Microsoft Surface Book mid-end spec dGPU leak — NVIDIA 940M inside
In the first week of October, we witnessed the hype surrounding the first Microsoft-branded ultrabook, the Microsoft Surface Book. Everyone got excited with the announcement and it was hot news for a week. Even though the audience was impressed with the known specifications, the dedicated NVIDIA GPU that will be used was still unknown to us, as Microsoft has only revealed that they will pack a NVIDIA dedicated GPU, but not the exact model.
Recently there’s a leak revealing the dGPU that is packed in the mid-end Microsoft Surface Book. Apparently the leak is from a Reddit user that managed to sneak onto an administrator account on one of the Microsoft Surface Books in the local MS Store and shared detailed information of the dGPU used and also compared it with other dGPUs on the Internet.
The specimen mentioned above is a Microsoft Surface Book with mid-end specifications, priced USD 1,899.00 (approximately MYR 8000), which is suggested to have an Intel Core i5 and NVIDIA dGPU. The user did run GPUz tool on the Surface Book and surprisingly the Microsoft Surface Book is powered by a custom dGPU which seems very much like a NVIDIA GeForce 940M, but with 1GB of GDDR5 memory instead of the usual GDDR3 VRAM.
So with the leaked dGPU information, it led to more speculations regarding what NVIDIA dGPU will be used for the high-end Microsoft Surface Book, since most people, yours truly included, have suggested and agreed that the Surface Book will most probably feature a NVIDIA GTX 950M. If that is really going to be happen, how will the NVIDIA dGPU compare against the dGPU used in the Apple Macbook Pro? For the uninformed, the Apple Macbook Pros packs both an Intel Iris 6100 and an AMD Radeon R9 M370X 2GB of GDDR5, the latter which will be the one providing the majority of the graphics firepower.
Meanwhile on Microsoft’s side, the variant without a dGPU, or we can also call it the lower end Microsoft Surface Book, will be using an integrated Intel HD 520, while the mid-end spec will be using the enhanced 940M with 1GB DDR5 VRAM as leaked and the higher end variant which is speculated to come with the NVIDIA GTX 950M. For the purpose of comparison, I made a table with the specifications of all the previously mentioned dGPUs. Due to the reason that the NVIDIA 940M and NVIDIA GTX 950M are technically equivalent to the older NVIDIA 840M and NVIDIA 850M, I threw the two chips in to compare as well.
Based on the comparison table above, we can see the differences between all these chips. The Intel HD 520 is ranked 271 while the Intel Iris 6100 is at 272, and the Intel HD 520 should perform somewhat like the NVIDIA 820M. The difference between the AMD Radeon R9 M370X and and the NVIDIA GTX 950M is viable due the NVIDIA GTX 950M beating the AMD chip in most of the benchmarks.
So let’s start comparing the lower end Microsoft Surface Book with an Apple MacBook Pro in term of price. They are almost the same in terms of computing power but still, the Microsoft is winning because it comes with the latest Intel Skylake Intel Core i5 U series, a touch display and includes a Surface Pen.
Move on to the mid-end Microsoft Surface Book, actually the fruity camp’s MacBook Pro poses no competition for it in terms of graphics processing, but the MacBook Pro does have an advantage in processing power with its i7 CPU, as compared to Microsoft’s i5 CPU. However the Microsoft Surface Book comes with a touch-screen display, functionality as a tablet and a Surface Pen.
Lastly the higher end Microsoft Surface Book that is speculated to have a NVDIA GTX 950M discrete graphics processing unit that will take USD 2699 out of your wallet. If we spent the same amount on an Apple MacBook Pro we can get almost the same specifications, but the dGPU of the Surface Book is beefier than the dGPU of the MacBook Pro at the same price. The screen size of the MacBook Pro is slightly larger at 15″, but then let’s not forget that the higher-end Microsoft Surface Book also comes with a touch-screen display, detachable as a tablet and a Surface Pen, all things the MacBook Pro lacks.
In conclusion, based upon this leak and the simple comparison I did, we can say that Microsoft has really made good offers against the competition. The performance might not be that different, but in my opinion with all accessories and nifty features offered by the Microsoft Surface Book, it really make one have a hard time to justify getting an Apple MacBook Pro.
Pokdepinion : If I’m given the option of either the Microsoft Surface Book or an Apple MacBook Pro, I will definitely choose the Microsoft Surface Book. Windows OS work fine for me as I use it daily anyway. But if you really need the Apple Macintosh OSX environment, you might need to pick the Apple MacBook Pro after all or just install hackintosh on the Microsoft Surface Book which might make you look stupid afterwards because you will most probably lose support for the touch screen and the Surface Pen unless you dual boot.