Notebookcheck

Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) (i7, 512 GB, 16 GB) Convertible Review

Sebastian Jentsch (translated by Katherine Bodner), 07/24/2017

Close, but not quite close enough. We were happy to learn that the Iris graphics card is awake and alert despite SoC-throttling. The Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) cannot be considered a "gamer" however, nor is it a full laptop replacement: Just like in the i5 version, there is significant throttling.

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Microsoft Surface Pro (i7, 512 GB, 16 GB)
Microsoft Surface Pro (i7, 512 GB, 16 GB)

For the original German review, click here.

After testing the i5 version of the Surface Pro 2017 (i5-7300U), we have now taken a closer look at the i7 version, which is equipped with a cooling fan. One striking result from the first model's review: The device had no constant performance level; it dropped to -33% after only a few minutes of gradual decline.

We want to make it clear from the start that the i7 model is not very different, although its performance drops by only -17% thanks to the cooling fan. Performance-enthusiasts might be disappointed to read that the device's performance is not the native performance of a Core i7-7660U, but rather that of a Core i7-7500U in a subnotebook without throttling. You can read more about this issue in our chapter on performance or in our colleague Douglas Black's article. He talks about the reasons for, examples of and especially his own opinion on throttling, which is a phenomenon that is all too often ignored.

In this review, we will also take a look at the Surface Pro i7's gaming capabilities (it has an Intel Iris Plus 640 graphics card), as well as battery runtime and heat development. We could not resist running our gaming stress test The Witcher 3 in low settings.

For information about case, connectivity, cameras, display details and speakers, please see our review of the Surface Pro i5 (2017). Furthermore, also see our Core m3 review of the entry level model.

Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7 (Surface Pro Series)
Graphics adapter
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 - 64 MB, Core: 1047 MHz
Memory
16384 MB 
, dual channel, onboard
Display
12.3 inch 3:2, 2736 x 1824 pixel 267 PPI, 10 finger multitouch, native pen support, LG Display LP123WQ112604, IPS, glossy: yes, detachable screen
Mainboard
Intel Kaby Lake-U Premium PCH
Storage
Samsung PM971 KUS040202M, 512 GB 
, 191 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Kaby Lake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: audio combo, Card Reader: microSDXC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: acceleration sensor, gyroscope, TPM 2.0
Networking
Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.1
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8.5 x 292.1 x 201.4 ( = 0.33 x 11.5 x 7.93 in)
Battery
45 Wh Lithium-Ion, SMP M1009169, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 13.5 h
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Camera
Primary Camera: 5 MPix front, Windows Hello
Secondary Camera: 8 MPix AF, back
Additional features
Speakers: stereo, Office 365 trial, 12 Months Warranty
Released
05/23/2017
Weight
1.078 kg ( = 38.03 oz / 2.38 pounds), Power Supply: 216 g ( = 7.62 oz / 0.48 pounds)
Price
2100 Euro

 

Display

Some of our measurements of the display diverge significantly from those of the i5 model, although various tools have confirmed that they are equipped with identical panels (LG Display LP123WQ112604). We assume that the differences are production-related fluctuations, but we would like to find out more. We will post an update when we know more.

CalMAN ColorChecker before calibration II
CalMAN ColorChecker before calibration II
CalMAN ColorChecker before calibration
CalMAN ColorChecker before calibration
CalMAN grayscales before calibration
CalMAN grayscales before calibration
CalMAN ColorChecker after calibration
CalMAN ColorChecker after calibration
CalMAN grayscales after calibration
CalMAN grayscales after calibration
 
