The biggest competitors for Microsoft's Surface Book premium convertibles don't have discrete graphics chips. While that limits their 3D performance, it also means they can be thinner, lighter, and longer-running. Now Microsoft has apparently decided that folks who have no need for the standard model's GeForce graphics can have a Book as well. The company has new listings up on its web store for models of the Surface Book that skip the discrete graphics card.
The Surface Book models that skip the GeForce appear to be the same externally as their dGPU-equipped siblings. They do drop a tiny bit of weight—some four-hundredths of a pound—likely just the weight of the graphics card itself. They also drop in price, slightly. Microsoft asks $2999 for the top-end model of the Surface Book without a GeForce. That's $300 less than the top-end model with a Geforce GTX 965M, and nets you a Core i7-6600U, 16GB of LP-DDR3 memory, and a 1TB SSD. This move also drops the price of the cheapest configuration (with a Skylake Core i5, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD) to $1299.
Microsoft improved the graphics performance of the Surface Book back in October by creating a different keyboard base with a GeForce GTX 965M inside, and that was a nice step up over the GeForce GTX 940M-derivative used in the original base. Still, some people just don't have any use for the extra grunt that a mobile GeForce offers over Intel's perfectly serviceable IGP. Dropping the discrete GPU will make the machine run cooler and longer, if nothing else.