Notebookcheck

Face Off: Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7 vs. Surface Pro 4 Core i5 vs. Surface Pro 4 Core m3

Same face, faster hardware. Is the highest-end Surface Pro 4 really worth the investment? We give you the raw benchmarks for you to decide on your own.

Working For Notebookcheck

Are you a loyal reader of notebookcheck? Are you a techie who knows how to write? Then join our Team!

Especially wanted:
News Editor, Review Editor
(Smartphones) - Details here

With three Surface Pro 4 SKUs under our belt, we can finally give a comparison between the lowest-end and fanless Core m3 model and the mid-tier and highest-end Core i5 and i7 models, respectively. We suggest checking out our dedicated review pages on the Surface Pro 4 m3 and Core i5 for more details on design quality and the Type Cover detachable keyboard.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core m3 review

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i5 review

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Processor
Graphics adapter
Memory
8192 MB 
, Dual Channel 1866 MHz
Display
12.3 inch 3:2, 2736x1824 pixel, 10-Finger-Multitouch, Samsung 123YL01-001 ID: SDC3853, IPS, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel Skylake-U Premium PCH
Storage
Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe, 256 GB 
, 87 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Skylake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combo, Card Reader: microSD, Sensors: Ambient Light, Gyroscope
Networking
Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8.4 x 292.1 x 201.4 ( = 0.33 x 11.5 x 7.93 in)
Battery
38 Wh Lithium-Ion, fest integriert, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 9 h
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: Rear: 8 MP, Front: 5 MP
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Surface Pen, Type Cover, Office 365, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
800 g ( = 28.22 oz / 1.76 pounds), Power Supply: 204 g ( = 7.2 oz / 0.45 pounds)
Price
1249 Euro

 

Display

Slight backlight bleeding on bottom edge
Slight backlight bleeding on bottom edge

Display measurements are largely the same as our Core m3 and Core i5 model, albeit with a few noteworthy differences. Perhaps most significantly, the backlight is actually slightly brighter than our Core m3 configuration while providing about the same contrast levels.

Minor but noticeable backlight bleeding is still present around the top and bottom edges of the tablet especially if the task bar is set to a dark color.

449.3
cd/m²
474.6
cd/m²
441.2
cd/m²
422.8
cd/m²
436.7
cd/m²
417.2
cd/m²
413.8
cd/m²
430.1
cd/m²
413.5
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro Basic 2
Maximum: 474.6 cd/m² Average: 433.2 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 87 %
Center on Battery: 436.7 cd/m²
Contrast: 1340:1 (Black: 0.326 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 1.82 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 1.44 | - Ø
97.5% sRGB (Argyll) 62.3% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.1
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
12.3, 2736x1824
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
12.3, 2736x1824
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
12.3, 2736x1824
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
12.0, 2160x1440
Microsoft Surface 3
10.8, 1920x1280
Screen
-35%
-30%
-79%
-22%
Brightness433396
-9%
392
-9%
338
-22%
380
-12%
Brightness Distribution8787
0%
92
6%
91
5%
90
3%
Black Level *0.3260.36
-10%
0.27
17%
0.33
-1%
0.49
-50%
Contrast13401147
-14%
1441
8%
1077
-20%
814
-39%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *1.823.09
-70%
3.61
-98%
4.72
-159%
1.66
9%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *1.443.92
-172%
3.8
-164%
6.53
-353%
2.75
-91%
Gamma *2.12.32.162.172.22
CCT6560 99%7333 89%5969 109%6707 97%6358 102%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)62.361
-2%
63
1%
59.37
-5%
64.4
3%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)97.597
-1%
97
-1%
98.8
1%

* ... smaller is better

The Samsung 123YL01-001 panel is identical to the one on the m3 and Core i5 SKUs. Thus, color coverage is about the same across the three models at 97 percent and 62 percent of the sRGB and AdobeRGB standards, respectively.

vs. Surface Pro 3
vs. Surface Pro 3
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB

The data starts to get interesting when diving deeper into the color reproduction of the Core i7 model. Here, the display appears to be well-calibrated before it reaches the end-user unlike on the Core m3 or Core i5 models. Grayscale and colors are some of the most accurate we've seen on a Windows tablet. Additional calibration will increase accuracy even further, though not by much.

