To Book or Not to Book...

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Book' started by ChiGGz, Oct 18, 2015.

  1. ChiGGz

    ChiGGz Member

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    I'm really thinking hard about getting the 512GB 16GB i7 Surface Book.

    One of my thoughts was, that I wanted a computer for some medium level gaming. My Surface Pro 3 i7 512 does not do this job that greatly, and I didn't expect it to. But looks like the dGPU on the Surface Book might actually be a worthy gaming machine.

    So my question is, if I were to price out a desktop that was similar to the power of the Surface Book i7 512, how much do you think that might be?
    My train of thought being, if I buy a gaming desktop, would I be saving alot more money than selling my SP3 i7 and getting the Surface Book? I could justify paying an extra $1k or so. But $2k is a stretch.

    Thanks!
    -ChiGGz
     
  2. Johnny365

    Johnny365 Member

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    dGPU in Surface Book will allow slightly better, but it won't be anything like desktop or dedicated gaming laptops. NOTHING like it.
     
  3. Cobalt Wraith

    Cobalt Wraith New Member

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    There really isn't a simple answer to this question... If all you're looking at is performance, you might actually be in the wrong place, but I'll try and answer as best I can in my opinion since I've had the same questions about each version of the Surface since before the launch of the first Surface Pro.

    From my research, almost regardless of which tier of Surface you are getting, a desktop of very roughly equivalent performance will cost you on average about a third of that model of Surface Book, based on variables such as self built or prebuilt and what you want to call equivalent performance. Keep in mind here that we don't have any benchmarks on the Surface Book yet, although from my experience the Surface line tends to out-perform it's hardware by the theoretical numbers. If we look at a performance laptop, one of again roughly equivalent performance tends to run from half to two-thirds the price, depending on how picky you are about getting a brand that will last more than two years. That being said, the Surface line is about being far more versatile than any of those devices, so start adding in high-resolution monitors, stand-alone stylus pads/tablets and other accessories needed to give you an equivalent experience (ignoring weight and size somehow) and the price might get a whole lot closer to what you're paying anyway.

    As for my own thoughts on which one to get after having been down this path already three separate times (and saying it that way doesn't even describe the wrangling I've done in my own head trying to decide what I really want, why does Microsoft keep doing this to me?!?), I have after much deliberation actually decided to go with the i5-8GB-256GB-w/dGPU model rather than a higher model for every day use and casual gaming, since I see it as the best values for the price out of the lot. After buying the biggest baddest Surface Pro I could afford for three generations in a row, I've finally reconciled to the fact that I buy Surface brand devices because I love the versatility, not because I'm trying to get 80 fps out of the latest game on decent settings. I've sold computers to consumers then to large businesses for the better part of ten years, and a balanced machine is more important to me than paying out the nose to hit the bleeding edge of tech. I guess what I'm getting at is that any of us that are still shelling out top dollar for a Surface for gaming might still be delusional. That being said, I feel like the Surface Book will certainly hold it own for casual gaming, and I am excited to be replacing my main PC with this very neat device.

    P.S. Apologies for going longer than intended, hopefully the second paragraph at least was helpful in answering your question.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015
  4. Cobalt Wraith

    Cobalt Wraith New Member

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    My Device:
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    As an additional thought on performance, my experience says that the extra 8 GB of RAM is going to make a negligible difference for 95% of the ways a Surface Book will be used. Does anyone have additional insight on this? The new hard drive tech seems fast enough to me that I feel like the device will have a fairly reduced need for RAM compared to PCs the way we are used to them.
     
  5. Grumpy2

    Grumpy2 Member

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    I am not an expert here. Far from it. I think the first thing you need to do is some thorough research.
    I have watched the launch of this product with Panos Panay as well as reading forums and reviews. It does appear that this device is Not a gaming machine. It is good for light casual gaming and that is about it. Not for serious intensive gaming. This device is more for Enterprise and I think that is the market it is aimed at.
    But I am not an expert so I could be wrong. We will just have to wait until it is released at see the tech reviews. I would suggest you hold off for a while.
     
  6. mva5580

    mva5580 Member

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    The Surface Book is not going to be a great gaming machine. The dGPU is not that powerful. You're not paying for power in this device, you're paying for 1) Form factor, 2) Build quality, and 3) a high res touchscreen with good pen capability. If you don't overly care about those things, you shouldn't even consider buying this.

    For the price of the i7/512gb Surface Book you could get a REALLY good desktop gaming PC. Hell for $2,700 you could buy a great Gaming PC and another supplementary device for portable use, like an iPad or something. Or, if it sounds like an option that could work for you, you could get the new Dell XPS 15 that comes with a real quad core i7 (remember, Surface devices are dual core,) 16gb RAM, 512gb SSD, and a 2gb GTX 960M for $1,700 (1080p screen) and it would be A LOT better for gaming than the $2,700 Surface Book.