460
cd/m²
474
cd/m²
461
cd/m²
460
cd/m²
482
cd/m²
478
cd/m²
443
cd/m²
475
cd/m²
464
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 482 cd/m² Average: 466.3 cd/m² Minimum: 4.2 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 92 %
Center on Battery: 482 cd/m²
Contrast: 1220:1 (Black: 0.395 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4 | 0.8-29.43 Ø6.3
ΔE Greyscale 5.7 | 0.64-98 Ø6.6
98.7% sRGB (Calman) 96% sRGB (Argyll) 62% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.28
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
LG Display LP123WQ112604, , 2736x1824, 12.3
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
LG Display LP123WQ112604, , 2736x1824, 12.3
Lenovo Ideapad Miix 720-12IKB
AUO B120YAN01 / AUO106F, , 2880x1920, 12
Asus Transformer 3 Pro T303UA-GN050T
BOE BOE06AC (NV126A1M-N51), , 2880x1920, 12.6
Dell Latitude 12 5285 2-in-1
BOE06DC, , 1920x1280, 12.3
Acer Switch 5 SW512-52-5819
WST KL.1200w.004, , 2160x1440, 12
Toshiba Portege X30-D (PT274U-01N001)
Toshiba TOS508F, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Response Times
-12%
-9%
-32%
-46%
-2%
-9%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
37 (16, 21)
42 (20, 22)
-14%
45 (22, 23)
-22%
30 (14, 16)
19%
42.4 (20.4, 22)
-15%
37 (19, 18)
-0%
36.8 (18.8, 18)
1%
Response Time Black / White *
25 (13, 12)
29 (18, 11)
-16%
24 (14, 10)
4%
29 (8, 21)
-16%
30.8 (18, 12.8)
-23%
26 (14, 12)
-4%
29.6 (17.2, 12.4)
-18%
PWM Frequency
22130 (55)
21000
-5%
200 (90)
-99%
210.1 (99)
-99%
Screen
10%
-10%
-4%
0%
-23%
5%
Brightness middle
482
417
-13%
406
-16%
316
-34%
523.2
9%
369
-23%
332.6
-31%
Brightness
466
401
-14%
396
-15%
307
-34%
522
12%
331
-29%
323
-31%
Brightness Distribution
92
88
-4%
88
-4%
91
-1%
88
-4%
75
-18%
86
-7%
Black Level *
0.395
0.29
27%
0.3
24%
0.29
27%
0.42
-6%
0.46
-16%
0.28
29%
Contrast
1220
1438
18%
1353
11%
1090
-11%
1246
2%
802
-34%
1188
-3%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4
3.63
9%
5.28
-32%
3.91
2%
4
-0%
5.52
-38%
2.6
35%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
7.2
6.74
6%
9.83
-37%
7.9
-10%
8.6
-19%
9.29
-29%
6.7
7%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.7
2.18
62%
6.71
-18%
5.37
6%
5.5
4%
6.95
-22%
2.5
56%
Gamma
2.28 105%
3.09 78%
2.29 105%
2.36 102%
2.16 111%
2.58 93%
2.12 113%
CCT
7950 82%
6767 96%
6532 100%
7812 83%
7546 86%
7009 93%
6720 97%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
62
63
2%
59
-5%
72
16%
64.86
5%
56
-10%
62
0%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
96
99
3%
91
-5%
98
2%
93.97
-2%
88
-8%
94
-2%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-1% / 5%
-10% / -10%
-18% / -10%
-23% / -10%
-13% / -19%
-2% / 3%

* ... smaller is better

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
25 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 13 ms rise
↘ 12 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 38 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (26.1 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
37 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 16 ms rise
↘ 21 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 636 (maximum) ms. » 31 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (41.6 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 22130 Hz ≤ 55 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 22130 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 55 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 22130 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 54 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 10750 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 588200) Hz was measured.

Performance

Microsoft has chosen an Intel Core i7-7660U (12 nanometers) with 2.5 - 4 GHz (2 core, turbo 3.8 GHz only) for their flagship model of the Surface Pro 2017. It is a dual-core SoC with an Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 graphics card with 64 MB eDRAM. 

Processor

We ran the Cinebench R15 multi-core test in a loop on the i7-7660U. At first, the 410 points scored seemed fantastic - the result put the Surface Pro into number one in our comparison field. The disillusionment came at the end: after nine loops the result had dropped to 340 points (-17%) and this is where it remained. 

The adjusted result puts the i7-7660U exactly 10% below the i7-7500U (Acer TravelMate P658-G2) without throttling.

If we add thinner devices with minimum (Asus Zenbook UX3430UQ: 346/330) or no loop throttle (Toshiba Portege X30-D: 341/340) to the comparison, our Surface Pro i7 is exactly on the constant load level of the i7-7500U or i7-7600U that these devices are equipped with. 

This is the first time we have tested the 7660U, so we cannot compare the SoC results to those of a laptop, which might offer better cooling.

Looking at the comparison devices, the Transformer 3 Pro T303UA, which is right at the bottom of our ranking with an i7-6500U, caught our attention. For this device, the manufacturer limited the TPD to 7.5 watts, which leads to a noticeably reduced output ex-works.

Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit - Surface Pro 2017 i7-7660U cooling fan

0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410Tooltip
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit

Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit - Surface Pro 2017 i5-7300U fanless

0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340Tooltip
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit

It is remarkable that Acer's brand-new Switch 5 SW512 can get 305 points in the loop test with its special Liquid Loop cooling (no fans) and an i7-7500U processor. This is only 10% less than our 7660U (340). The Switch 5 remains constant (330) for the first five rounds and then drops to 305. 

Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit - Switch 5 SW512 i7-7500U Liquid Loop

0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340Tooltip
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Intel Core i7-7660U
163 Points ∼100%
Dell Latitude 12 5285 2-in-1
Intel Core i7-7600U
152 Points ∼93% -7%
Acer TravelMate P658-G2-MG-7327
Intel Core i7-7500U
147 Points ∼90% -10%
Acer Switch 5 SW512-52-5819
Intel Core i7-7500U
143 Points ∼88% -12%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
Intel Core i5-7300U
141 Points ∼87% -13%
Asus Zenbook UX3430UQ-GV012T
Intel Core i7-7500U
135 Points ∼83% -17%
Lenovo Ideapad Miix 720-12IKB
Intel Core i7-7500U
130 Points ∼80% -20%
Toshiba Portege X30-D (PT274U-01N001)
Intel Core i7-7600U
126 Points ∼77% -23%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
Intel Core i5-6300U
122 Points ∼75% -25%
Asus Transformer 3 Pro T303UA-GN050T
Intel Core i7-6500U
117 Points ∼72% -28%
Huawei MateBook X
Intel Core i5-7200U
116 Points ∼71% -29%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2
Intel Core i5-7Y54
115 Points ∼71% -29%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Intel Core i7-7660U
410 (min: 335.35, max: 409.45) Points ∼100%
Acer TravelMate P658-G2-MG-7327
Intel Core i7-7500U
376 Points ∼92% -8%
Asus Zenbook UX3430UQ-GV012T
Intel Core i7-7500U
346 Points ∼84% -16%
Toshiba Portege X30-D (PT274U-01N001)
Intel Core i7-7600U
341 Points ∼83% -17%
Acer Switch 5 SW512-52-5819
Intel Core i7-7500U
339 Points ∼83% -17%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
Intel Core i5-7300U
334 Points ∼81% -19%
Dell Latitude 12 5285 2-in-1
Intel Core i7-7600U
329 Points ∼80% -20%
Huawei MateBook X
Intel Core i5-7200U
322 Points ∼79% -21%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
Intel Core i5-6300U
306 Points ∼75% -25%
Lenovo Ideapad Miix 720-12IKB
Intel Core i7-7500U
265 Points ∼65% -35%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2
Intel Core i5-7Y54
234 Points ∼57% -43%
Asus Transformer 3 Pro T303UA-GN050T
Intel Core i7-6500U
221 Points ∼54% -46%
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
6213
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
13838
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
8824
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.89 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
4.55 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
410 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
163 Points
Help

System Performance

The device's application performance need not be afraid of faster laptops or its competition according to the PCMark benchmarks. Still, the Surface Pro i7 is not number one among the best convertibles. This place is shared by the Dell Latitude 12 in Home score and the Acer Switch 5 in Work score.

The competition's SSDs are broadly speaking on the same level, so this cannot be the cause. This is where the above-mentioned throttling comes into effect: both the Switch 5 with Liquid Loop and the Latitude 12 5285 (each -9%) can easily beat the -17% of our test unit.

PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Acer Switch 5 SW512-52-5819
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW512G7
4585 Points ∼100% +3%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7660U, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
4431 Points ∼97%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2
HD Graphics 615, 7Y54, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4288 Points ∼94% -3%
Huawei MateBook X
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, LITEON CB1-SD256
4276 Points ∼93% -3%
Lenovo Ideapad Miix 720-12IKB
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
4216 Points ∼92% -5%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
HD Graphics 620, 7300U, Samsung PM971 KUS030202M
3983 Points ∼87% -10%
Asus Transformer 3 Pro T303UA-GN050T
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, SK Hynix Canvas SC300 512GB M.2 (HFS512G39MND)
3830 Points ∼84% -14%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
3697 Points ∼81% -17%
Dell Latitude 12 5285 2-in-1
HD Graphics 620, 7600U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
3510 Points ∼77% -21%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Dell Latitude 12 5285 2-in-1
HD Graphics 620, 7600U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4741 Points ∼100% +16%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7660U, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
4095 Points ∼86%
Acer Switch 5 SW512-52-5819
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW512G7
3556 Points ∼75% -13%
Huawei MateBook X
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, LITEON CB1-SD256
3507 Points ∼74% -14%
Lenovo Ideapad Miix 720-12IKB
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
3186 Points ∼67% -22%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2
HD Graphics 615, 7Y54, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
3092 Points ∼65% -24%
Asus Transformer 3 Pro T303UA-GN050T
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, SK Hynix Canvas SC300 512GB M.2 (HFS512G39MND)
2985 Points ∼63% -27%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
HD Graphics 620, 7300U, Samsung PM971 KUS030202M
2936 Points ∼62% -28%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
2770 Points ∼58% -32%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
4095 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
5540 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4431 points
Help

