Microsoft's first laptop ever - Surface Book speeds, feeds, and emotions

Posted by Paul Braren on Oct 10 2015 (updated on Oct 19 2024) in
  • Windows
  • Productivity
  • Many of this past week's Surface Book first-look articles focus on the experience, the look, the feel. So did the presenter. Yes, all very important attributes for successful demonstrations, as we all ponder what this Surface Book product launch means for the rest of the laptop world. This was the most memorable Microsoft event that I can recall since the Windows 95 "Start me up" launch, over 20 years ago. This time, I was able to get myself to the after-party where presenter/Microsoft VP Panos Panay apparently had also been, and where I was surrounded by the press. A good day.

    Who won't remember this spine tingling moment in this amazing product highlight video? C'mon, you know Microsoft nailed that soundtrack too, best listened to with your sub woofing.

    Video segment from 1 hr. 29 min. 2 sec. into the Windows 10 devices event, Oct 6 2015.

    Panos Panay:

    This is now the thinnest, most powerful PC ever created.

    Remember, the CPU, up to Core i7, is in that thin top, the tablet part.

    Extra fun that apparently Microsoft was messing with the press, especially Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley, with the way that video clip was handled, explained here. Heck, apparently even jaded and dour Paul lost it a little bit during that video segment.

    Now that dust and emotions have settled, you know what I like to read about? How about some speeds and feeds! I realize that Microsoft's approach to this keynote was less geek, more chic. Dare I say it, more Apple-ish? For Microsoft, that's a good thing right about now. But when making buying decisions, techies like to also evaluate the tech.

    I was talking to a local Microsoft Store employee yesterday, who had just been telling a store visitor about the Surface Book specs. I struck up a fun conversation with him afterward about the GPU, and we even listened to a bit of the below podcasts together.

    Yeah, no Surface Book on display at the Westfarms Mall location quite yet. I really wanted to know how much screen wobble is evident when touching it, and I'm not alone in that question.

    I thought you might enjoy a quick listen to what the folks at PC Perspective Podcast, This Week in Computer Hardware, and Surface Geeks have to say about what's actually under the hood, before we get to those iFixit close-looks under the hood. Or is that two hoods. Oh never mind, you know what I mean. Here you go, with audio queued up to just the right spot for you:

    Under The Hood - Microsoft Surface Book



    RSS and detailed shownotes.

    Specifications mentions include:
    Dynamic Fulcrum hinge, 13.5" screen, 3000x2000 resolution, optional discrete GPU only known as NVIDIA GForce GTX GPU with 1GB of frame buffer.

    Ryan reads a quote from NVIDIA: (01:02:25)

    The new GPU is a Maxwell based GPU with GDDR5 memory. It was designed to deliver the best performance in ultra thin form factors such as the Surface Book keyboard dock. Due to its unique implementation design in the keyboard module, it cannot be compared to traditional 900M series GPU. Contact Microsoft for performance information.

    They go on to discuss how it actually works when separating the keyboard (GPU) from the tablet-like screen (CPU). Is this something like Optimus?


    • This Week in Computer Hardware: TWiCH 336: How About That Surface? (11:56)

    Subscribe here.

    Patrick Norton:

    Are they doing quad-core processors?

    Ryan Shrout:

    Nope, all of these, all of these are dual-core hyper-threaded parts, they're all 15 watt Skylake processors, um, that either have the Intel HD 520 which is kind of your standard graphics, or you have the Iris 540, which is the, um, the kind of the lowest end of Iris graphics with that 64 megs of EDRAM on it. I was hoping there would be a quad core part available on this, but Intel doesn't have one of those in the 15 watt...

    Emotion - Innovation - Inspiration

    Perspectives from Dave's friends Brian Friedlander and Richard Hay, who were actually in the room!

    • Surface Geeks Podcast: Surface Book, Surface Pro 4, Band 2 and more on SG 96 (1:11:32)

    Subscribe here.

    Dave does a great job capturing the surprise of the Surface Book, proclaiming

    The best kept secret of 2015!

    going on to share the emotions he felt, particularly during that video clip shown above:

    ...excited at that point of the demonstration. I'm going to have to watch it back again, it's one thing I can probably watch back several times.

    This video clip is for you Dave! I love it when you so clearly paint the picture for your listeners with great storytelling: hit a peak with Surface Pro, and then he brings you down, and it's almost like they kind of dim the lights and they bring you in, his emotions become less animated, his voice becomes calmer, and he says...we have something else for you. I was just like yeaahhhh, you know, a keynote geek.

    The best Surface Book surprise minutes of "Microsoft Windows 10 devices event" Oct 6 2015.

    Soundtrack is from Rebirth - Extreme Music/2 Steps from Hell - Michal Cielecki

    This article was produced entirely on a TinkerTry SuperServer Workstation.

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