Microsoft Surface Book i7 packs a bigger punch and more batteries

Microsoft has refreshed part of its Surface Book lineup. The company announced the Surface Book i7, an updated model packing new graphics hardware and Intel Core i7 CPUs. The device's internals have been reorganized for better thermal performance, and to open up room for a second fan and additional battery capacity. Microsoft claims battery life is up 30% compared to the original i7 Surface Books. This improvement translates to a stated 16 hours of battery life on a single charge.

Microsoft isn't naming the new graphics card, but the video accompanying the product announcement shows a Nvidia graphics chip marked "N16E-GR-A1," suggesting the GPU may be the 2016 refresh of the GeForce GTX 965M. Microsoft says the new card ought to offer "twice" the graphics performance of the GeForce 940M card inside the old model.

The new machine packs the same 13.5" 3000×2000 pixel 10-point multi-touch screen seen in the original Surface Book. Wireless connectivity should come in the form of a 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 combo. Buyers can preorder the Surface Book i7 now for $2,999. Microsoft expects to deliver the machines in November.

Comments closed
    • vargis14
    • 3 years ago

    I want but will not buy:)

    • BurntMyBacon
    • 3 years ago

    Does anyone know if the battery split between the tablet portion and the dock changed? The original had plenty of battery life while docked, but most of the batteries were in the dock. As a tablet, the battery life was quite poor. I don’t expect it to match “tablet first” hybrids like the Surface Pro, but it would be nice if they’ve managed to get more battery in the tablet portion.

    • hasseb64
    • 3 years ago

    Above my budget but seems very impressive!
    I like this MS strategy on hardware, beneficial for Windows camp in general.

    • failquail
    • 3 years ago

    I’d just love that class of screen on more standard 11-13″ laptops.

    1366×768 res 11-15″ laptops are an unfunny joke 🙁

      • Kretschmer
      • 3 years ago

      I feel like 3K, 4K, and 5K are a similar joke on such small displays. You can’t meaningfully use the resolution on tiny displays (and it will work against you in applications with poor scaling), but you’ll certainly pay for it with your battery life.

      1080P is a solid compromise.

        • Duct Tape Dude
        • 3 years ago

        1080p is indeed a solid compromise and I am keeping an eye out for my next ultrabook for dev work, however this new Surface Book is the first laptop that seems to make that compromise less worthwhile. If I can have a hidpi screen AND over 8 hours of realistic battery life, that’s incredible to me.

        Well, maybe incredible until I look at the price tag!

          • ColeLT1
          • 3 years ago

          Most of our laptops are in a dock, but when undocked even at 1080p everyone complains the icons/font is too small, then complain when I turn up the scaling. The fix… they all just drop it to 1366×768 ugh.

          I have a dozen or so Surface 4 Pros out there, and we have one for on call. Dropped the resolution to 1080 because vmware messes up the mouse when you change the scaling in win10.

        • flip-mode
        • 3 years ago

        At least gimme 1440p.

    • Ninjitsu
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<] N16E-GR-A1 [/quote<] You mean N6R-33D-1A

      • ImSpartacus
      • 3 years ago

      So does that mean it might not be a 965?

    • tipoo
    • 3 years ago

    Is this a quad core or dual core i7? Between Intels naming (ULV i7s are dual) and Microsofts website it’s hard to nail down, but I assume it’s still dual like the other SBs.

      • ImSpartacus
      • 3 years ago

      Are there any skylake quads that would be even close to fitting in that power envelope?

      I think kaby Lake has some, but this isn’t getting kaby Lake, right?

        • tipoo
        • 3 years ago

        Not in the old one, but they did bring up their new cooling system (I posted screenshots in the comments) allowing higher TDP parts. I’m 90% sure it’s the dual core still, but Wired said quad.

        [url<]https://www.wired.com/2016/10/microsofts-surface-book-pricing-details/[/url<]

          • ImSpartacus
          • 3 years ago

          Wow, that would be pretty ridiculous.

          Thanks for sharing the source though.

          I agree that a dual core makes so much more sense in this form factor.

    • Laykun
    • 3 years ago

    Wait what? A GTX 965M?! That’s more powerful than my current notebook! You can do game dev on this thing :O.

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 3 years ago

      The real secret will be how much VRAM it has. If it’s custom, who’s to say it won’t have 1GB of VRAM?

    • Thresher
    • 3 years ago

    As novel as that hinge is, it’s the same thing that is keeping me from buying one of these. I want the thing to close shut.

      • jhickman
      • 3 years ago

      As an owner, honestly I don’t think about it anymore. In fact, I prefer to carry it from the hinge side in my hand because its easy to grip compared to the thickness it would be closed completely shut. There’s no flex or give in the hinge when you press down on it; you’d have to put serious force against the hinge to break it.

    • xuoq
    • 3 years ago

    Prices start at $2,399, not $2,999. $2,399 (256GB SSD / 8GB RAM), $2,799 (512GB SSD / 16GB RAM), and $3,299 (1TB SSD / 16GB RAM).

    Edit: Forgot the lower tier has half the RAM.

