I'm guessing they don't want the Evo branding for the same reason they don't want Thunderbolt. Also, Evo branding is basically useless. It means as much as Centrino ever did, which is nothing. Because battery life estimates are always a lie, the only Evo spec that is remotely interesting is the less-than-1-second wake from sleep, and I'm pretty sure previous Surface devices already did that. My Surface Laptop 3 has scanned my face and unlocked before I'm finished opening the lid.</p>

  • scumdogmillionaire

    16 April, 2021 - 7:28 am

    <p>My 15" Intel (32GB) is being delivered today to replace my aged first gen Surface Book. A tinge of buyers remorse, but mostly pretty stoked. We'll see. But I'm a software dev. The little to no gaming I do happens on Xbox or Switch.</p>

    • scumdogmillionaire

      16 April, 2021 - 6:35 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#623335">In reply to scumdogmillionaire:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Digging this upgrade so far. Dev tools open up much snappier than on my SB, way better wifi, but still have the keyboard I'm used to.</p><p><br></p><p>I'm sure there are better laptops out there, but I really am liking it so far.</p>

  • scovious

    16 April, 2021 - 1:56 pm

    <p>Computers without a strong GPU can often play old games just fine, as long as someone is fine experiencing old classics and they don't need the cutting edge modern games. Assuming there is no internet for streaming, there are dozens of games from a decade ago that could be enjoyed without a real GPU. </p><p><br></p><p>It would be nice to have some generalized metric of the range of release years that games are generally playable without requiring modern performance, after all there are many quality games from a decade ago or longer that still hold up and are worth playing or replaying.</p>

  • wiley

    Premium Member
    16 April, 2021 - 3:09 pm

    <p>Thunderbolt+eGPU seems to be getting more popular these days, but there's still no Thunderbolt on AMD. Actually, do the Intel Surface Laptops even have it?</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      17 April, 2021 - 10:29 am


      I suspect the solution going forward will be USB4, which will be available on AMD.

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