Microsoft Bumps Surface Book with New High-End Versions

Posted on October 26, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 31 Comments

Microsoft Bumps Surface Book with New High-End Versions

For the second time since it announced Surface Book last fall, Microsoft has announced a new high-end model. And this one purportedly will satisfy the needs of gamers.

That’s been an issue for Surface Book: To date, the highest-end Surface Book has sported a dGPU with just 1 GB of VRAM, about half of what most modern games recommend as the minimum. And while Microsoft has always been very upfront that Surface Book was never meant for gaming, it’s inability to handle anything beyond the most basic titles has been frustrating for customers.

No more.

A new set of Surface Book with Performance Base models add the extra oomph that gamers and other high-end users demand. Each features an Intel Core i7 “Skylake” processor, plus 8 to 16 GB of RAM, and a new dGPU with—you guessed it—2 GB of VRAM. (More specifically, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M with 2GB of GDDR5 RAM.)

Here’s how the models break down:

Base. Intel Core i7, 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB SSD, dGPU – $2400.

Mid-level. Intel Core i7, 16 GB of RAM, 512 GB SSD, dGPU – $2800.

High-end. Intel Core i7, 16 GB of RAM, 1 TB SSD, dGPU – $3300.

The devices are mostly identical to the previous Surface Book models, both inside and out. But the Performance Base models offer a slightly revised keyboard design, updated thermals, and, Microsoft says, up to 16 hours (!) of battery life. The previous models, all of which are still available, are rated at 12 hours.

Surface Book with Performance Base will be available for pre-order starting tomorrow.


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Comments (31)

31 responses to “Microsoft Bumps Surface Book with New High-End Versions”

  1. 1353

    The thing that annoys me about this is the price in countries outside the US. I'm in New Zealand, and I just got the email from the Microsoft Store for these new Surfaces. The base model above is $2400 USD, but the price from the Microsoft store here is $4399. At the current exchange rate, $2400 USD is only $3355 NZD, which means a markup of $1044 NZD, or 31%. There is no conceivable reason why this markup should be so high.

  2. 5496

    Paul, didn't you say they will be no new Surface Books?

    Now don't you feel stupid for saying there won't be one, when there is.

  3. 1001

    Its already available for preorder:

  4. 427

    To me still not the ultimate laptop.  Like Paul has said a few times what people want is an ultrabook.  This is still not that. Hopefully next time they'll actually make an ultrabook.

  5. 169

    Are the Surface book bases swappable??    Could this be an upgrade for somebody?    (I've got an i7 SB, but am not interested in this)

    • 2330

      In reply to tbtalbot:

      That's what I'm wondering too. I just got burnt by being exactly one day out of exchange/return when they announced it D'oh. I would love to just buy the dGPU base and just swap to the newer one and keep the same guts in the top (and I don't see any issues preventing that).

  6. 3216

    I can't help but wonder if they are falling into the trap Apple created for itself in releasing new hardware so often.  I have an Surface Pro 3 that's less than 18 months old and the Surface Book is about 12 months and they are both already ancient compared to what's on the market now.  People are going to delay upgrading because they know that if they just waited 60-90 days something newer would be released.

    The other big problem is pricing.  Newer stuff is jumping in price far higher than is justified by the market and the older stuff isn't dropping enough.  The Surface Pro 3 is still for sale and the price is roughtly the same as it was in the Spring of 2015.

  7. 5530

    Very impressed that they managed to put a GTX 965M in that form factor. I think that is pretty much the fastest GPU i've ever seen in a chassis that thin. The problem is that Nvidia's new pascal GPUs are a true generational leap, and people don't want to miss out on it. The Razer Blade got 20% more performance despite moving down from the GTX970M to the GTX1060. The performance gap is just so large. Bummer that they didn't manage to put a pascal GPU in there, but i'm sure they'll get around to it eventually when they figure it out.

  8. 2013

    Still Skylake? I thought they'd take the oportunity to update the chipset to Kaby Lake at least.


  9. 4801

    Just a question that may be on minds of others.


    For users like myself who purchased i7 GPU Surface Books that had issues for many months like underpowered GPU, do you think Microsoft would consider allowing trade in without penalty.


    In my case, 2 4K ASUS monitors will only do 30hz when docked, I had had this complaint to Microsoft since day 1 of Surface Book.


    Anyone else kinda thinking MS should step up?


    Does new GPU resolve 60 hz issue?

  10. 5234

    "Microsoft has always been very upfront that Surface Book was never meant for gaming"


    No: they have Xbox for that.

  11. 3012

    I would have like to see it bumped to 32gb of ram

  12. 5496

    They should sell the keyboard alone. So people can just switch it out for a better GPU.

  13. 4370

    This will allow gaming at 1280p. Still strange that they went with 980m. Pascal 1060 has lower thermal requirements and is clearly more powerful....

  14. 442

    965m with 2 GB of ram?  Not too shabby finally.

    • 5501

      In reply to Narg:

      It does sound like an improvement, but, mmm, I don't know ... it that good for a laptop?  I have a GTX 970 with 4 GB on my desktop, and I can't imagine using anything less than that anymore, but then again I game at 2560 x 1440.

    • 5234

      In reply to Narg:

      Finally?!  It should be a 1000-series in there by now!

  15. 220

    You still can't buy Surface Book in Sweden. I wonder why...

    • 5529

      In reply to Mike_Peluso:

      It makes sense on a few fronts. We know they plan on new hardware in spring, and they needed something they could fill the gap they felt they missed, without a true redesign. Slapping a part that is from the same generation allows them to do that. 

      Also, this also lets them continue to use the very well tested nvidia drivers, without the same risk that cost them with Intel's Skylake.

      Not to mention, this could give them the oportunity to use the second gen of nvidia's 16nm process, which may seem to be a safer choice to them.

  16. 2330

    I sent you a screenshot via Twitter of Amazon having OLD REVISION on the base model surface book a few weeks ago and never heard back. I figured this was coming based upon that.

  17. 180

    Weird they're using the last generation of GPUs from NVidia, both for this device and the Studio. That's a really questionable decision, they could have gotten so much more performance out of the new chips.