Storage Devices

The Samsung PM971 KUS040202M with a gross capacity of 512 GB shows similar results as the 256-GB version in the i5 model. It has a total deviation of only -19%. We noticed that the i7 model has great results in sequential reading.

The table shows that the competition is also equipped with the who's who of the current top SSDs. Lenovo has placed its bet on NVMe in RAID for its Miix 720 and is seeing great results. Its system performance, however, is not faster than our Microsoft test unit.

Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
Samsung PM971 KUS030202M
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
Lenovo Ideapad Miix 720-12IKB
Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2
Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Asus Transformer 3 Pro T303UA-GN050T
SK Hynix Canvas SC300 512GB M.2 (HFS512G39MND)
Dell Latitude 12 5285 2-in-1
Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Acer Switch 5 SW512-52-5819
Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW512G7
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
-19%
-45%
90%
22%
-44%
-5%
7%
Write 4k QD32
421.48
373
-12%
153.6
-64%
420.8
0%
259
-39%
253.8
-40%
434.5
3%
425.4
1%
Read 4k QD32
485.58
423
-13%
368.3
-24%
504.1
4%
247.9
-49%
245.8
-49%
493.3
2%
460.6
-5%
Write 4k
136.27
125
-8%
101.5
-26%
162.2
19%
120
-12%
57.65
-58%
72.22
-47%
128.3
-6%
Read 4k
53.64
46
-14%
28.51
-47%
53.62
0%
52.34
-2%
26.11
-51%
31.75
-41%
35.92
-33%
Write 512
791.87
445
-44%
154.2
-81%
1288
63%
869
10%
320.3
-60%
589.3
-26%
535.1
-32%
Read 512
227.5
225
-1%
266.3
17%
1301
472%
697.5
207%
303.1
33%
406
78%
653.2
187%
Write Seq
960.7
853
-11%
154.2
-84%
1702
77%
1259
31%
402
-58%
865.2
-10%
592.6
-38%
Read Seq
1307.9
723
-45%
666
-49%
2408
84%
1739
33%
398.9
-70%
1294
-1%
1066
-18%
Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
Sequential Read: 1307.9 MB/s
Sequential Write: 960.7 MB/s
512K Read: 227.5 MB/s
512K Write: 791.87 MB/s
4K Read: 53.64 MB/s
4K Write: 136.27 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 485.58 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 421.48 MB/s

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Graphics

Intel Extreme Utility Score
Intel Extreme Utility Score
No Intel Drivers
No Intel Drivers

This is the first time we have tested the Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640. It is part of the Core i7-7660U SoC and shares its TDP. The 48 Execution Units (EUs) clock at up to 1050 MHz and, combined with the fast eDRAM cache, it is supposed to offer GeForce 920MX-level performance.

