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So what is the real impetus to upgrade to 4?

Good advice. I think I just need to spend the extra and enjoy having the newer model with upgrades rather than buying last year model and always wondering. Thx!
 
What I am seeing are no significant upgrades. It's almost akin to Apple's "S" devices. The SP4 is almost a Surface Pro 3S if you think about it. No next-gen technology. Just some slight improvements, not sure if it's worth an immediate upgrade.

With regards to the resolution, I am very surprised MS keeps increasing it and upping the pixel count on the nearly same dimension screen. The default res. setting, I feel most would agree, is already way too small to view comfortably. I have to set mine to 1440x900, and I have good eyesight. So, other than graphic design purposes, I don't see why they keep increasing it.
For developer types like myself, "evolutionary" aside, the jump from 8GB RAM to 16GB RAM was, is a big thing. I enjoy the 2-in-1 factor, but my primary use case is as a full notebook replacement. Airports and airplanes are a breeze with these things.
 

ChrisPanzer

Active Member
The SP4 m3 will have significantly better performance than the S3 in fact I'm considering dumping my S3 for the SP4 m3. You're getting all the other goodness of the SP4 as well for that 200. I'll mention the PCIe 3.0 SSD in the SP4, this is a significant performance booster in itself over the SP3 and just smokes the stodgy eMMC in the Surface 3. Lastly if you get a lesser model, whenever there's a lag or a whiring fan you'll wonder if you should have gotten the SP4. If you get the SP4 you know you got the best available at the time. That's a good place to start.
"Significantly better performance", as in opening Adobe Acrobat in 1.2 seconds instead of 1.5 seconds? Firing up Excel in 3.2 sec. instead of 4.4? Saving a file in 0.54 seconds instead of .60? Unless you're maxing out this technology with strenuous, complex graphical-intense programs, most of us will not even notice the performance upgrade.

Vast majority of folks use their PC's/laptops/tablets for Office, some web applications, and casual browsing. How will jumping from 8GB RAM to 16GB have any noticeable affects on apps like that?

Unless you're a niche customer that uses his/her SP for a very specific purpose, I feel SP3 v Sp4 will feel nearly identical to the casual user.
 
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GreyFox7

Super Moderator
Staff member
"Significantly better performance", as in opening Adobe Acrobat in 1.2 seconds instead of 1.5 seconds? Firing up Excel in 3.2 sec. instead of 4.4? Saving a file in 0.54 seconds instead of .60? Unless you're maxing out this technology with strenuous, complex graphical-intense programs, most of us will not even notice the performance upgrade.

Vast majority of folks use their PC's/laptops/tablets for Office, some web applications, and casual browsing. How will jumping from 8GB RAM to 16GB have any noticeable affects on apps like that?

Unless you're a niche customer that uses his/her SP for a very specific purpose, I feel SP3 v Sp4 will feel nearly identical to the casual user.
My comment was about the Surface 3 Atom not Surface Pro 3. If you use a S3 Atom then an SP3 you'll notice the difference immediately. The core m SP4 should give the same type of experience as SP3 compared to S3 Atom. For example web page loading, something most everyone does, is way faster, you might even say WOW. two main differences since the wireless chipset is the same and download speed is pretty much the same. CPU/GPU speed and disk speed. The disk in S3 Atom is eMMC (comparatively slow), SP3 SSD (fast), SP4 PCIe 3.0 SSD (super fast). Geekbench S3 Atom x7-z8700 1025/3494 vs SP4 core-m3-6y30 2485/4749.
 

james_duffin

New Member
My S3 Atom is the perfect portable form factor for my light office needs. However it's slow enough opening and saving word documents to be annoying. Large PDF files are slow to render too so I can't annotate them as easily as I'd like to, unlike my SP3. The Atom S3 doesn't agree with my tablet and phone charger either so there's no benefit in micro usb charging. I always carry the separate S3 plug anyway. Prefer fanless so am considering selling both if the core m SP4 meets my performance needs.
 

kristalsoldier

Well-Known Member
Most of you are saying no need to upgrade models from the sp3, except for cover and pen are worth while enhancements . How about if your getting in to the surface for the first time. I was thinking about either going with the sp3 i3 with sp4 cover. Or going with the sp4 m3 model. Money has influence on decision since I'm already getting up there in my budget. I really want to use this for 80% tablet media consumption use and 20% productivity with Ms office applications. Any suggestions?
Well, if you don't have a SP3 and are buying into the Surface Pro line, then, of course, the SP4 is an excellent buy - and it is the latest tech available. The same argument and logic applies to those who have the SP1 and SP2. But for SP3 owners, the logic and argument is not necessarily absent but is certainly less persuasive.
 