    Basically I'm saying if you're hoping this $2,700 machine will get you a great gaming experience, you're going to be disappointed.
     
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  7. bamaster

    bamaster Member

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    I agree that this device is not directly pitched as a gaming rig. Like others have said, casual gaming should be fine.

    I think the Surface line has always been targeting the enterprise. When I was in corporate IT, we had two basic laptops... a "standard" config and an "engineering" config. The latter included dedicated graphics for Photoshop/Illustrator and AutoCAD users. It was non-standard to build a tower desktop with heavy horsepower, but it that was a rare exception.

    With the dock and a couple external monitors, the Surface Book seems to meet nearly all of the needs of basic and power users. I think that's how to look at this device. It's a Dell/HP/Lenovo/Toshiba killer. Marketing it against the Macbook is neat but I think ultimately just marketing. Mac loyalists who are in deep in the Apple ecosystem aren't going to abandon their walled garden. But companies, schools, government offices, hospitals, etc. buy hardware in volume with SLAs. This game plan supports the Windows 10 & Office 365 strategy.

    So if you want a gaming rig, get one of those, which may not save you any money but you'll get the performance you're looking for. But if you want a true "all in one" device that meets 95% of the needs of 95% of the people, go with the Surface Book.

    Full disclosure... I ordered a i7/512/16 Surface Book to replace my Dell XPS13 (2015) i7/512/8. Mainly because I want (not need) the dedicated graphics and 16 GB RAM. And there's the "cool factor" of that hinge I like too. hehe
     
  8. callihan_44

    callihan_44 Member

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    I wouldn't buy the surface book for gaming, maybe for a quick game but not sustained for hours....for the price of the high end surface book you could get a 15.6" gaming laptop with ALOT more power under the hood and with way better cooling, it will be heavier though and battery life laughable compared to surface book. I have a sager np8651 15.6, it's the thin version with I7 quadcore, NVidia 970 3gb . Normal web browsing - light tasks on the intel gpu maybe 5 hrs battery life.
     
  9. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Gamers are a unique breed, they got game and they will try their game on anything they can install in on. It's a challenge, and they take pride in their successes... although not everyone gets the same satisfaction level. It might be a bit unfair to tease gamers with a line like ... but you can run games on it... the mere mention sends visions of sugar plumbs dancing in their heads or ninjas battling or whatever ...

    I think Panos was pretty honest though, if, in a subtle way. "it will run League of Legends". I looked up the requirements for LoL, it doesn't take a lot. It looks to me like it would run on the lowest SB i5 with integrated GPU. He didn't give anything away there... we still haven't a clue about the dGPU capabilities but he didn't promise you a rose garden or a game with demanding requirements.
     
  10. BearFlag

    BearFlag Member

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    I'm kind of going back and forth on this myself. I pre-order the i5 dGPU model (best bang for buck in my opinion) but with tax that would still put me over $2K. From what I have read this GPU is better than Intel Iris GPU but worse than most of the Nvidia GPUs found in other 2015 laptops (Analysis of Surface Book GPU • /r/Surface). I think you will be fine gaming at a 720p resolution but not at the native resolution.

    I think Panos' presentation about the dGPU was a bit misleading when he said the Xbox team worked with Nvidia to design it because it gave the impression that it was going to be a great dGPU. In actuality I think they helped design it by putting it in the keyboard, that's all.

    Therefore do you guys think paying over $2000 for a premium laptop that can handle light gaming and has cool design (ie detachable clipboard) worth it?
     
  11. ChiGGz

    ChiGGz Member

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    I agree with what most of you are saying. Again, I'm a medium gamer with medium hardware requirements. Seeing as how my SP3 runs LoL and the other games I play at lower settings, I can imagine the Surface Book being a definite "gaming" upgrade and fitting my gaming needs. Question is how much better? which inevitably leads back to, should I get a mid-level gaming desktop and keep my SP3, or sell it and get the Surface Book for of course a premium in $.

    But it seems the big question is how good is the dGPU and that won't be known until people get there hands on the product and do some benchmarking. Makes sense.
     
  12. mva5580

    mva5580 Member

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    Again if you are willing to spend $2,700 on the Surface Book, that amount of money would not get you a "mid-level" gaming desktop. It would be high end, easily.

    Hell I would get the i7/16gb/256gb Surface Pro 4 before I would get the $2,700 Surface Book. The SP4 i7 comes with the Iris Graphics and at this point I don't think there is going to be much of a difference between that and the GPU in the Book. Close to $1,000 cheaper for very similar performance.

    If the form factor of the SB is not the be-all-end-all deciding factor for you, then I see very little reason to buy it. You could get much more power for cheaper.
     

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