What exact processors are in each Surface Pro 3? Find out here

What exact processors are in each Surface Pro 3? Find out here
There has been a bit of confusion over what exact processors will be found in the new Microsoft Surface Pro 3. Microsoft only said that there would be a choice between the Intel Core i3, i5, and i7, but there are a few different variants for each of those processors, and the differences can impact performance quite a bit. Now, we finally have the answers for each model of Microsoft's new tablet.

The base model Surface Pro 3 features the Intel Core i3-4020Y, which has two cores clocked at 1.5GHz, no Turbo mode, and an Intel HD4200 GPU which seems a bit underpowered for such a high-res display, but we'll have to wait and see how it performs. The mid-range model has an i5-4300U, which is what we expected. It features two cores clocked at 1.9GHz with Turbo mode that can reach 2.9GHz, and the Intel HD4400 GPU which is the same GPU as in the Surface Pro 2. The top of the line model has the i7-4650U which offers two cores clocked at 1.7GHz but with Turbo mode up to 3.3GHz, and the Intel HD5000 GPU. 

While performance will be a bit slower on the lower range processors, it shouldn't be a problem overall. Microsoft engineers told ZDNet that the i3 model can power two external displays running at 1920x1200@60FPS, and the i5 and i7 models should be able to handle two external monitors running at 2880x1800@60FPS. All of this while still having the built-in touchscreen fully functional. That is pretty impressive. 

source: ZDNet

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Surface Pro 3
  • Display 12.0" 2160 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Intel Core i7
  • Storage 512 GB

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37 Comments

1. Miracles

Posts: 560; Member since: Aug 31, 2013

I'm gonna wait for some reviews...im looking for a new laptop. My budgets a bit tight though....around 1k.

10. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

The mid i5 model seems to be the best value, but I would wait for some reviews to see what the actual performance differences are between the three...

24. erikiksaz

Posts: 170; Member since: Apr 22, 2010

The i3 GPU is a bit concerning for me. I'm sure scrolling performance on IE will be just fine, but I primarily use chrome, which is still not quite as smooth as IE. The SP2 has improved quite a bit over the past couple months with chrome updates, but I wonder if the same GPU in the i5 version will be able to keep up with the higher resolution.

27. vincelongman

Posts: 5585; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

I have a hybrid which has an i5-4120Y, which is basically the i3-4020Y but with turbo boast 1.9Ghz, it performs fine no lag in chrome or basically any program The i3 GPU, the HD4200, should be fine at handling the 2160x1400 display Unless you want to game at 1440p or other intensive stuff like video editing

35. erikiksaz

Posts: 170; Member since: Apr 22, 2010

But are you using a touch screen device with that?

36. vincelongman

Posts: 5585; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Yes, HP Pavilion 13 x2, its a hybrid, its more like the ASUS T300/100 than the Pro 3 I got when it was on sale for $500, it has an i5-4120Y, 4GB ram, 128GB SSD and IPS display Except downsides is that the tablet part is about 1kg, so its about 2kg with the laptop dock/keyboard, and its only 768p

2. sipha

Posts: 439; Member since: May 12, 2012

Ground breaking innovation!! I hope this does well..

3. QuadFace

Posts: 179; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

Sweet tab but overpriced.

6. sipha

Posts: 439; Member since: May 12, 2012

Can you name me a device with the same hardware, but priced lower??

9. Liveitup

Posts: 1798; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

Surface pro 3 is a high end laptop and tablet with running premium specs and a polished and powerful desktop and Metro OS. For what Surface offers its grossly underpriced.

14. microsoftnokiawin

Posts: 1268; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

i'd rather a fully functional laptop with everything except the touch screen that isn't 2k ! a desktop or laptop for 2k would smash the surface anyday ! so i wouldn't say it's underpriced the pricing is just not for everyone!

25. erikiksaz

Posts: 170; Member since: Apr 22, 2010

The i5 version is a fully functional laptop, and it's not 2k... What do you need to do that requires an i7 anyways? And how is the Surface Pro 1/2/3 not a "fully-functional laptop?" Unless you're talking about gaming laptop, which is the opposite of Surface Pro shoppers anyways.

29. brrunopt

Posts: 742; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

Why dumb people keep compating the SP3 with 5 pound or more heavy duty laptops ?

