Microsoft just revealed the Surface Book i7, a new and improved version of the original Surface Book which was released last year. The new version of the 2-in-1 notebook comes with longer battery life, bumped up performance and a $2,399 starting price.
At its basic configuration, the Surface Book i7 comes with an Intel Core i7 “Skylake" processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage. Some may be a bit irked that Microsoft is still using last year’s Skylake chip instead of the current Kaby Lake processor, but the biggest improvement really is the Surface Book i7’s GPU. The laptop now comes with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 965M GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. This allows the new Surface Book to push out 1.9 teraflops of graphics performance doubling what the older model is capable of, according to ZDNet.
Although that’s a huge and significant upgrade in graphics performance, it wouldn’t be surprising that some would still be disappointed. The GTX 965M is already an aging GPU, and Nvidia has already announced the GeForce GTX 1050 and 1050i for desktop computers, as pointed out by PCMag. The problem here is that Nvidia hasn’t announced the laptop version of the GTX 1050/1050i yet, so Microsoft isn’t entirely at fault.
Since Microsoft added the GTX 965M, the Surface Book i7 also comes with an additional fan to keep it cool. Even though the new version of the Surface Book looks the same as last year’s model, the addition of another fan made the Surface Book i7’s keyboard hump just a bit thicker.
The new version of the Surface Book also comes with a larger battery, allowing the device to last up to 16 hours (in laptop mode) on a single charge — 30 percent more than what the original was capable of. However, there’s no word yet on how long its battery life is in tablet mode.
The addition of the extra fan, a bigger battery and the better GPU also makes the Surface Book i7 a bit heavier. When attached to the Performance Base (keyboard), Microsoft’s 2-in-1 now weighs 3.68 pounds versus its predecessor’s weight of 3.48 pounds.
Like the original, the new Surface Book i7 isn’t cheap. In fact, it’s a lot more expensive. It now starts at $2,399 instead of $1,499. There’s also a 16GB RAM/512GB model that sells for $2,799 and a 16GB RAM/1TB model that costs $3,299. The new Surface Book i7 will start shipping on Nov. 10, according to Engadget.