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SP 4 Core M3 vs SP3 Core i5?

MattL

New Member
Thanks for the benchmarks, my frame of mind right now is that I have an iPad Air 2 as a tablet and while I would like to have something like a Surface Pro as a "regular" tablet, I'm just wondering if the performance is good enough for a full PC, coinciding with battery life good enough to use as a tablet.

I tried an Atom Surface 3 and I just came away from it pretty disappointed, so I would hope that the m3 is noticeably better. And I wonder if that 9 hour battery life is realistic with the m3 model as the i5 reviews seem to be showing around 7.
A very valid use case. If it can manage 9 hours of battery life on the m3 (I'm skeptical since I think the screen is the biggest power draw, but you never know) that would be a huge sweet spot between slowish but full capability, cost, and battery life.

So for comparison between your Surface 3 Atom to the SP4 m3... it's like night and day:
Microsoft Corporation Surface 3 vs Microsoft Corporation Surface Pro 4 - Geekbench Browser

Geekbench
S3 Atom: 968
SP4 m3: 3164

Geekbench Multicore
S3 Atom: 2420
SP4 m3: 4652

The memory performance of the SP4 m3 is like 3x better than the S3 atom too. I think it's a pretty dramatically better system. Also as previously mentioned the SP4 SSDs are top notch so disk read/write will be significantly better.
 

MattL

New Member
Btw over on reddit a SP4 m3 user (as of today) is sharing some results...

Any SP4 Core m3 impressions yet? • /r/Surface

I asked about how much space all the default setup takes (since the m3 is limited to the 128GB SSD) and RAM usage, here was his first response

"Default setup takes 15gb, of the 118gb usable, 103gb free. Will definitely monitor ram usage!"

I'm a bit concerned about RAM since it's limited to 4GB on this model, but I suspect it's probably enough as long as you don't multi-task too crazily.
 

mva5580

Member
A very valid use case. If it can manage 9 hours of battery life on the m3 (I'm skeptical since I think the screen is the biggest power draw, but you never know) that would be a huge sweet spot between slowish but full capability, cost, and battery life.

So for comparison between your Surface 3 Atom to the SP4 m3... it's like night and day:
Microsoft Corporation Surface 3 vs Microsoft Corporation Surface Pro 4 - Geekbench Browser

Geekbench
S3 Atom: 968
SP4 m3: 3164

Geekbench Multicore
S3 Atom: 2420
SP4 m3: 4652

The memory performance of the SP4 m3 is like 3x better than the S3 atom too. I think it's a pretty dramatically better system. Also as previously mentioned the SP4 SSDs are top notch so disk read/write will be significantly better.
Well that is certainly encouraging; I was hoping it would be a substantial difference. Hmmm...tempting. It's not like an m3 SP4 w/ Type Cover is even that more expensive than an 128gb iPad Air 2 w/ case.
 

MattL

New Member
Well that is certainly encouraging; I was hoping it would be a substantial difference. Hmmm...tempting. It's not like an m3 SP4 w/ Type Cover is even that more expensive than an 128gb iPad Air 2 w/ case.
True... a bit of a price difference... say $200 or so and you are getting a tablet (+ type cover) as capable as the macbook air 13", but better screen, etc...

Obviously the iPad Air 2 will be lighter and thinner and have much more capable tablet apps of course... it's not a completely one sided comparison. But if you're considering it I'm guessing desktop level apps are more important for you?
 

mva5580

Member
True... a bit of a price difference... say $200 or so and you are getting a tablet (+ type cover) as capable as the macbook air 13", but better screen, etc...

Obviously the iPad Air 2 will be lighter and thinner and have much more capable tablet apps of course... it's not a completely one sided comparison. But if you're considering it I'm guessing desktop level apps are more important for you?
Well, it's more important in the sense that I fundamentally would just rather have a "full" computer than a tablet OS. Whether it's an "app" or a website, it doesn't really matter to me.

I'm not someone who is looking to heavily use Photoshop on these things or anything like that; I would web browse, watch media, use Office, and VERY light gaming, things that I know would even work fine on the m3 version, old/classic stuff like Baldurs Gate.

The battery life is the main thing to me really in deciding. If the m3 version could get me right around 9 hours, I'd probably get it.
 

GreyFox7

Super Moderator
Staff member
Well, it's more important in the sense that I fundamentally would just rather have a "full" computer than a tablet OS. Whether it's an "app" or a website, it doesn't really matter to me.

I'm not someone who is looking to heavily use Photoshop on these things or anything like that; I would web browse, watch media, use Office, and VERY light gaming, things that I know would even work fine on the m3 version, old/classic stuff like Baldurs Gate.

The battery life is the main thing to me really in deciding. If the m3 version could get me right around 9 hours, I'd probably get it.
Battery life is very much usage dependent. One person will get x hours and the next y hours because they use it differently. Just have a look through some of the SP3 battery life threads, it's all over the map.
 
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SRVwannab

Member
I'm considering replacing my S3 Atom with a core m SP4.
However, an i5 has plenty of horsepower for most tasks so if you wanted the lighter, fanless experience and a slight performance drop didn't mean much then it's a reasonable tradeoff.
I'm considering the same thing. I sold my SP3 about a month ago to get an SP4 when available. I missed my Surface so much that when I found a great deal for a Surface 3 w/ LTE on the local classifieds and I can't believe how much I like it.

Then I went into the Microsoft Store and played with an SP4 today. Big Mistake! The keyboard on the Surface 3 is excellent... but the keyboard on the SP4 is divine! We are talking Apple MacBook Pro in touch and feel. (IMVHO, of course!).

I like the LTE- I realize that Hotspoting is easy- but it is even easier to not have to! I would miss that with the SP4... Decisions, decisions!
 

SRVwannab

Member
I'm considering replacing my S3 Atom with a core m SP4.
However, an i5 has plenty of horsepower for most tasks so if you wanted the lighter, fanless experience and a slight performance drop didn't mean much then it's a reasonable tradeoff.
I'm considering the same thing. I sold my SP3 about a month ago to get an SP4 when available. I missed my Surface so much that when I found a great deal for a Surface 3 w/ LTE on the local classifieds and I can't believe how much I like it.

Then I went into the Microsoft Store and played with an SP4 today. Big Mistake! The keyboard on the Surface 3 is excellent... but the keyboard on the SP4 is divine! We are talking Apple MacBook Pro in touch and feel. (IMVHO, of course!).

I like the LTE- I realize that Hotspoting is easy- but it is even easier to not have to! I would miss that with the SP4... Decisions, decisions!
 

GreyFox7

Super Moderator
Staff member
Another question... is the fanless Core M more likely to get warm to the touch than an i5 with fan?
I can definitively say the Core M does not get as warm as the SP3 i5. It does warm up and is generally warmer than a Surface 3 although it seems to hold a more constant temp, probably due to the passive heat spreader in the SP4. by warm I mean comfortably tepid.
 
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