Microsoft Kills Mid-Level Surface Go Configuration

Posted on April 16, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 10 Comments

Call it a mercy killing, but Microsoft has silently removed one of the more under-powered Surface Go configuration from its online store. Granted, it should never have offered that version in the first place.

As you may recall, Microsoft initially offered two configurations of Surface Go for sale: A base configuration with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of eMMC storage for $400 and a more realistic configuration with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of fast, NVMe-based SSD storage, just enough to help offset the device’s anemic Pentium Gold processor; that version cost $550.

Later, however, we discovered a third configuration—with 4 GB of RAM and a 128 GB SSD—that was initially sold only by Costco in the U.S. and costs $500. Microsoft later started selling it as well. (There is also a fourth configuration with LTE capabilities.)

I was never a fan of the lower-end Surface Go configurations. 4 GB of RAM is simply not enough for reasonable performance Windows 10, especially when you consider how underpowered the device’s Pentium Gold processor is.

And as I noted in Tip: Skip the Entry-Level Surface Go Configuration, the base configuration was always a non-starter.

“Sure, the $400 price tag looks compelling,” I wrote at the time. “But the PC you’re getting at that price is not compelling, and it’s absolutely not future-proof. The biggest issue here is the same thing that doomed Surface 3 to poor performance: This entry-level Surface Go utilizes slow eMMC storage rather than speedy SSD storage. Combined that with just 4 GB of RAM and a low-end Pentium processor, and you have the makings of a disaster.”

So that base configuration still exists for some reason—I guess the $400 price tag will help get shoppers in the door—but the mid-level 4 GB/128 GB configuration is now gone, as was first pointed out by Neowin. Which you can see by visiting the Microsoft Store online.

Now, you can choose once again from the initial two configurations, plus the LTE version, and at the same pricing levels. But my advice is unchanged: If you can handle the tiny size and terrible battery life of Surface Go, be sure to go with the $550 configuration or LTE. Yes, they are more expensive. But they are also less of a toy than the base configuration.

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Comments (10)

10 responses to “Microsoft Kills Mid-Level Surface Go Configuration”

  1. harmjr

    I am hoping they jump to 256 gb ssd with 8 gb ram. And get rid of the 64gb version. Please don't buy your kids the 64gb version.

  2. genecrispr

    Let the deal hunting for the clearance devices begin! From a conversation in my house in about a week. "Why did you buy this?" said my wife. "Because it was really cheap." I said. "What do you need it for?" she asked? "Because it was really cheap?" I replied.

  3. glenn8878

    An entry level laptop makes more sense at $400 than the Surface Go. At $400, they should offer it an ARM tablet.

  4. genecrispr

    The deal site slickdeals has 1 person reporting seeing this for $300 a their Costco. They did not say where they were, but mentioned the devices were not on the floor, so you should ask someone to check inventory / look in the lockup.

  5. warren

    This could very well be related to Intel CPU shortages -- availability of Pentium chips has been limited for a while.

  6. dallasnorth40

    I think what Paul is saying is: Even if you just see one lying on the floor, don't bend over to pick it up.

  7. jimchamplin

    Why didn't they do the right thing and discontinue the old $400 one and replace it with the mid-range one?

  8. Thom77

    Base configuration a toy?

    I use mine every day as a main laptop and play Skyrim on it among other games like MLB 2K12 and Civ 5. Could it be faster? Sure. But I am totally happy with it and it certainly doesn't feel like a toy. It feels like an adequate tablet that has a port, sd card, mouse support, and a file system.

    Could it be better? Most certainly.

    But I would argue that 4Gb of more memory and 64 GB of storage, at least for me, is not worth a $150 premium. Most things I would absolutely need 8Gb of memory for to begin with probably isn't suitable for this tablet anyway.

    My HP quad core laptop with Vega 10 GPU hasn't been used in weeks and I can't see a huge difference in performance in my everyday tasks to make me switch back.

  9. jaredthegeek

    I bought a go with LTE. I tried an iPad and it did not cut it for me. It's suitable for most daily tasks with no problems.

  10. Lauren Glenn

    The same configuration as the Surface 3 (if you found it). But the 8GB of RAM makes it work well. The only reason I didn't try to get the LTE modem is that my phone has 10GB LTE tethering on my phone for no extra fee.

    But yeah... spend the extra $50 or so and get double the RAM.

    I love this little machine for keeping my iTunes library in tow with me and for when I need to remote into work.