Grayscale pre-calibration
Grayscale pre-calibration
Saturation Sweeps pre-calibration
Saturation Sweeps pre-calibration
ColorChecker pre-calibration
ColorChecker pre-calibration
Grayscale post calibration
Grayscale post calibration
Saturation Sweeps post calibration
Saturation Sweeps post calibration
ColorChecker post calibration
ColorChecker post calibration

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
35.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 8 ms rise
↘ 27.6 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 88 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (28.3 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
48.4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 20.4 ms rise
↘ 28 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 172 (maximum) ms. » 75 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (43 ms).

Performance

Turbo Boost up to 3.2 - 3.4 GHz
Turbo Boost up to 3.2 - 3.4 GHz

The Core i7-6650U is one of the fastest dual-core ULV Skylake processors available. Its base clock rate of 2.2 GHz is 1.3 GHz faster than the Core m3-6Y30 and 200 MHz slower than the Core i5-6300U. In turn, it carries the faster Turbo Boost potential of up to 3.2 to 3.4 GHz depending on the system load.

The i7 model also integrates the faster Iris Graphics 540 compared to the HD 520 and HD 515 in the Core i5 and m3, respectively.

As usual, we recommend checking out our dedicated CPU pages on the i7-6650U, i5-6300U, and m3-6Y30 for more technical information and comparisons.

Surface Pro 4 Core i7-6650U Surface Pro 4 Core i5-6300U Surface Pro 4 Core m3-6Y30

Base CPU clock (GHz)

2.2 2.4 0.9

Maximum theoretical Turbo Boost (GHz)

3.4 3.0 2.2

Integrated GPU

Iris Graphics 540 HD Graphics 520 HD Graphics 515

GPU clock (MHz)

300 - 1050 300 - 1050 300 - 850

Execution Units (EU)

48 24 24

TDP

15 W 15 W 4.5 W

Processor

According to CineBench, users can expect about a 10 percent raw performance boost over the Core i5 model and a 30 to 40 percent boost over the Core m3 model. While the advantages in computational power are small over the Core i5, graphics performance is significantly better than the HD Graphics 520 on the Core i5 by about 40 percent.

CineBench R10 64-bit
CineBench R10 64-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R15
CineBench R15
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
1.51 Points ∼0%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
1.4 Points ∼0% -7%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
1.12 Points ∼0% -26%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
0.98 Points ∼0% -35%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
3.8 Points ∼0%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
3.4 Points ∼0% -11%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
2.77 Points ∼0% -27%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
2.27 Points ∼0% -40%
OpenGL 64Bit (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
47.51 fps ∼2%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
27.43 fps ∼1% -42%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
19.48 fps ∼1% -59%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
26.43 fps ∼1% -44%
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
132 Points ∼73%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
122 Points ∼67% -8%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
88 Points ∼48% -33%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
342 Points ∼22%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
306 Points ∼20% -11%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
206 Points ∼13% -40%
OpenGL 64Bit (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
60.14 fps ∼36%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
36.87 fps ∼22% -39%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
33.48 fps ∼20% -44%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
6787 Points ∼75%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
6050 Points ∼67% -11%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
5619 Points ∼62% -17%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
4297 Points ∼47% -37%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
14833 Points ∼41%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
13382 Points ∼37% -10%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
10262 Points ∼28% -31%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
8886 Points ∼24% -40%
Shading 64Bit (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
8183 Points ∼38%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
7574 Points ∼35% -7%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
7154 Points ∼33% -13%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
6386 Points ∼30% -22%
wPrime 2.0x - 1024m (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
445.593 s * ∼5%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
746 s * ∼9% -67%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
787.585 s * ∼9% -77%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - --- (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
612.745 Seconds * ∼3%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
674 Seconds * ∼3% -10%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
898 Seconds * ∼4% -47%
TrueCrypt
Serpent Mean 100MB (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
0.201 GB/s ∼12%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
0.139 GB/s ∼8% -31%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
0.128 GB/s ∼8% -36%
Twofish Mean 100MB (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
0.344 GB/s ∼21%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
0.247 GB/s ∼15% -28%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
0.205 GB/s ∼13% -40%
AES Mean 100MB (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
2 GB/s ∼23%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
1.5 GB/s ∼17% -25%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
1.2 GB/s ∼14% -40%

