New Microsoft Surface Book Rocks Intel Core i7 Skylake, Nvidia GTX 965M

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finngrace

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I'm kinda sad that they didn't choose to include a Core i5 variant with the performance base. I'm looking to upgrade to a Surface Book from my Surface Pro 2 next year, so I hope they include that option in the near future.
 

anonymousdude

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Kind of wished they would have used Kaby Lake and a GPU from the 10 series, but hey R&D takes time. 3:2 is kinda of odd, but the extra height is really useful for documents, spreadsheets, and the like.
 

chicofehr

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I wonder if its all glued together again making it impossible to replace a cracked screen or replace a SSD if it dies. Too expensive to replace every year or 2.

Also, I would love a 3:2 30" monitor. It would be great for web browsing and documents. Widescreen still sucks for those things IMO.
 

Xajel

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965M ? I think Mobile 1060 will be expensive for this and MS will need to adjust the clocks to lower the TDP, Mobile 1050(Ti) is not official yet so MS can't use any, + I think 1050 is just too slow compared to 1060.. 965M was the best choice for the target TDP, performance & time frame...

Naaah, I remembered that both 960M and 965M does not have any "real" successor yet.
 

Valantar

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Yeah, 'cause that GPU is meant for full resolution gaming at 3000x2000. Of course.



...that it's infinitely more practical for every single use case outside of gaming and watching 16:9 videos? More height = better for reading, writing, drawing, designing, pretty much everything you might do for actual work. And 3:2 closely mirrors actual paper for reading in tablet mode (in fact, the 13,5" size in 3:2 is very close to both A4 and US standard paper sizes).



Not to mention useful for weird fringe use cases like reading web pages. Who does that, right? 16:9 is good for video, decent for games (although I'd argue 21:9 is better for games). 3:2 is far superior for pretty much everything else. Content is nearly always vertically oriented (and many attempts to alleviate this on 16:9 displays have been made (various reading apps and such), all pretty much failures).

Kaby Lake I agree on (although the performance delta is minimal). Pascal? See below.



The 1060 has a 120W TDP. The 1050 and 1050 TI have 75W TDPs - and were launched the day before yesterday. The 965M has a 50W TDP. There is literally nothing that could replace this as of now. There'll probably be a 1040 at some point, but that's at the very least several months from now - when demand for the 1050s are slowing down, production has picked up, and thin-ish dGPU laptops are due for a refresh. Might not be until fall 2017.
 

Chris Keough

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The current surface books are available with nvidia gpus, based on a 940m if I remember correct. Still not a powerhouse gpu, but the article incorrectly states that they were limited to integrated graphics, which is untrue.

As an aside, I wonder if current sb owners could purchase the base unit, which houses the gpu, and up their graphics ability?
 

Xajel

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Bro we're talking about mobile parts, NV 10th mobile series consume much less wattage than their desktop parts, NV never released the actual mobile TDP number as they said that it varies in each OEM configuration, so basically it's an adjustable TDP which can suit the OEM designs/needs...

Some websites suggested TDP is 75W and some says 80W, we don't know actually but it's a little less or near 970M... but personally I believe it sits between 960M and 970M and leans more toward 970M... so we can say something like 965M. which was not as popular as either of 960M and 970M coz it's the newest one and it has very close TDP as 970M with performance gap a little more than the TDP.
960M was the most popular mGPU duo to TDP and performance...

Any way, most laptops that actually had the 960M didn't actually upgrade to any 10th series mGPU.. but those with 970M upgraded to 1060 and 1070 like the Razer blade.

So looking that 1060M actually have a very close TDP to both 965M and 970M, I only thought that MS decided to go for 965M instead of 1060M is duo quantity or even cost as NV wants to clear it's inventory...

indeed 1050Ti has more performance than 965M but they just released them and I think NV needs more time to create enough inventory for a mobile pinned version. the point is, the desktop part have a 75W TDP and so the mobile part might come with lower TDP... and looking how NV managed to lower the TDP of the rest of other 10 series mGPU compared to the desktop parts then a mobile 1050Ti might actually have much lower TDP than even 960M...
 