The Iris graphics card takes the lead in 3DMark 11 and is ahead of Nvidia's 920MX and 940MX. 3DMark 2016, on the other hand, is a little more practical and it places the Iris Plus 640 8% below the 940MX.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, Intel Core i7-7660U
2493 Points ∼100%
Asus Zenbook UX3430UQ-GV012T
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX, Intel Core i7-7500U
2197 Points ∼88% -12%
Lenovo Ideapad 310-15ISK
NVIDIA GeForce 920MX, Intel Core i7-6500U
1835 Points ∼74% -26%
Acer Switch 5 SW512-52-5819
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7500U
1613 Points ∼65% -35%
Dell Latitude 12 5285 2-in-1
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7600U
1589 Points ∼64% -36%
Huawei MateBook X
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
1528 Points ∼61% -39%
Toshiba Portege X30-D (PT274U-01N001)
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7600U
1446 Points ∼58% -42%
Lenovo Ideapad Miix 720-12IKB
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7500U
1416 Points ∼57% -43%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i5-6300U
1402 Points ∼56% -44%
Asus Transformer 3 Pro T303UA-GN050T
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i7-6500U
1271 Points ∼51% -49%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2
Intel HD Graphics 615, Intel Core i5-7Y54
1161 Points ∼47% -53%
3DMark - 1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Asus Zenbook UX3430UQ-GV012T
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX, Intel Core i7-7500U
1540 Points ∼100% +9%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, Intel Core i7-7660U
1418 Points ∼92%
Dell Latitude 12 5285 2-in-1
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7600U
1084 Points ∼70% -24%
Acer Switch 5 SW512-52-5819
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7500U
1030 Points ∼67% -27%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i5-6300U
905 Points ∼59% -36%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7300U
889 Points ∼58% -37%
Huawei MateBook X
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
875 Points ∼57% -38%
Toshiba Portege X30-D (PT274U-01N001)
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7600U
847 Points ∼55% -40%
Asus Transformer 3 Pro T303UA-GN050T
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i7-6500U
753 Points ∼49% -47%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2
Intel HD Graphics 615, Intel Core i5-7Y54
728 Points ∼47% -49%
3DMark 06 Standard
15071 points
3DMark 11 Performance
2664 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
8067 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
1310 points
3DMark Time Spy Score
513 points
Help

Gaming Performance

One or two games are actually displayed more smoothly by the Iris Plus Graphics 640 than by the HD Graphics 620 or 520.  Even a few frames more or less can influence whether a game is playable or not, as you can see from the colorful gaming table below.

In any case, it can at most manage medium settings in old or new, but undemanding games such as Overwatch or Rocket League. Farming Simulator 2017 is very undemanding and therefore an exception. It would not be playable in high settings and Full HD with the HD 620. If you want to play the occasional game on your convertible tablet, the Iris Plus Graphics 640 is your only real option at the moment - and that is only available in the most expensive Surface Pro.

The Witcher 3 - 1024x768 Low Graphics & Postprocessing
Asus Zenbook UX3430UQ-GV012T
GeForce 940MX, 7500U, SanDisk SD8SN8U512G1002
27.8 fps ∼100% +28%
Lenovo Ideapad 310-15ISK
GeForce 920MX, 6500U, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPCX-24UE4T0
22.1 fps ∼79% +2%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7660U, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
21.7 (min: 17, max: 28) fps ∼78%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
HD Graphics 620, 7300U, Samsung PM971 KUS030202M
9.5 fps ∼34% -56%
Rise of the Tomb Raider - 1024x768 Lowest Preset
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7660U, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
23.5 (min: 21, max: 26) fps ∼100%
Asus X302UV-FN016T
GeForce 920MX, 6200U, Hynix HFS128G3MND
23.2 fps ∼99% -1%
Asus Transformer 3 Pro T303UA-GN050T
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, SK Hynix Canvas SC300 512GB M.2 (HFS512G39MND)
20 fps ∼85% -15%
Acer Switch 5 SW512-52-5819
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW512G7
18.45 fps ∼79% -21%
Lenovo Ideapad Miix 720-12IKB
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
16.7 fps ∼71% -29%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
HD Graphics 620, 7300U, Samsung PM971 KUS030202M
14.7 fps ∼63% -37%
Deus Ex Mankind Divided - 1280x720 Low Preset AF:1x
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7660U, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
20.2 (min: 16, max: 27) fps ∼100%
Battlefield 1 - 1280x720 Low Preset
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7660U, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
26.6 (min: 24, max: 30) fps ∼100%
Huawei MateBook X
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, LITEON CB1-SD256
11.7 fps ∼44% -56%
Rocket League - 1920x1080 High Quality AA:High FX
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7660U, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
29.3 (min: 13, max: 40) fps ∼100%
Acer Switch 5 SW512-52-5819
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW512G7
18.35 fps ∼63% -37%
Warhammer 40.000: Dawn of War III - 1280x720 Minimum / Off (100 % Gameplay Resolution)
Acer TravelMate P658-G2-MG-7327
GeForce 940MX, 7500U, Liteonit CV3-8D512
40.9 fps ∼100% +21%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7660U, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
33.8 (min: 22, max: 78) fps ∼83%
For Honor - 1280x720 Low Preset
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7660U, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
33.5 (min: 23, max: 52) fps ∼100%
Huawei MateBook X
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, LITEON CB1-SD256
20.2 fps ∼60% -40%
Farming Simulator 17 - 1920x1080 High Preset AA:2xMS AF:2x
Asus Zenbook UX3430UQ-GV012T
GeForce 940MX, 7500U, SanDisk SD8SN8U512G1002
34.1 fps ∼100% +8%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7660U, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
31.6 (min: 29, max: 39) fps ∼93%
Huawei MateBook X
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, LITEON CB1-SD256
14 fps ∼41% -56%
The Division - 1280x720 Low Preset AF:1x
Asus X302UV-FN016T
GeForce 920MX, 6200U, Hynix HFS128G3MND
29.4 fps ∼100% +18%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7660U, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
24.9 (min: 20, max: 29) fps ∼85%
Rainbow Six Siege - 1366x768 Medium Preset AA:T AF:2x
Asus X302UV-FN016T
GeForce 920MX, 6200U, Hynix HFS128G3MND
34.1 fps ∼100% +11%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7660U, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
30.7 (min: 14, max: 56) fps ∼90%
Thief - 1024x768 Very Low Preset
Lenovo Ideapad Miix 720-12IKB
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
21.7 fps ∼100%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
HD Graphics 620, 7300U, Samsung PM971 KUS030202M
21.3 fps ∼98%
Diablo III - 1366x768 High AA:on
Asus Zenbook UX3430UQ-GV012T
GeForce 940MX, 7500U, SanDisk SD8SN8U512G1002
66.8 fps ∼100%
Asus X302UV-FN016T
GeForce 920MX, 6200U, Hynix HFS128G3MND
64.7 fps ∼97%
low med. high ultra
Sims 4 (2014) 20.8fps
GTA V (2015) 56.728.911.8fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 21.7fps
Dota 2 Reborn (2015) 9263.729.519.8fps
Rainbow Six Siege (2015) 45.430.716.6fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 23.516.79.1fps
Far Cry Primal (2016) 2813fps
The Division (2016) 24.9fps
Overwatch (2016) 63.34115.9fps
Deus Ex Mankind Divided (2016) 20.2fps
Battlefield 1 (2016) 26.619.69.2fps
Farming Simulator 17 (2016) 1219131.617.8fps
For Honor (2017) 33.512.7fps
Ghost Recon Wildlands (2017) 16fps
Mass Effect Andromeda (2017) 20.4fps
Warhammer 40.000: Dawn of War III (2017) 33.8fps
Prey (2017) 45.418.1fps
Rocket League (2017) 10342.629.3fps
Dirt 4 (2017) 27.5fps