* ... smaller is better

System Performance

Likewise, raw system performance according to PCMark 7 is about 10 percent ahead of the Core i5 model and about 25 percent ahead of the Core m3 model. The differences are slightly larger in PCMark 8.

PCMark 7
PCMark 7
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
5799 Points ∼73%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
5229 Points ∼66% -10%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
5135 Points ∼65% -11%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
5066 Points ∼64% -13%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
4274 Points ∼54% -26%
Microsoft Surface 3
HD Graphics (Cherry Trail), Z8700, 128 GB eMMC Flash
3029 Points ∼38% -48%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
4052 Points ∼66%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
3697 Points ∼60% -9%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
3644 Points ∼60% -10%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
3186 Points ∼52% -21%
Creative Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
4431 Points ∼54%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
3736 Points ∼46% -16%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
3694 Points ∼45% -17%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
2968 Points ∼36% -33%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
3394 Points ∼60%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
2770 Points ∼49% -18%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
2814 Points ∼50% -17%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
2426 Points ∼43% -29%
Microsoft Surface 3
HD Graphics (Cherry Trail), Z8700, 128 GB eMMC Flash
1677 Points ∼30% -51%
Discussion

Storage Devices

The 256 GB Samsung MZFLV256 M.2 drive in our Core i7 configuration outperforms our 128 GB SSDs in Core i5 and m3 models by noticeable margins across the board. Sequential write speeds in particular are almost twice as fast according to both AS SSD and CDM.

CrystalDiskMark 3.0
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
AS SSD
AS SSD
PCMark 8 Storage
PCMark 8 Storage
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GBMicrosoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3Microsoft Surface Pro 3Microsoft Surface 3
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
-30%
-36%
-16%
-84%
Write 4k QD32292.3153.6
-47%
149.2
-49%
294.4
1%
11.2
-96%
Read 4k QD32393.1368.3
-6%
243.7
-38%
345
-12%
27.94
-93%
Write 4k106.3101.5
-5%
68.02
-36%
76.2
-28%
9.52
-91%
Read 4k40.7528.51
-30%
30.14
-26%
20.81
-49%
12.64
-69%
Write 512304.3154.2
-49%
158.2
-48%
324.6
7%
39.9
-87%
Read 512396.7266.3
-33%
313.1
-21%
357.8
-10%
133.7
-66%
Write Seq304154.2
-49%
158.2
-48%
324
7%
47.99
-84%
Read Seq833.7666
-20%
662.5
-21%
501.2
-40%
149.3
-82%
AS SSD
-44%
-44%
-49%
Copy Game MB/s273.92105.58
-61%
101.27
-63%
Copy Program MB/s209.7563.52
-70%
65.85
-69%
Copy ISO MB/s409.87121.9
-70%
120.9
-71%
Score Total25181190
-53%
1759
-30%
965
-62%
Score Write385239
-38%
189
-51%
319
-17%
Score Read1445645
-55%
1060
-27%
430
-70%
Access Time Write *0.0360.037
-3%
0.043
-19%
0.075
-108%
Access Time Read *0.0470.079
-68%
0.083
-77%
0.087
-85%
4K-64 Write268.69138.54
-48%
112
-58%
215.04
-20%
4K-64 Read1280.48528.04
-59%
943.76
-26%
358.34
-72%
4K Write89.2386.52
-3%
63.18
-29%
73.65
-17%
4K Read33.4734.24
2%
31.39
-6%
22
-34%
Seq Write274.8142.52
-48%
138.05
-50%
303.05
10%
Seq Read1312.22831.78
-37%
844.83
-36%
493.72
-62%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-37% / -39%
-40% / -41%
-33% / -35%
-84% / -84%

* ... smaller is better

GPU Performance

The jump from the Core i5 model to the Core i7 model will bring more GPU power than actual CPU power. Synthetic benchmarks like 3DMark show the Iris 540 to be about 40 percent ahead of the HD 520 in the Core i5 configuration and almost 50 percent ahead of the HD 515 in the Core m3 configuration.