      • synthtel2
      • 3 years ago

      $900 for 768 GB of SSD and 8 GB of RAM? I know everyone uses ludicrous pricing on these upgrade tiers, but this has gone plaid.

        • xuoq
        • 3 years ago

        Yeah, they better throw in some nice logo stickers at the very least for those upgrade prices. I love the Surface Books (had 2 different ones at launch, both defective), but the pricing is pretty steep for what is a lot of the same as the original model. I’ll holdout with my SP3 until SB2 and hope it doesn’t have all the issues that rev 0 had.

      • Zizy
      • 3 years ago

      Yup, TR mixed stuff up. 3k is the price for AIO, while SB starts at 2.4k.

      And well 400 extra for 8GB of ram and 512GB SSD instead of 256 is painful, but I could see many doing it. 8GB and just 256GB SSD are quite small on such a device. I would opt for that 2800 package (if I had the money).
      But 500 for just 500->1TB SSD upgrade is completely insane. You need to really desperately need that storage to even consider it.

    • tipoo
    • 3 years ago

    That cooling was hawt though. Looks more like a section of desktop copper orb coolers:

    [url<]https://syllabus.vox-cdn.com/uploads/photo/image/24935/SSP_303.jpg[/url<] [url<]https://syllabus.vox-cdn.com/uploads/photo/image/24939/SSP_323.jpg[/url<] Iiinteresting. I'll be interested in seeing its thermal performance relative to performance then.

    • Neutronbeam
    • 3 years ago

    Is the i7 Kaby Lake (AKA Crabby Patty)?

      • Flying Fox
      • 3 years ago

      Specs still say “6th gen”, so very likely no. Kaby seems to not hitting volumes yet, and/or the fact that they don’t want to use a too new CPU and suffered teething issues like last year with SP4/SB.

        • HisDivineOrder
        • 3 years ago

        Probably saving it for the March update for the entire Surface line to make for some pop. They’ll give you Kaby Lake for all Surface Pro’s and toss in an updated Pascal-based GPU for the Surface Book update.

        Boom.

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    Hey, anyone here with the original surface book?

    How are the screen hinge and tablet docking mechanism holding up after this time?

      • SurfaceBookGuy
      • 3 years ago

      I have the i5, dGpu version.

      The hinge is largely unchanged form when I got it (used).

      It begins to close as the screen gets closer to the KB/base (duh), which is like 1cm-2cm .

      It does get ‘smoother’ over time, in the same way that some headphones need to burned/broken in when you first get them.

      If you compare it to a normal Dell XPS or whatever, the Dell has a ‘firmer’ hinge, but the SB will not break or be detrimental to your usage over the coming years. (knocks on wood)

        • Chrispy_
        • 3 years ago

        Cheers. We have SP4’s but no Books.

        I’m using a cheapo GTX960M laptop at the moment but I’d love a Surface book if they ever update this to Pascal. I’m not spending money on Maxwell again though.

      • jhickman
      • 3 years ago

      I have had my Book since Feb of ’16, and the hinge works exactly the same as it did new. The detach mechanism works now every time.

      MS took quite a while ironing out all of the issues I had, like the sleep of death, USB transfer issues, etc. Most was probably Intel’s fault because of Skylake.

      I’d say the only issue I still have is 1/20 times that I wake it from sleep, the keyboard and touchpad disappear and I have to detach/reattach it (the keyboard detach still works in this state). Never happens on cold startup.

      • BurntMyBacon
      • 3 years ago

      Two surface books of note:
      i7 dGPU version – Purchased about a month after release by a distant relative. Extremely heavy use pulling double duty as a work laptop (Financial Industry) and personal laptop. Tablet gets released and reattached on average lower tens of times a day as it gets passed around.
      i5 dGPU version – Purchased about four months ago. Moderate to heavy use as a mostly personal, but sometimes work device (IT related). Dock gets released and reattached on average one to three times a day.

      Both have no apparent issues with the tablet docking mechanism and you can hold them by the tablet portion and detect no apparent give or movement in the latching mechanism.

      I had the same questions before I purchased. So I measured the i7 new and again before purchase. Finally I measured the i5 new and both models less than a month ago. The hinge was measurably (small change in resistance), but not noticeably stiffer for both when new. Interestingly, despite being different ages and the i7 version getting quite a bit more use, both normalized to about the same resistance and the i7 hasn’t changed since the second measurement. I’m inclined to agree with the break-in comment. The hinges on these don’t feel any weaker, but perhaps a little smoother.

    • RoxasForTheWin
    • 3 years ago

    If only they’d sell the GPU dock by itself, I’d be for upgrading my Surface Book dock but not replace the entire thing

      • BurntMyBacon
      • 3 years ago

      That’s an interesting thought.

      • tipoo
      • 3 years ago

      That was one of the biggest things the Surface Book excited me with, the prospect of upgradable GPU keyboards rather than buying a new system. I wonder if it’s possible with this 965M type thing.

