With Microsoft’s all new Surface Book shipping in three days, most of the giant tech sites have published their reviews of the laptop/tablet hybrid. With so much potential, excitement and high expectations the Surface Books is sure to make it to many Christmas lists, and probably many more “best-of 2015 gadgets” lists.
More important than the actual review of the Surface Book, is the fact that we now know what type of “dedicated Nvidia graphics chip is powering it”. According to PCWorld it appears the Surface Book is running a custom version of the Nvidia GeForce 940M, except it replaces the DDR3 with a faster 1GB DDR5.
The specific model is unknown—all Microsoft would say publicly is it’s a custom GeForce chip, and Nvidia won’t say squat. Looking at the GPU in our Surface Book, I’m pretty certain it’s a custom version of the GeForce 940m. It has 384 CUDA cores, runs at 945MHz, has 40GBps of memory bandwidth, and features a 64-wide memory bus. That sounds just like the GeForce 940m except for one thing: The chip in the Surface Book has 1GB of GDDR5, instead of the much slower DDR3 of most GeForce 940m laptops. – PCWorld
Although the 940m certainly isn’t a beast of a chip I’m confident it can get the job done when it comes to casual gaming along with video editing and other demanding tasks. My current Acer V7 has a 750M chip, along with 4 GBs of DDr3 RAM; (the first digit “7” refers to the generation, while the second digit “5” refers to the class of the chip, a 980 would be the latest generation, more powerful than a 970), given the two year generation gap and the DDR3 vs the DDR5 in the Surface Book it’s safe to assume it can do most of what I’m doing today. Which even includes some pretty intense gaming and some very very long Civilization 5 sessions.
Most of the reviews agree that the Surface Book is more than capable of getting most graphics intense processes done, especially when compared against other Ultrabooks in its class which rarely ever come with a dedicated graphics card at all. Microsoft have even introduced a new addition to the Surface Book line up which comes with the base 128 GBs of RAm and the i5 chip, as well as the dedicated graphics card for $1,700 (previously the cheapest model to come with a dedicated GPU was $1,900).
Over at TheVerge, Tom Warren scores the Surface Book a 8.3/10, singing praise in most parts, with the only faults being the shaking movements of the screen (due to the joint design), when you use it on your lap or tap the screen. The keyboard, track-pad and design all are praised as being well thought out and close to perfect.
Tom also points out that the included “Surface Pen” works nicely for highlighting and taking notes, however it does lag a tiny bit when used for animating purposes. Read the full review HERE.
Over at Wired.com (video above), the Surface Book gets a 7/10, scoring high in everything; with the main downsides being the expensive price-tag, along with the need to physically press a button, then wait a few seconds in order to detach the screen and use it in tablet mode.
PCWorld, which broke down waht GPU the Surface Book has, gave it 4.5 stars out of 5, only showing disappointment with the overall bulk and once again the price-tag.
Personally I’m pretty much sold on the Surface Book (although my wallet isn’t ready for the commitment), I’ve been eyeing the dedicated GPU models for a bit now, and now with the new $1,700 version I’m quickly running out of excuses. Anyone else planning/dreaming of grabbing one?