3DMark 11
3DMark 11
Ice Storm
Ice Storm
Ice Storm Extreme
Ice Storm Extreme
Cloud Gate
Cloud Gate
Fire Strike
Fire Strike
Fire Strike Extreme
Fire Strike Extreme
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance Combined (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
2255 Points ∼19%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
2580 Points ∼22% +14%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
1509 Points ∼13% -33%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
1370 Points ∼12% -39%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
746 Points ∼6% -67%
Microsoft Surface 3
HD Graphics (Cherry Trail), Z8700, 128 GB eMMC Flash
554 Points ∼5% -75%
1280x720 Performance Physics (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
4919 Points ∼37%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
4199 Points ∼32% -15%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
3984 Points ∼30% -19%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
3067 Points ∼23% -38%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
2635 Points ∼20% -46%
Microsoft Surface 3
HD Graphics (Cherry Trail), Z8700, 128 GB eMMC Flash
1879 Points ∼14% -62%
1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
2450 Points ∼8%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
2548 Points ∼8% +4%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
1402 Points ∼5% -43%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
1206 Points ∼4% -51%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
791 Points ∼3% -68%
Microsoft Surface 3
HD Graphics (Cherry Trail), Z8700, 128 GB eMMC Flash
494 Points ∼2% -80%
1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
2624 Points ∼12%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
2711 Points ∼13% +3%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
1565 Points ∼7% -40%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
1344 Points ∼6% -49%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
877 Points ∼4% -67%
Microsoft Surface 3
HD Graphics (Cherry Trail), Z8700, 128 GB eMMC Flash
562 Points ∼3% -79%
3DMark (2013)
1920x1080 Fire Strike Standard Combined (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
553 Points ∼7%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
772 Points ∼10% +40%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
309 Points ∼4% -44%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
265 Points ∼3% -52%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Standard Physics (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
5372 Points ∼33%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
4778 Points ∼29% -11%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
4750 Points ∼29% -12%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
3140 Points ∼19% -42%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
1477 Points ∼6%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
2031 Points ∼9% +38%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
905 Points ∼4% -39%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
810 Points ∼3% -45%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Standard Score (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
1395 Points ∼6%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
1886 Points ∼8% +35%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
844 Points ∼4% -39%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
740 Points ∼3% -47%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
483 Points ∼2% -65%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Physics (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
3639 Points ∼9%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
3362 Points ∼9% -8%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
3342 Points ∼8% -8%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
2238 Points ∼6% -38%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
11650 Points ∼8%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
11340 Points ∼8% -3%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
7455 Points ∼5% -36%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
6597 Points ∼4% -43%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
7822 Points ∼24%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
7424 Points ∼23% -5%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
5853 Points ∼18% -25%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
4604 Points ∼14% -41%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
4146 Points ∼13% -47%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Physics (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
44259 Points ∼28%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
38206 Points ∼25% -14%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
38764 Points ∼25% -12%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
25720 Points ∼17% -42%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
91565 Points ∼12%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
54088 Points ∼7% -41%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
56071 Points ∼7% -39%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
51362 Points ∼7% -44%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
73990 Points ∼40%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
49514 Points ∼27% -33%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
51010 Points ∼28% -31%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
42046 Points ∼23% -43%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
29229 Points ∼16% -60%
ComputeMark v2.1 - 1024x600 Normal, Score (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
1625 Points ∼10%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
1676 Points ∼11% +3%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
741 Points ∼5% -54%
LuxMark v2.0 64Bit
Room Scene, OpenCL GPUs-only (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
305 Samples/s ∼8%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
513 Samples/s ∼14% +68%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
193 Samples/s ∼5% -37%
Sala Scene, OpenCL GPUs-only (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
762 Samples/s ∼13%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
1065 Samples/s ∼18% +40%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
427 Samples/s ∼7% -44%
3DMark 11 Performance
2624 points
3DMark (2013) Ice Storm Standard Score
73990 points
3DMark (2013) Cloud Gate Standard Score
7822 points
3DMark (2013) Fire Strike Standard Score
1395 points
3DMark (2013) Fire Strike Extreme Score
598 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Bioshock Infinite shows the Surface Pro 4 Core i7 configuration pumping out 60 to 80 percent higher frame rates than the Core i5 configuration. Overall gaming performance lies comfortably in between the custom Nvidia GPU in the Surface Book and the HD Graphics 520 in the Surface Pro 4 Core i5.

