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Upgrade Questions & Guidance

I currently have a SP3, i7 256GB, 8GB Ram. I am in the beginnings of an MBA program and was thinking of upgrading. I make a 6 figure salary and company pays tuition, so not a huge deal after selling SP3. Just pointing out that while money is of course important, I'm not pinching pennies. At time I purchased had also just won $5,000 in a contest. That's why I got the i7 although my use case didn't really seem to necessitate it.

Have some questions about upgrading. Was thinking of going for the SP4 i5 8GB Ram. Wondering how it compares in power to my i7 SP3. Will I notice a difference? The most intensive things I do are browsing with lots of tabs open, and heavy Microsoft Office work - having quite a few excel spreadsheets open, MS Project, etc. And at my desk usually docked with a 1440p external display, 1080p external display, and the Surface display. Would 16GB be overkill for me?

Already purchased the new type cover with fingerprint which is AMAZING compared to the old one, which I found unusable, poor response for me on the trackpad. Listed my SP3 for sale as well, but not my dock. Does the new dock have any advantages over the old one, besides not having to actually dock the device? Should I also include in my sale and buy the new one? What is the difference besides the obvious? Potentially interested in a 4K display if that matters for which dock to go with.

My interests for upgrading are mainly 1. I am a sucker for resolution upgrades - love as sharp a screen as I can get 2. Take a lot of notes with pen and interested in the new improved pen 3. sucker for having latest and greatest 4. interested in 4k display and SP3 doesn't seem to widely support at 60hz. 5. Like how screen slightly larger but lighter/thinner form factor.

While upgrades don't seem revolutionary, figure after sale my upgrade costs won't be too high. Should be able to get education discount, plus 10% cash back from using Apple Pay with Discover so potentially 20% off MSRP. Plus selling i7 and potentially getting i5.


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Staff member
Easy one out of the way first, you don't need 16GB of RAM.
A bit of hyperbole, if you have a spreadsheet that's bigger than will fit in 8GB of RAM you're just doing it wrong. :)

The new dock has two DP ports (although scuttlebutt says it don't work so hot just yet) so if you plan on using two external monitors it would be the better way (once its all sorted out). Otherwise it's more compact and for using the pen old dock probably gets in the way.

I doubt you'll notice much difference between the SP3 i7 and SP4 i5 or if you did the SP4 i5 might seem faster but that's my gut talking.


I have an SP3 i7 and SP4 i5 and the SP4 seems faster than the SP3. No measurements, but it seems better. And, so far, it is much less prone to having issues of not coming out of sleep or crashing. The i7 Sp3 was terrible in this regard (which is why I upgraded). Every day or two it would die on me. And I went through five of them under warranty!