hughlle

Super Moderator
Staff member
My S3 Atom is the perfect portable form factor for my light office needs. However it's slow enough opening and saving word documents to be annoying. Large PDF files are slow to render too so I can't annotate them as easily as I'd like to, unlike my SP3. The Atom S3 doesn't agree with my tablet and phone charger either so there's no benefit in micro usb charging. I always carry the separate S3 plug anyway. Prefer fanless so am considering selling both if the core m SP4 meets my performance needs.
The pdf thing is a big one for me. On the S3 I cannot simply quick scroll through a 600 page pdf (school books) and stop when I see I'm where I need to be, because until I stop, the text is just blur because the S3 cannot render it while scrolling. Not an issue on the sp3. The S3 has serious issues that reviews seemed to glance over.
 

GreyFox7

Super Moderator
Staff member
The pdf thing is a big one for me. On the S3 I cannot simply quick scroll through a 600 page pdf (school books) and stop when I see I'm where I need to be, because until I stop, the text is just blur because the S3 cannot render it while scrolling. Not an issue on the sp3. The S3 has serious issues that reviews seemed to glance over.
All the Atom's family and ARM family devices are pretty much the same and in fact S3 is at the upper end of performance in that class of devices. This is the norm for low end stuff and if that's all you know you dot know or expect any different. The same could be said comparing a dual core to a quad core with the right workload or quad core to eight core. That's what your paying for as you move up the ladder.

At some point for certain tasks the extra performance doesn't mean anything... rendering in .000001 seconds vs .000002 is twice as fast but you wont be able to tell. but it would matter if you are doing the right workload.
 

go88mph

New Member
I recently was able to purchase a SP3 i5 model brand new with Windows 10 preloaded for $600. It comes Tuesday and I've debated keeping it or returning it. Battery life is very important to me and these days I consume data more than have to work on my tablet/laptop.

Therefore, I spent time playing with the SP4 at best buy as I'm considering the m3 instead. Here are some of my observations: I like the thicker bezel on the SP3 and how it feels in the hand even though it is notably thicker & on paper heavier. I don't believe I have fat thumbs, but with the thinner bezel the SP4 kept registering my thumb and zoomed when I was trying to scroll. Holding the SP4 along the bezel to prevent this was uncomfortable. After close to a hour the i5 stayed cool and the fan never came on while using edge. The new display was sharp and next to one SP3, it made that SP3 whites appear warm and whites yellowish in appearance. That said, next to another SP3 on display, the difference was not as apparent from my unprofessional eyes.
 
"Significantly better performance", as in opening Adobe Acrobat in 1.2 seconds instead of 1.5 seconds? Firing up Excel in 3.2 sec. instead of 4.4? Saving a file in 0.54 seconds instead of .60? Unless you're maxing out this technology with strenuous, complex graphical-intense programs, most of us will not even notice the performance upgrade.

Vast majority of folks use their PC's/laptops/tablets for Office, some web applications, and casual browsing. How will jumping from 8GB RAM to 16GB have any noticeable affects on apps like that?

[snip]
It won't, but for development work, including using virtual machines and doing large compiles, it does tremendously.
 

polbit

Member
It won't, but for development work, including using virtual machines and doing large compiles, it does tremendously.
I cannot find the article now, but one of the big tech sites did a good comparison of various memory configurations. Their conclusion was that besides VMs which obviously need to reserve good chunks of RAM, there was no large performance gain as it is from 4Gb to 8Gb in any major application. Couple that with the super fast SSD in SP4, and outside of a heavy developer usage, I don't see a big benefit.

One exception that I can think of is R (the statistical language/environment). It has to hold all datasets in memory, so the more the merrier.
 
I cannot find the article now, but one of the big tech sites did a good comparison of various memory configurations. Their conclusion was that besides VMs which obviously need to reserve good chunks of RAM, there was no large performance gain as it is from 4Gb to 8Gb in any major application. Couple that with the super fast SSD in SP4, and outside of a heavy developer usage, I don't see a big benefit.

One exception that I can think of is R (the statistical language/environment). It has to hold all datasets in memory, so the more the merrier.
Big VMs with WebsFear [sic], Oracle or DB2 in them, plus application software take 4-8GB RAM. That with regular apps running I bump up against 8GB on my i7, 512GB SP3 all the time.
 
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