After a year of its debut the successful Surface Book gets a hardware refresh. However, the refresh that Microsoft is introducing doesn’t significantly altered the original design. In fact, most of the line is not getting any new hardware, instead, the company is only upgrading the hardware for the top-tier models.
If you’re looking forward for the Surface Book 2, you’ll have to wait a lot longer, because this is just about slightly improving what’s on the market today.
The new Surface Book with Performance Base sports the same sixth-generation Intel Core i7 processor; same set of ports (no USB Type-C); and the same 13.5-inch PixelSense display with 3000 x 2000 pixels of resolution.
The only upgrade that Microsoft is making is adding the new Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M that includes 2GB of GDDR5 memory, bringing up to twice the graphics from the previous model.
And the battery capacity has been increased to deliver up to 16 hours of battery life on a single charge, which translates into four more hours compared to the original model.
Surface Book with Performance Base
|Windows 10 Pro
|Surface Book: 12.30” x 9.14” x 0.51 - 0.90” (312.3mm x 232.1mm x 13.0 - 22.8mm)
Surface Book with Performance Base: 12.30” x 9.14” x 0.59 - 0.90” (312.3mm x 232.1mm x 14.9 - 22.8mm)
|Surface Book: Starting at 3.34 lbs (1,516 g) including keyboard
Surface Book with Performance Base: 3.68 lbs (1,647 g) including keyboard
Physical buttons: Volume, Power
|Solid-state drive (SSD) PCIe 3.0:
|Screen: 13.5-inch PixelSense Display
Resolution: 3000x2000 (267 ppi)
Contrast ratio: 1800:1
Aspect ratio: 3:2
100 percent sRGB color, individually calibrated
Touch: 10-point multitouch
|6th Generation 2.4-GHz Intel Core i5-6300U processor with Intel HD graphics 520
6th Generation 2.6-GHz Intel Core i7-6600U processor with Intel HD graphics 520
Core i5: Intel HD graphics 520
Core i5 & Core i7: NVIDIA GeForce dGPU with 1GB GDDR5 memory
Surface Book with Performance Base:
Core i7: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M 2GB GDDR5 memory
|Keyboard & Trackpad
|Full-size, integrated backlit keyboard with 1.6mm key travel
Precision trackpad with glass laminated trackpad (7,350 sq. mm)
Five-finger contact recognition with full Windows 10 support
|TPM chip for enterprise security
Enterprise-grade protection with Windows Hello face sign-in
1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity
|802.11ac 2x2 MIMO Wi-Fi wireless networking; IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible
Bluetooth 4.0 LE wireless technology
|Surface Book: Up to 12 hours of video playback
Surface Book with Performance Base: Up to 16 hours of video playback
|Windows Hello face-authentication camera (front-facing)
8.0MP rear-facing autofocus camera, with 1080p HD camera
5.0MP front-facing 1080p HD camera
|Dual microphones, front- and rear-facing
Front-facing stereo speakers with Dolby audio
|Two full-size USB 3.0
Full-size SD™ card reader (SDXC compatible)
Two Surface Connect ports
Compatible with Surface Dial Off-Screen Interaction
Ambient light sensor
|36W power supply with USB charging port
65W power supply with USB charging port (discrete GPU SKU)
|In the box
Quick Start Guide
Safety and warranty documents
128GB 6th Generation Intel Core i5 with 8GB of RAM $1,499
256GB 6th Generation Intel Core i5 with 8GB of RAM $1,699
256GB 6th Generation Intel Core i5 with 8GB of RAM and NVIDIA GeForce Graphics Processor $1,899
512GB 6th Generation Intel Core i5 with 8GB of RAM $1,999
256GB 6th Generation Intel Core i7 with 8GB of RAM and NVIDIA GeForce Graphics Processor $2,099
512GB 6th Generation Intel Core i7 with 16GB of RAM and NVIDIA GeForce Graphics Processor $2,699
1TB 6th Generation Intel Core i7 with 16GB of RAM and NVIDIA GeForce Graphics Processor $3,199
Surface Book with Performance Base:
256GB 6th Generation Intel Core i7 with 8GB of RAM and NVIDIA GeForce Graphics Processor $2,399
512GB 6th Generation Intel Core i7 with 16GB of RAM and NVIDIA GeForce Graphics Processor $2,799
1TB 6th Generation Intel Core i7 with 16GB of RAM and NVIDIA GeForce Graphics Processor $3,299
Although these might seem like minor changes, adding the powerful processor (even though, it’s not a Kadylake), upgrading the graphics, and adding more battery forced Microsoft to modify the base of the Surface Book to fit the new hardware.
While the Surface Book features impressive new graphics chip, keep in mind that Microsoft is not advertising the new Windows 10 laptop as a gaming device. Sure, you can play some lightweight gaming, but for the money you’ll be spending, there are better alternatives.
You can even get new gaming laptops with other Nvidia processors with virtual reality support to use the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.
The Surface Book with Performance Base is slightly thicker, heavier, and pricing is $100 more than the original model. However, if you’re looking for the top-of-the-line device with unmatched performance this is what you want to get.