Valantar

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a) You can't compare the 9xxm series to the new 10xx for mobile series - since the new series uses equivalent GPU specs to the desktop series, and not an entirely separate hierarchy as before. The 1060 is as such in no way comparable to the 960m (in fact, a comparison to the 970m is far more apt, especially as the 50% higher clocks would at the very least nullify power consumption gains from the production process move). Just as the 980m is not a parallel to the 1080 for mobile - the 980 (non-m) for mobile is (which was a 165w card, just like the desktop version (see Notebookcheck.net)). After all, the 1060 desktop is a 120w card. There is no way the laptop version is below 80w without seriously gimping performance.

b) "personally I believe it sits between 960m and 970m." Well, sure. Personally, I believe GPUs are made of fairy dust and consume no power at all. Unrealistic beliefs like that speak of hopeful fanboyism, not actual understanding of how chip production works. Sure, the best possible binned 1060 might run below 80w with careful tuning. That doesn't mean they will ever come close to mass production at this low power consumption. That's not how mass production works.

c) Sure, there might be a ~50-60w 1050 (Ti?) for mobile, with better binning and lower clocks. But this card was, as stated previously, launched this tuesday. Sure, OEMs have known of it for a while, but nowhere near long enough ago to actually integrate them into a product. Nowhere close. Not to mention that there is no mobile version announced yet. It took Nvidia a good few months to get mobile Pascal 1060-80 out the door - there's little reason to think the 1050 will be any different.

d) the Razer Blade used to have a 970m. Now it has a 1060 - not a 1070. The Blade Pro comes with a 1070 (or 1080), but that's a 17" machine and not comparable to the 14" Blade in terms of cooling capabilities. The 1060 replaced the 970m. The 1070 replaced the 980m. The 1080 replaced the 980 (non-m) notebook. Is that hard to grasp?

e) the 965m is by now a very mature chip, which means production is likely highly optimized for power usage. Pascal is on the other hand brand new, and not optimized for anything. It's far more likely that Microsoft has ordered specially-binned <50w 965ms than that they have engineered ~70w of cooling capacity into that thin base. And as such, highly unlikely that they could fit a 1060 in there, no matter how much you might want that to be possible.
 

Valantar

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That's sort of true. On the other hand, you're comparing the Lenovo Flex - a budget notebook series at best - to the premium Surface series. There are more things in this world that cost money than just hardware specs. Design, materials, build quality, display quality, durability, size and weight, hinge quality, battery life, keyboard quality, hardware innovation, and all sorts of other features. It just depends what you value. Personally, I'd never buy a $500 15,6" laptop, even though you could find one with an i7 for that price - I'd expect both build quality, display quality, keyboard quality and battery life to be utter sh*t, which simpli isn't good enough for me. Especially build quality is a "feature" that seems to be invisible to most people, although it's crucial to how the product feels and appears in use - especially after being used for a while.

Also, the 256GB limit is probably due ta a) artificial limitations to avoid cannibalizing premium device sales, b) using a low-cost (dram-less?) SSD series that tops out at 256GB, or c) the realization that adding another $200 to the price of such a device lands it in competition with far more attractive devices.
 

Cypherdude

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UPDATE #2: It is extremely difficult to even replace the battery on the Surface Pro 4 line. I would only attempt it if required to.
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UPDATE: It is extremely difficult to upgrade even the M.2 drive on the Surface Pro 4 line. I would not even attempt it.
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One thing I don't like about Microsoft's Surface line is it is difficult to upgrade the M.2. The RAM is impossible to upgrade because it is soldered in.

Most Lenovo's are easy to upgrade. The Lenovo Flex 4 is also easy to upgrade. You can upgrade almost everything. If you were to buy a cheaper Lenovo Flex 4 with only 8 GB RAM and a cheap 1 TB HDD, you could replace the RAM and HDD with a top of the line Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 16GB Single DDR4 2400 MT/s (PC4-19200) SODIMM 260-Pin Memory stick and Samsung 850 PRO - 512GB - 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-7KE512BW).

If you wanted to, you could even replace the cheap HDD with a top of the line Samsung 850 PRO - 2TB - 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-7KE2T0BW).

Regarding Lenovo quality, we own a Lenovo Z560 and a Lenovo G560 which I bought 5.5 years ago. Both still work. Both batteries still work. Both keyboards are very solid. Hopefully Lenovo has kept up the quality on their laptops, especially their Flex 4 line.
 

Cypherdude

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That MSI Titan is for a completely different market segment. It's meant for serious mobile gamers. The Surface line is meant for people who need a light mobile tablet. Students, realtors, onsite architects, onsite construction managers, car salesmen, artists who want to be mobile, perhaps even house or car shoppers, etc..., would use the Surface line.

MSI does not seem to make any tablets or convertibles.
 


I like the shot of the Mad Cat I was a big MW fan even read the Battle tech books.

Yep you are completely right the MSI is a Gaming Notebook big time. The thing is many times the parent or grand parent is buying the notebook to help their kid or grand kid with a killer notebook for school. Of course the kid tells them what the best model for them to buy is. Which do you think a student would recommend to the parent or grand parent to get them. I've seen it numerous times that I have to JSMH.
 