Emissions

System Noise

The Surface Pro i7 does not make a sound while idling: the cooling fan is deactivated. The cooling system turned on to about 33 dB(A) during the stress test and also after short periods under load, such as when copying files took a little longer. This is audible, but it is not annoying. System noise only increased minimally to 34 dB(A) during our extreme stress test.

Noise Level

Idle
29.6 / 29.6 / 29.6 dB(A)
Load
33.4 / 34.1 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 29.6 dB(A)
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7660U, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
Lenovo Ideapad Miix 720-12IKB
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
Asus Transformer 3 Pro T303UA-GN050T
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, SK Hynix Canvas SC300 512GB M.2 (HFS512G39MND)
Dell Latitude 12 5285 2-in-1
HD Graphics 620, 7600U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Toshiba Portege X30-D (PT274U-01N001)
HD Graphics 620, 7600U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Emissions
Fan Noise
36.3
37.1
38.4
Noise
-12%
-6%
-6%
5%
1%
off / environment *
29.6
30.4
-3%
30.7
-4%
28.2
5%
28.4
4%
Idle Minimum *
29.6
31.5
-6%
30.4
-3%
30.7
-4%
28.2
5%
28.4
4%
Idle Average *
29.6
31.5
-6%
32.4
-9%
30.7
-4%
28.2
5%
28.4
4%
Idle Maximum *
29.6
31.5
-6%
32.4
-9%
30.7
-4%
28.2
5%
28.4
4%
Load Average *
33.4
40.5
-21%
36
-8%
37
-11%
30.4
9%
33.2
1%
Witcher 3 ultra *
33.4
Load Maximum *
34.1
40.7
-19%
36.3
-6%
37.1
-9%
34
-0%
37.9
-11%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-12% / -12%
-6% / -6%
-6% / -6%
5% / 5%
1% / 1%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

AIDA
AIDA

We combined the Prime95 and FurMark benchmarks for our stress test, which lead to a reduced clock rate due to thermal limits - similar to what happened during the Cinebench R15 loop. The clock rate dropped to 2.5 GHz after four minutes, and after nine minutes it went even lower to 1.5 GHz. The temperature around the SoC had increased to 80 °C (~176 °F) and was at about 60 °C (~140 °F) at the end.