    • swaaye
    • 3 years ago

    It would be surprising if it’s not using the new 1050 chip. That would seem to say that a cut-down GM206 has advantages over it, even in a slim machine like this.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 3 years ago

      I think the 1050 is still way too big for the size Microsoft wants this machine to be. A theoretical “GP108” with even more paring of units would probably be necessary.

      edit: a regular GTX 1050 with lower clocks might work, considering the power requirements are lower.

      further edit: I misunderstood what wa 965M is. Most of a GM206? That’s pretty fancy! A 1050 would have been fine.

      • Jeff Kampman
      • 3 years ago

      It’s a GTX 965M, according to the Microsoft Store.

        • chuckula
        • 3 years ago

        Too bad, a 14nm Pascal part would be excellent for this type of product.

        • Voldenuit
        • 3 years ago

        [quote<]It's a GTX 965M, according to the Microsoft Store.[/quote<] This is a big jump over the (purpoted) 940M in the OG Surface Book, with 2.66x the number of shaders. No Pascal, but sounds like a time to market issue. Considering the 965M is very close to a desktop 960 in terms of resources, It should handle games pretty well at 1500x1000 or 1600x900.

          • swaaye
          • 3 years ago

          Reserve judgment until the thermals and throttling are investigated.

          • BoilerGamer
          • 3 years ago

          I fail to see why it is a time to market issue when 1060 were available since early August. They likely finialized design way before either Kaby or Pascal Mobile were avaliable(May-June probably) and had production difficulty and other delays that resulted in only launching now.

            • Voldenuit
            • 3 years ago

            Do we know what the TDP on 1060 mobile parts are? 965M is estimated to be around 50W, I just don’t see the 1060(M) going that low.

            EDIT: Also worth mentioning that the 965M [url=http://wccftech.com/nvidia-gtx-965m-15-more-performance/<]had a revision earlier this year[/url<] that was supposed to improve performance and efficiency.

            • swaaye
            • 3 years ago

            1060 heats up those 15.6″ gaming notebooks with beefy dual fan cooling hardware quite well so I don’t see that being an option.

            1050 would probably be ok though.

            But it sounds like this is using GM206. The desktop GTX 960 chip. Probably downclocked a bit to be manageable in that thin chassis with little fan.

            • ImSpartacus
            • 3 years ago

            We almost never know mobile TDPs. You’ll see them on spec sheets at sites, but it’s usually an estimate. Probably a reasonable estimate, but still an estimate.

      • BoilerGamer
      • 3 years ago

      965M and a Skylake Chip, they are charging $2400 for last year’s silicon.

      • tipoo
      • 3 years ago

      The 1050 TDP was in the highest range of double digits, iirc. The Surface Book GPU was 25W or so in the first one, and they say they doubled the performance and improved the cooling here, so say 40W, very optimistically for the sake of argument…It still wouldn’t do the 1050 justice. The 965M is probably around the best they could do for the wattage.

    • End User
    • 3 years ago

    512GB / Intel Core i7 – 16GB / dGPU

    CAD $3,629.00 +tax

    • End User
    • 3 years ago

    Lets hope Microsoft figured out sleep mode.

      • morphine
      • 3 years ago

      Yeah, they were sleeping on the job there.

      • hansmuff
      • 3 years ago

      On integrated and low-config machines like the Surface I can’t give them a pass for messing it up before. I mean, ALL my desktop machines have had sleep issues from Win95-Win10. Some small niggle that would only show up after sleep. But likewise, all my work laptops from Dell to HP have never had any of those. Surface has no excuse.

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 3 years ago

      Per the Microsoft Surface team tech manuals:

      “Sleep Mode is achieved when the device runs out of power and no longer functions. Hence, the unit is asleep. To reinitialize the device, plug in and wait until the device has enough power to return to functionality.”

    • Kretschmer
    • 3 years ago

    That looks impressive (albeit it would be even more so with Pascal), but $3,000 is quite high.

    I also don’t like that 3000×2000 pixel resolution; does software play well when downscaled to 1500×1000?

    Edit: is the new GPU available with an i5 in a cheaper SKU?

      • sweatshopking
      • 3 years ago

      answer to edit: no.

      • BillyBuerger
      • 3 years ago

      [quote<]I also don't like that 3000x2000 pixel resolution; does software play well when downscaled to 1500x1000?[/quote<] From my experience, I would expect yes. Windows (like OSX) works well when you can use 200% scaling. The issue with most Windows laptops is they haven't used displays that would support 200% scaling. Most of the time you get 1080p on a 13" or smaller laptop which is more of a 125% - 150% scaling and introduces blur. I did get to play on a Dell XPS 13 with a 3200x1800 display which is similar to this thing and it looked amazing at 200% scaling. Text was a good size and things that didn't scale just doubled with no blurring. So yeah, I would expect this to look really nice.

        • Kretschmer
        • 3 years ago

        I was thinking of rending games at half rez.

      • tipoo
      • 3 years ago

      Most software I’ve used worked fine with a perfect integer scale. It’s the odd scales like 125% that have more problems, so an integer 1:2 scale of 1500×1000 should be ok.

        • Voldenuit
        • 3 years ago

        I run my 3200×1800 yoga 3 pro at 200% scaling, and while newer programs (Office, UWP) scale their UI elements just fine, older win32 programs just don’t leaving me with tiny icons unless I mod their UI (asusming the program lets me).

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