Purchasing adivice needed (4300u 128GB 4gb ram VS. [USED] 4200u 256GB 8gb ram)

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro 2' started by Devolver, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. Devolver

    Devolver New Member

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    Hello I hope I am not making a rethread of a previously discussed topic.

    I am intend to buy an SP2, or if at all possible a similar device with similar specifications.

    I have written an introductory thread here

    To summarize I am an electronics engineering student so it will have to run simulations, math, computation and compiling software, Like Spice, matlab/simulink, PScad etcetera.
    I intend to use the stylus for schematics and possibly note taking primarily.
    For fun I'll probably play a few games and youtube, and when browsing I tend to have multiple tabs open(along with various other programs).

    Given that I have not found anything on the market that is comparable to the SP2 in regards to hardware specs and functionality within the same price range I have no other devices in consideration.

    Now for my dilemma, I can either purchase a new 128GB model with a 4300u chip with no accessories from the Microsoft store for approximately 1285$
    I know it is outrageous, but in my country electronics are expensive.

    The other option is used SP2 256GB model with lot number 1345, so I assume it is the old 4200u chip but 8gb ram with type 2 cover keyboard for 1465$
    It was purchased on the 23 of January at a retail store, so it has hardly been used.

    1. Question I guess is obvious. Which one would you guess would suit my needs best, and is worth the money, in regards to the info I have given.

    2. Should I be looking at another windows machine with similar form factor other than the SP2 Pro?

    3. Is the 4200u more failure prone than the 4300u?

    4. Is there still a problem with some units turning on by themselves?

    I hope someone can help me, and I apologise beforehand if a similar thread has been made, I could not find anything in the search box
     
  2. Ruffles

    Ruffles Active Member

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    Get the 256/8. You'll notice 4 extra gigs of ram much more than the measly speed bump of the CPU.
     
  3. Devolver

    Devolver New Member

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    Thanks for the reply, mind if you answer some follow up questions?
    what about the extra features of the new 4300 chip? I know that they are not all utilized by the SP2, but I was thinking along the lines of the optimized virtualization in the 4300u

    Will the 4300 not be in anyway superior for graphic heavy software, or is most of the load handling by the 4400 graphics chip?
     
  4. munakib

    munakib New Member

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    I have the 4gb 4200u and I can tell you, I should have taken the 8gb version cause IE/Chrome just gobble up ram like no ones businezz.

     
  5. Philtastic

    Philtastic Active Member

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    Given what you have said as your options, I would recommend the 8 GB RAM 4200U because you will want the extra RAM for your purposes. The 4300U is only mildly faster (maybe 15%) but, if you can't get the 8 GB RAM version, the lack of RAM will probably slow you down more than any gains from the faster processor. The HD 4400 has a 10% higher clockspeed on the 4300U but, again, given those programs you list, RAM is probably a higher priority, especially if you run a few of those programs simultaneously or work with large files or huge arrays. The 4300U has extra security features which probably won't be all that important to you and virtualization optimizations which might be important for you (I don't know since I've never used virtualization - you should probably determine if you will use much virtualization in your work).
     
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  6. Devolver

    Devolver New Member

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    Thank you very, very much, your replies. You have all been most helpful.

    I have on final question though about the chips

    I realize that the SP2 is not meant as a gaming device, and I fully intend to use it for work and study primarily, but does the 4300u chip have any advantage at all when it comes to gaming? There are a few games out there that rely more on CPU than GPU after all.

    Once again thank you for all your replies.
     
  7. Philtastic

    Philtastic Active Member

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    Possibly, from what I've read, maybe 10-20% performance boost in games. You'll still be running most modern games on low-medium settings and 720p unless they're less demanding and/or indie games. I have the 4300U and I run a modded Skyrim with much higher res textures and more detailed models with other settings on low and 720p and it is quite playable. Torchlight 2, on the other hand, runs 1080p max details (minus AA) and 45-60 fps. XCOM: Enemy Within runs around 20-35 fps at low-med details (I use low but turn up textures and effects to high) at 720p but that's a turn-based game so I don't mind the choppiness. Civilization V runs medium details 1080p at roughly 30 fps (didn't really track frames on this one since it's also turn-based and fps seemed good enough). All of these ran roughly the same on my previous 4200U. Consider that, at 30 fps, a 10-20% increase would result in 33-36 fps. The difference might be more significantly felt if you're below 30 fps (eg. 20 fps goes to 22 - that would feel markedly better but still crappy) but the difference between the 4200U and 4300U would not really let you bump up settings such that the 4200U is basically just as good as the 4300U.
     
  8. Devolver

    Devolver New Member

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    The advice here has been invaluable, thanks to all of you. I intend to go through with my purchase, Hopefully the it won't have to many serious flaws, and believe that the seller is genuinely selling it due to unfamiliarity with windows as a mac user.

    On another note I am often surprised that mac users are even aware of the SP line, it seems so far from their comfort zone.
     
  9. godson594

    godson594 Active Member

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    We spoke on PM but i'll post here too in case it's helpful to anyone else.

    I would take more ram over the slight processor bump any day. I say this because using a machine with 4GB ram for solidworks always gave me out of memory problems when trying to run other stuff in background. With 8GB I don't see that issue.

    I had two 4200u units that got a creaky screen - My 4300u screen seems to be perfect so far - Take that with a grain of salt, there are a lot of people with 4200u and no screen problems.

    I don't notice any real speed difference between the 4200 and 4300 - Unless you are sitting there running benchmark software I doubt ANYONE notices.

    Good luck!
     
  10. mtalinm

    mtalinm Active Member

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    Ditto, I do a lot of Stata work (not unlike Matlab) and the 8G of memory is invaluable.
     
  11. ericpelleg

    ericpelleg Member

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    I had a 4200 8GB model that needed to be replaced. I got an 8GB model with a 4300U. Graphics performance is about 10% better. Get the 8GB 4200U, the ram will be much more useful than a 10% performance increase.
     
  12. Devolver

    Devolver New Member

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    Well its done I have ordered the 256 model, can't wait for it to get here. Thank you all for your advice, I am a bit surprised that no one gave recommendation to the faster processor.
     

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