The graphics card in the SoC works diametrically to the processor: while the latter dropped from 3.5 to 2.5 GHz during the first part of the stress test, our measurements show that the GPU had a clock rate of 0 MHz. As soon as the SoC reaches 1.5 GHz due to throttling, the graphics clock rate increases to 850 MHz and then remains at 800.


Max. Load
 33 °C42 °C42 °C 
 38 °C40 °C40 °C 
 35 °C38 °C35 °C 
Maximum: 42 °C
Average: 38.1 °C
40 °C42 °C37 °C
40 °C39 °C35 °C
35 °C36 °C34 °C
Maximum: 42 °C
Average: 37.6 °C
Power Supply (max.)  39 °C | Room Temperature 22 °C | Fluke 62 Mini

We ran The Witcher 3 long-term test (Gaming, GPU/CPU combined load) for about 60 minutes, during which the device showed a decline in performance from an initial 22-23 FPS to 17-19 FPS. This corresponds to the performance loss we measured during the Cinebench loop (only CPU load).

01234567891011121314151617181920212223Tooltip
The Witcher 3 low

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Power consumption paints a varied picture. The device obviously needs a lot of power while idling - 4 to 14 watts, which is more than any competitor needs. In addition, we also measured high consumption at maximum load, although average load is higher than maximum load. The reason behind this is the throttling of the SoC. We do not measure power consumption at the beginning of the stress test, but after half-an-hour to an hour. The Witcher 3 can also be considered load but seems to not be as demanding on the SoC with a consumption of 38 watts, which is similar to average load.

The Surface Pro i5 (2017) is more energy-efficient (23 instead of 34 watts), which, in the case of maximum load, is due to the strong throttling (-33%).

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.2 / 0.47 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 4.2 / 10.1 / 14 Watt
Load midlight 37.4 / 34 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
7660U, Iris Plus Graphics 640, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M, IPS, 2736x1824, 12.3
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
7300U, HD Graphics 620, Samsung PM971 KUS030202M, IPS, 2736x1824, 12.3
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
6300U, HD Graphics 520, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe, IPS, 2736x1824, 12.3
Lenovo Ideapad Miix 720-12IKB
7500U, HD Graphics 620, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0), IPS, 2880x1920, 12
Asus Transformer 3 Pro T303UA-GN050T
6500U, HD Graphics 520, SK Hynix Canvas SC300 512GB M.2 (HFS512G39MND), IPS, 2880x1920, 12.6
Dell Latitude 12 5285 2-in-1
7600U, HD Graphics 620, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP, IPS, 1920x1280, 12.3
Acer Switch 5 SW512-52-5819
7500U, HD Graphics 620, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW512G7, IPS, 2160x1440, 12
Huawei MateBook X
7200U, HD Graphics 620, LITEON CB1-SD256, , 2160x1440, 13.3
Power Consumption
27%
24%
24%
-3%
24%
23%
-3%
Idle Minimum *
4.2
3.6
14%
4.4
-5%
3.5
17%
6.7
-60%
2.85
32%
3.86
8%
4.6
-10%
Idle Average *
10.1
8.1
20%
9
11%
7.2
29%
10.3
-2%
6.76
33%
6.4
37%
11
-9%
Idle Maximum *
14
8.7
38%
10.7
24%
7.9
44%
13.5
4%
6.91
51%
7.17
49%
12
14%
Load Average *
37.4
25.5
32%
19.6
48%
29.6
21%
26
30%
32.88
12%
30.5
18%
39.5
-6%
Load Maximum *
34
23.5
31%
19.9
41%
30.8
9%
28.8
15%
37.41
-10%
32.4
5%
34.6
-2%
Witcher 3 ultra *
38.1

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

The battery runtimes of the i7 version are not as good as those of the i5 version. Only about 10 hours is left from the 12 h 30 m that the i5 had to offer. As not much has changed regarding resolution, it must be the stronger GPU in the SoC, as well as the cooling fan.  

We are currently testing the Core M version of the Surface Pro 2017 and are curious to see what kind of runtimes that version can offer. We will update when we have our first results. What we know already is that there are only very few convertibles at this performance level that can keep up with the Surface Pro 2017: even with "only" 10 hours of Wi-Fi runtime, the convertible can easily beat its competition. Almost, that is. The Dell Latitude 12 5285 can also manage a full workday of 10 hours. There has been a one-hour increase since the last Surface Pro 4 i5. The Core M version should offer higher results, which was already the case with the old Core M.