Cypherdude

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They were also called Timber Wolves. There used to be MechWarrior 2 tournaments played through Kali. Back then, most software could not connect through the Internet so you had to use the Kali emulator. MechWarrior 2 could only connect to other players on a local network through a CAT 5E cable. Kali emulated a local network but allowed you to play over the Internet. Most players used a 56K dial-up connection. A few used cable modem. The lag for 56K depended on which service provider you used. Mine was pretty good (low). Back then AOL was the main dial-up ISP. Their lag was so bad I had to change to a smaller ISP. Kali worked pretty well because there were hundreds of players and large tournaments. One thing I liked about MechWarrior 2 is that with Kali you only had to pay a single $20 fee. Then you could play as much as you liked. Today, I think you have to pay a monthly fee which is expensive.

For its time, MechWarrior 2 was advanced. That's why it was so popular. It even had a professional soundtrack. This was my favorite song, Soundtrack - 11 (or 12) - "Pyre Light."

I made some feature requests to Lenovo for their Flex 4 and later Flex 5 line. I doubt they'll listen but the requests are common sense. I asked them to switch to 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2's because they are much faster. Because they are smaller, I asked them to use 2 M.2's instead of one 2.5" SSD. Lenovo probably doesn't know it yet, but it's time to ditch the 2.5" SSD's and switch to M.2's. When they'll do it is anyone's guess.

If you want to see my desktop system, here it is. See the first and last minute. I don't game anymore.
 
I think I played all the series I was so bummed when MS bought the rights I new that it would kill it. I remember more of Mech warrior 4 I loved ambushing with a Assaultmech. Something about a 100 ton Mech popping up behind you that can ruin your whole day, lol. I know you said you don't game any more but have you tried the new MW online game it is free?

Part of the Chinese culture is they only expect solutions to come from certain individuals and if your not one of them they may not take you seriously. Even when they ask for feed back they are basically looking for confirmation of their existing premise. So unless you speak Mandarin you may not get your ideas seriously considered. Plus the M.2s cost more since they are "HOT" right now. Of course it seems all SSDs are costing more there must be a nand shortage. Or the rise before the "special sale" prices for Black Friday.
 

Valantar

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Yep. Surfaces (and essentially any other thin-and-light) are nigh on impossible to upgrade, and extremely difficult to repair. You're completely right. That's part of the price you pay for extreme compactness combined with high quality materials and design.

And yeah, sure, you could add those parts to a Flex 4. But why would you? Sure, you'd then have a relatively cheap laptop with a large, mid-to-high-performance SSD and enough RAM (although, does it only have one DIMM slot? So only single channel? Ugh.). On the other hand, you just spent 1/3rd of the price of your laptop on upgrading it - while brand new. And you'd still be stuck with middling battery life, an icky plastic construction (that at least by my standards neither feels good in-hand nor will be durable enough), an uncalibrated screen and high weight. No dGPU either (if you compare it with the Surface Book). Not to mention that 14" is simply too large for a tablet, especially at 1,7kg (there's a Yoga 2 Pro in my household, and even that's too heavy and on the large side for a tablet).

I do care for upgradeability - my laptop is a 2010 Thinkpad X201, that's seen multiple RAM upgrades, WiFi card and SSD swaps, not to mention thorough cleanings of the cooler and TIM swaps. That has extended its lifetime significantly, for sure. But the main reason I haven't upgraded is that its keyboard is fantastic, it's a very handy size, and it's held up amazingly to wear and tear due to its amazing build quality. I can lift it by a screen corner with no hinge response or panel flex. It's hit the floor a couple of times without even visible damage. It's travelled around the world with me. With a little cleaning it would look new outside of worn keys on the keyboard. No plasticky consumer-grade non-premium laptop would ever last like that, and feel as good as new afterwards.


So you want NVMe m.2 SSDs in $900 laptops. And you say 256GB is a useless size. Sure, there is the Intel 600p, which costs less than $200 for a 512GB. But it also barely outperforms a SATA drive. Anything else adds another $100 or so. Not to mention that NVMe drives have little to no utility in any laptop outside of high-end gaming rigs or workstations. The perceptible difference between a Flex with a decent SATA ssd and a 960 EVO would be very, very small in ordinary usage. And you can be sure most consumers wouldn't be willing to pay the premium required. Most laptop shoppers won't know (or care about) the difference between "512GB SSD" and "512GB NVMe SSD" on spec sheets, and would pick the $100(+) cheaper model >99% of the time. NVMe will trickle down to lower-end laptops, but it will take time, and premiums will be charged. For a good while yet. I get that you want this, but please be realistic. Consumer laptop margins are already close to where makers barely survive. While most of us probably wish for cheaper hardware, I for one don't believe bankrupting laptop makers or retailers is the way to go to achieve this.
 
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