4. Mrmark

Posts: 353; Member since: Jan 26, 2013

Overpriced in the iPad Air with no micro SD ! But ecosystem is what they are paying for .... So the real question is are you invested in or willing to invest in the eco system!

13. vincelongman

Posts: 5585; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

1. There is a micro SD slot, 2. The iPad air doesn't even have one 3. These has better specs than the MacBook Air, which is why it has the same price as the MacBook Air

15. microsoftnokiawin

Posts: 1268; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

implying that the macbook air isn't already bad and over priced !?!

18. vincelongman

Posts: 5585; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

The MacBook Air has basicaly the same specs as other ultrabooks, except a poor 900p TN (not IPS) screen The MacBook Air is also priced the same as other ultrabooks All ultrabooks are overpriced compared to laptops, laptops are overpriced compared to desktops But desktops aren't as portable as laptops, and laptops aren't as portable as ultrabooks So it depends on what you want you device for

28. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

I´m not sure where you live, but what you say is not true in Europe, just one example: Lenovo IdeaPad U330p 33,8 cm (13,3 inches, Full HD) Ultrabook (Intel Core i5 4200U, 1,6GHz, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Win 8) - 800 Euros Apple MacBook Air 33,78 cm (13,3 Zoll, 1440 by 900) Notebook (Intel Core i5 4250U, 1.3GHz, Intel HD Graphics 5000, 4GB RAM, 128GB) - 950 Euros. So worse specs and higher price, both in one for the McB Air. So yes, the surface has the specs and price of the McB Air, but you can buy much cheaper ultrabooks than that.

31. brrunopt

Posts: 742; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

Where ? in Portugal for 800€ i only get the U330p with HD screen, 4GB RAM and a slow 500GB HDD And the cheapest FullHD ultrabook with 128GB SSD is 999€

37. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

30. brrunopt

Posts: 742; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

And no to mention they had a recent 100$ price drop....

5. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

As per Penny Arcade, the performance of the i5 for graphic programs is terrible: "The other problem is performance. The Surface Pro 3 I was given has the i5 processor in it and is essentially the same guts as my old Surface Pro 2. The thing is, now those same guts are driving a larger 12” screen with a stunning 2160X1440 resolution. Honestly if it didn’t feel slower I’d be surprised. There’s noticible cursor lag and stuttering when navigating files in Photoshop and Manga Studio. When moving my pen over to make a menu selection I can see the cursor lagging behind. Working on a comic strip, It feels like I’m dragging the cursor through syrup. Strangely that lag doesn’t seem to be present when I’m actually drawing with the pen touching the surface. Moving around the image also feels slow with some stuttering and screen tearing. Overall it just feels like it can’t keep up with what I’m asking it to do." This is what happens when you try to make one machine to the job of 3-4 machines. It rarely, if ever, works well. It's like buying a Swiss Army knife to cut down trees with its little tiny saw and put together shelving with its little tiny screwdriver. Most people realize that this is silly and dumb, and just get the right tool for the job instead.

22. milesboy5

Posts: 179; Member since: Nov 07, 2012

The surface does a job of two...not 3-4

26. erikiksaz

Posts: 170; Member since: Apr 22, 2010

Here's to crossing our fingers that it's still on pre-production software. Oddly enough, I have yet to read any negative reviews about the slow performance mentioned above.

7. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Why don't these phone Oems provide Turbo mode for phones Someone should push the limit A15 Cpu at 1.9Ghz, turbo mode 3.0Ghz

11. brrunopt

Posts: 742; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

They pretty much do, just dont advertise it.. (those top frequencies are already more or less equivalent to turbo boost speeds, they cant maintain them indefinitely )

12. darkskoliro

Posts: 1092; Member since: May 07, 2012

Id rather my hand not get burnt at 3.0ghz

8. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

There is no way that the i3 model won't be sluggish...

17. desniper9

Posts: 38; Member since: Oct 30, 2012

But it will be somewhat useless with only 64gb of storage. Micosd cards are way too slow to put major programs on it

20. vincelongman

Posts: 5585; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Depends on what you want Since I mainly use my desktop, I only have ~30GB apps/docs/games on my 8.1 Hybrid with 128GB SSD, the rest is music/movies which would be fine on a uSD card Also, my 8.1 hybrid has an i5-4120Y, which is basically the i3-4020Y but with turbo boast 1.9Ghz, it performs fine no lag The i3 should be fine as well unless you want to game at 1440p or other intensive stuff like video editing

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