Microsoft wants to ensure there’s a Surface Book option for everyone, so the Redmond outfit went and added two new models, including a entry-level option with a discrete GPU.
That one runs $1,699, which is $200 higher than the base model with integrated graphics. Other than the graphics, both laptops share the same specs, including an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of solid state storage.
Prior to this addition, the least expensive Surface Book with an Nvidia GPU inside was the $1,899 model, which also includes a Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM, but twice the storage at 256GB. That meant paying a $400 premium over the base model to step up to a discrete GPU.
If you’re like most of us, you think Microsoft’s Surface Book looks like an incredibly attractive laptop, however adding on all the fixin’s (like a powerful NVIDIA GPU embedded in the keyboard) can make it a bit pricey. TechRadar notes that the folks from Redmond have slid one more variant into the store, allowing buyers to essentially choose between upgrading the base ($1,500) model’s graphics instead of its hard drive. For $1,700 you can either have a version with a Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, 256GB storage and no NVIDIA discrete GPU, or the new version — a 128GB model with dGPU. If you keep your larger-capacity files in the cloud or an external drive, that cuts $200 off the previous cheapest dGPU-equipped version without losing any power, but we won’t blame you if only the $3,200 1TB top-of-the-line powerhouse will suffice.
Microsoft also added a new Surface Book model at the top end that has 1TB of storage. We knew it was in the cards because Microsoft mentioned it on a separate micro-site designed to help potential buyers select an appropriate model, but at the time it wasn’t listed as a pre-order option on the Surface Book portal. Now it is.
In addition to 1TB of storage, the flagship Surface Book configuration tackles productivity chores with an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and discrete graphics. However, that kind of setup commands a hefty $3,199, which is more than many high-end gaming laptops. It’s not really fair to compare the Surface Book to a gaming notebook since they’re not in the same category, but the price tag makes it difficult not to.
Name That GPU
We still don’t have concrete details on the specific GPU Nvidia is providing for the Surface Book, though according to PCWorld, it’s a Maxwell-based chip with 1GB of GDDR5 memory.
A little more recently, a user who claims to work at the Microsoft Store some vitals plucked from Nvidia’s control panel to Reddit. Based on what he discovered, it looks like the GPU is a custom GeForce 940M part.
|GPU||CUDA Cores||Memory Bandwidth||Bus||Core Clock|
|950M||640||64 GB/s||128-bit||914-993 MHz|
|Surface Book||384||40.08 GB/s||64-bit||954 MHz|
|940M||384||28.8 GB/s||64-bit||928-1029 MHz|
|920M||384||14.4 GB/s||64-bit||954 MHz|
That’s certainly better than integrated graphics, but not exactly a gaming powerhouse by any stretch, especially at the Surface Book’s native resolution.