Following on from news that Microsoft’s upcoming Surface Book 3 is looking to move up from the eight-generation Intel chips in the Surface Book 2 to the tenth-generation chipset, the latest online benchmarks suggest that the Windows 10 powered laptop could be reaching for a much higher target.
Update 29 March: Turns out that there are more benchmarks leaks than just the advanced TigerLake-U out there. The latest benchmarking specs (from UserBenchmark.com) list a Microsoft machine with an Intel Core i5-1035G1, backed up by 16 GB of RAM.
Neither the current Surface Pro 7 or Surface Laptop 3 portfolios sport this chip, so we’re looking at another machine on the testing stand. The question now is where this mystery laptop fits in. It could be a refresh on the two Surface machines launched in late 2019, but it would be early in the product cycle for such a move.
It’s more likely that we’re looking at a new Surface Book here. Given the specifications this is likely an ‘entry level’ Surface Book 3 that will sit underneath the more powerful options we have seen online this week.
Detail of a Microsoft Surface Book 2 laptop computer, taken on December 12, 2017. (Photo by Neil … [+]
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Spotted on benchmarking site 3Dmark by @_rogame is a device labelled ‘OEMTI OEMTI Product’. Historically this naming convention has been used by Microsoft for it Surface hardware under testing. The unit is equipped with 16 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD, echoing the parts used in the recently launched Surface Laptop 3.
But the kicker is the CPU being tested. It’s the Tiger Lake-U chip, part of Intel’s next generation silicon.
Intel talked briefly about Tiger Lake at CES 2020 in January, but it has been on its roadmap since mid-2019. But the presentation at CES flagged up the chipset as ‘coming soon’. Is that soon going to be soon enough for an appearance as the ultimate Surface Book?
A lot here depends on the schedule of the presumptively named Surface Book 3 launch. If that happens during the second quarter, then the Intel powered Surface Books will have the tenth generation chips (potentially alongside an AMD Ryzen powered machine, also spotted recently through online benchmarking).
But if the Surface Book 3 is going to ‘go long’ in the year – and right now everyone in the industry must surely be considering implementing a delay given the ongoing impact of measures to deal with coronavirus and the resulting effect on the world’s economy – then I see no reason why a Surface Book 3 Power Edition with Tiger Lake would not be made available alongside the other two options.
Neither would it be unusual for a Surface Book to come with multiple processor options or a variant with extra power. Not only did the original Surface Book come with a mix of i5 and i7 CPUs variously paired up with Intel’s HD520, 940M or 965M graphics cards, it also came with an optional ‘Performance Base’ that boosted the specs higher.
Panos Panay, corporate vice president of Microsoft Corp. Surface, unveils the new Microsoft Surface … [+]
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It’s perfectly in keeping with the style of the Surface Book to ship with at least one variant that absolutely pushes the envelope. Being one of the first Tiger Lake machines sounds like a good target.
The question now is when we’ll see it.