Microsoft Bumps Surface Book with New High-End Versions

Posted on October 26, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 37 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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22 Comments
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  1. 3 | Reply
    ulrichr Alpha Member #1146 - 1 month ago

    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.

    1. 0 | Reply
      robincapper Alpha Member #2080 - 1 month ago
      In reply to ulrichr:

      does us price include sales tax?

  2. 0 | Reply
    allenrobberson Alpha Member #1539 - 1 month ago

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

  3. 0 | Reply
    Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 1 month ago

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

     

    No: they have Xbox for that.

  4. 0 | Reply
    awright18 Alpha Member #405 - 1 month ago

    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. 0 | Reply
    gsmith-plm Alpha Member #1599 - 1 month ago

    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.

  6. 0 | Reply
    tbtalbot Alpha Member #152 - 1 month ago

    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)

    1. 0 | Reply
      Thayios Alpha Member #1968 - 1 month ago
      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).

  7. 0 | Reply
    CyberDadIO Alpha Member #1967 - 1 month ago

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

     

  8. 0 | Reply
    djncanada Alpha Member #2026 - 1 month ago

    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?

    1. 0 | Reply
      Polycrastinator Alpha Member #163 - 1 month ago
      In reply to djncanada:

      Microsoft should allow you to replace the base separately. I don't think they will, though.

  9. 0 | Reply
    Narg Alpha Member #420 - 1 month ago

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

    1. 0 | Reply
      ErichK Alpha Member #2471 - 1 month ago
      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.

    2. 0 | Reply
      Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 1 month ago
      In reply to Narg:

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

  10. 0 | Reply
    ibmthink Alpha Member #963 - 1 month ago

    Its already available for preorder: https://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/productID.5074012200

  11. 0 | Reply
    jr.flynn Alpha Member #424 - 1 month ago

    This explains Panos' Gears of War tweet. Also Microsoft is now reporting 400% customer satisfaction on these soon to be released devices.*

     

    *No they didn't make these numbers up....honest.

  12. 0 | Reply
    Thayios Alpha Member #1968 - 1 month ago

    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.

  13. 0 | Reply
    digiguy Alpha Member #2015 - 1 month ago

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

    1. 0 | Reply
      Narg Alpha Member #420 - 1 month ago
      In reply to digiguy:

      You've got the hardware here confused with the other Surface Studio AIO.  This one is the 965m.  Still no too bad, not bad at all for a laptop.

    2. 0 | Reply
      digiguy Alpha Member #2015 - 1 month ago
      In reply to Narg:

      Yes, sorry, I posted in the wrong article, still a 965m is a definte improvement over the preivous 940m

  14. -1 | Reply
    Polycrastinator Alpha Member #163 - 1 month ago

    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.

    1. 0 | Reply
      cseafous Alpha Member #610 - 1 month ago
      In reply to Polycrastinator:

      I think Skylake has adeMicrosoft a little gun shy on being early adopters for new hardware.