BioShock Infinite
1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF) (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
11.5 fps ∼6%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
20.8 fps ∼11% +81%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
7 fps ∼4% -39%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
4.34 fps ∼2% -62%
1366x768 High Preset (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
41.2 fps ∼14%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
56.5 fps ∼19% +37%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
22.7 fps ∼8% -45%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
22.66 fps ∼8% -45%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
16.07 fps ∼6% -61%
1366x768 Medium Preset (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
49.1 fps ∼17%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
64.8 fps ∼23% +32%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
30 fps ∼10% -39%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
26.93 fps ∼9% -45%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
19.46 fps ∼7% -60%
1280x720 Very Low Preset (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
86.8 fps ∼26%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
94.2 fps ∼28% +9%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
58.1 fps ∼17% -33%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
52.42 fps ∼16% -40%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
38.73 fps ∼12% -55%

Emissions

System Noise

Users shouldn't be dissuaded by the Surface Pro 4 just because it's one of the few tablets with an actively cooled processor. Like the Core i5 version, this Core i7 version is almost always silent since it takes a consistently heavy load to even begin agitating the fan. The tablet can thus last for quite some time under medium to heavy loads like gaming before fan noise starts to kick in.

The Core i7 fan is otherwise very similar to the Core i5 fan in maximum noise and behavior.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GBMicrosoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3Microsoft Surface Pro 3Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Noise
-6%
-1%
-0%
Idle Minimum *28.431.5
-11%
30.1
-6%
29.5
-4%
Idle Average *28.631.5
-10%
30.2
-6%
29.6
-3%
Idle Maximum *28.731.5
-10%
30.4
-6%
29.7
-3%
Load Average *40.840.5
1%
31.9
22%
37.5
8%
Load Maximum *41.440.7
2%
44.4
-7%
40.9
1%

* ... smaller is better

Noise Level

Idle
28.4 / 28.6 / 28.7 dB(A)
Load
40.8 / 41.4 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Surface temperatures are flat on both sides when the system is idling on desktop with no obvious hot spots. Maximum load with both Prime95 and FurMark will increase temperatures significantly, especially on the top half of the tablet where the PCB lies. Our average readings are higher than our Core m3 model despite the Core i7 model having a dedicated system fan. Nonetheless, our readings are strangely much lower than our Core i5 model. The Surface Pro devices remain one of the warmest tablets available.

Maximum load (Front)
Maximum load (Front)
Maximum load (Back)
Maximum load (Back)
Max. Load
 43.8 °C45.4 °C43.2 °C 
 39.4 °C43.6 °C38.6 °C 
 36 °C39.8 °C36 °C 
Maximum: 45.4 °C
Average: 40.6 °C
40.8 °C43.2 °C41.8 °C
37 °C42.2 °C39.8 °C
35.8 °C37.4 °C37.4 °C
Maximum: 43.2 °C
Average: 39.5 °C
Power Supply (max.)  44 °C | Room Temperature 19 °C | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer

Stress Test

We had our doubts on the performance of the Surface Pro 4 Core i7 configuration considering the throttling issues found on the Surface Pro 3. Luckily, we can observe no major performance issues when under high loads. The tablet is able to maintain its maximum Turbo Boost of 3.2 GHz for both cores when under Prime95 stress and Unigine Heaven stress. The integrated GPU operates at a very steady 950 MHz under similar conditions. Throttling will occur when running both Prime95 and FurMark simultaneously.