Under load - whether that is The Witcher 3 gaming stress test or the Battery Eater Classic Test makes little difference - the device turns off after about 115 minutes. Again, the i5 version had better results and lasted 168 minutes. Other manufacturers can also keep up with these runtimes, for example the Huawei MateBook X, which lasts 162 minutes. This device is currently being tested and the review will be online shortly.

Battery Runtime
Battery Runtime The Witcher 3 ultra
1h 55min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
8h 9min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
10h 14min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 52min
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
7660U, Iris Plus Graphics 640, 45 Wh
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
7300U, HD Graphics 620, 45 Wh
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
6300U, HD Graphics 520, 38 Wh
Lenovo Ideapad Miix 720-12IKB
7500U, HD Graphics 620, 41 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2
7Y54, HD Graphics 615, 37 Wh
Asus Transformer 3 Pro T303UA-GN050T
6500U, HD Graphics 520, 39 Wh
Dell Latitude 12 5285 2-in-1
7600U, HD Graphics 620, 42 Wh
Acer Switch 5 SW512-52-5819
7500U, HD Graphics 620,  Wh
Huawei MateBook X
7200U, HD Graphics 620, 40 Wh
Battery Runtime
51%
-7%
-15%
5%
-43%
-4%
-21%
7%
Reader / Idle
1054
899
713
662
426
1075
711
512
H.264
614
206
-66%
WiFi v1.3
489
744
52%
427
-13%
345
-29%
441
-10%
223
-54%
486
-1%
355
-27%
337
-31%
Witcher 3 ultra
115
Load
112
168
50%
111
-1%
111
-1%
134
20%
102
-9%
105
-6%
95
-15%
162
45%

Verdict

Pros

+ silent without load
+ very good input devices for a convertible

Cons

- strong throttling of CPU and GPU under constant load
- rare reboots
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7, test unit provided by Microsoft
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7, test unit provided by Microsoft

With the i7 2017 Surface Pro, Microsoft has created a convertible tablet that fulfills many, but not all promises. Workmanship, display and battery runtime are, without a doubt, state of the art. Its competitors, such as Acer's Switch 5, cannot keep up here.

Looking at the tablet as a possible laptop replacement, we found similar throttling as in the (fanless) i5 version. It was not quite as bad (-17% in the first round of the i7 vs. -33% in the i5). The throttling becomes noticeable in the PCMarks, however: The Surface Pro i7 (2017) is not at the head of its comparison field in this area with convertibles from Acer and Dell easily overtaking the high-end Surface Pro.

We have nevertheless given the Surface Pro i7 a good rating of 90%, because performance (the minus points are for the throttling) is only one of many aspects that we take into account in our reviews. The system noise is low despite having a cooling system and the fan is turned off while idling. The device has good speakers and the input devices, or rather the Type Cover, are extremely good for a convertible.

Alternatives

The Dell Latitude 12 5285 offers similar performance with less throttling (-9%). The screen is of the same quality (brightness, contrast, brightness distribution, color-space coverage), but it only has Full HD. But then the Dell heats up quite a lot.

The same can be said for the Acer Switch 5 SW512-52, of which the performance drops by only 9% and therefore cannot be considered throttling. But its runtime is considerably lower at six hours. The screen cannot keep up with that of the Surface Pro, nor that of the Latitude 12 5285, despite having 2160x1440 pixels.

If you are looking for runtimes over 10 hours, you should consider the i5 version or even the Core M version of the new Surface Pro 2017. If the SoC cannot deal with constant load anyway, why not buy the cheaper Core M model? It will most probably beat the 12.5 hours Wi-Fi runtime of the i5 model with ease. We are currently testing the device and will update with our results.

Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7 - 07/21/2017 v6
Sebastian Jentsch

Chassis
90 / 98 → 91%
Keyboard
89%
Pointing Device
92%
Connectivity
51 / 80 → 63%
Weight
74 / 35-78 → 91%
Battery
91%
Display
87%
Games Performance
55 / 68 → 81%
Application Performance
89 / 87 → 100%
Temperature
89%
Noise
95%
Audio
86 / 91 → 95%
Camera
71 / 85 → 83%
Average
81%
90%
Convertible - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) (i7, 512 GB, 16 GB) Convertible Review
Sebastian Jentsch, 2017-07-24 (Update: 2017-09-19)