Note that the AC adapter is unable to provide enough power to the tablet to maintain such high processing loads. Thus, the tablet will surely but slowly drain battery power even when connected to mains.

Running on battery power only will cause a very slight dip to CPU and GPU performance. A 3DMark 11 run on batteries returns CPU and GPU scores of 2370 and 4761 points, respectively, compared to 2450 and 4919 points when on mains.

Prime95 stress
Prime95 stress
FurMark stress
FurMark stress
Maximum stress
Maximum stress
Unigine Heaven stress
Unigine Heaven stress
Stable Clock Rates and Temperatures Under Stress

CPU Clock (GHz) GPU Clock (MHz) Average Core Temp. (C)

Prime95 Stress

3.2 -- ~68

FurMark Stress

-- 800 ~64

Prime95 + FurMark Stress

1.3 - 1.4 700 - 750 ~66

Unigine Heaven Stress

2.5 - 3.2 950 ~63

Battery Life

An impact on battery life is expected when moving to more powerful internals without increasing battery capacity. We measured a WLAN runtime of just under five hours compared to seven hours on the Core i5 or eight hours on the Core m3. This is indeed one of the shortest-lasting Surface Pro tablets we've tested.

Note that our WLAN conditions are always set to 150 nit brightness on the Balanced Profile and with no screen timeout while looping our standard browser script.

Maximum runtime (Reader's Test)
Maximum runtime (Reader's Test)
Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
WLAN runtime
WLAN runtime
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
38 Wh
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
38 Wh
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
38 Wh
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
42 Wh
Microsoft Surface 3
28 Wh
Battery Runtime
41%
54%
63%
65%
Reader / Idle654899
37%
791
21%
1096
68%
828
27%
Load79111
41%
138
75%
124
57%
173
119%
WiFi v1.3293427
46%
488
67%
437
49%
WiFi504425
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
10h 54min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
4h 53min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 19min

Pro

+ no major throttling issues
+ stronger GPU performance
+ calibrated display
+ faster SSD performance

Cons

- only a slight increase in CPU performance over Core i5
- shorter battery life
- active cooling system
- minor backlight bleeding

Verdict

In review: Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7.
In review: Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7.

The Surface Pro 4 Core i7 SKU provides only marginally faster CPU performance over its Core i5 counterpart. For word processing and browsing, the performance difference will be negligible to most users.

Instead, the Core i7 configuration should appeal mainly to power users who can make use of the extra GPU power provided by the Iris 540 over the HD 520. Its raw graphics performance is not enough to run modern games smoothly at the native resolution, but the additional overhead will certainly come in handy for light to moderate Photoshop work or video editing. The pre-calibrated screen and faster SSD performance from the 256 GB drive compared to the Core i5 or Core m3 SKUs make the Core i7 model more professional than just a simple CPU upgrade.

The more accurate display, faster SSD performance, and lack of serious throttling issues over the less expensive configurations will appeal to power users, but are otherwise insignificant advantages for light office and PowerPoint users.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7 - 04/18/2016 v5.1
Allen Ngo

Chassis
86 / 98 → 88%
Keyboard
87%
Pointing Device
92%
Connectivity
49 / 81 → 60%
Weight
78 / 78 → 100%
Battery
83%
Display
89%
Games Performance
64 / 68 → 93%
Application Performance
85 / 87 → 98%
Temperature
82%
Noise
87%
Audio
60 / 91 → 66%
Camera
77 / 85 → 91%
Average
78%
88%
Convertible - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

Read all 9 comments / answer
static version load dynamic
Loading Comments
Comment this article:
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Face Off: Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7 vs. Surface Pro 4 Core i5 vs. Surface Pro 4 Core m3
Allen Ngo, 2015-12-15 (Update: 2016-01- 2)