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Surface Book with Performance Base Review – 1 TB SSD Update

Klaus Hinum, 👁 Klaus Hinum, Sven Kloevekorn (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 05/30/2017

Top model. We review the high-end SKU of Microsoft's luxury 2-in-1 with a fast 1 TB NVMe-SSD and 16 GB DDR4 of RAM. We check the differences to the entry-level version from 2017 that we have already reviewed.

For the original German review, see here.

You currently pay a hefty premium of $1100 ($3199; base model $2099) for an additional 768 GB of SSD storage and 8 GB of RAM extra. This is a lot, but not unusual for high-end SKUs with a limited user interest. We will check the performance difference compared to the entry-level version. A comprehensive review for the 256 GB model with measurements for the display as well as the fan noise, speakers, keyboard, and many more, is available here.

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Microsoft Surface Book with Performance Base (Surface Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M - 2048 MB, Core: 1150 MHz, Memory: 1253 MHz, GDDR5, ForceWare 376.67, Nvidia Optimus Intel HD Graphics 520
Memory
16348 MB 
, DDR3-1866 10-10-10-28 Dual-Channel
Display
13.5 inch 3:2, 3000 x 2000 pixel 267 PPI, 10-Punkt-Multitouch, native pen support, Panasonic MEI96A2, IPS, Monitor name: VVX14P048M00 100 percent sRGB color, glossy: yes, detachable screen
Mainboard
Intel Skylake-U Premium PCH
Storage
Samsung MZFLW1T0HMLH,  GB 
, M.2 2280, M.2/​M-Key, PCIe 3.1 x4, 913 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Skylake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: Stereo jack, Card Reader: SD, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer
Networking
Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 4.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 23 x 312 x 232 ( = 0.91 x 12.28 x 9.13 in)
Battery
78 Wh Lithium-Polymer, 60 + 17 Wh (Tablet + Base), Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 16 h
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Camera
Primary Camera: 8.0 MP rear autofocus camera with 1080p video
Secondary Camera: 8 MPix 5.0 MP front camera with 1080p FHD video
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo speakers Dolby Audio Premium, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Surface Pen, PSU, Quick-start guide, security information and warranty, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
1.658 kg ( = 58.48 oz / 3.66 pounds), Power Supply: 378 g ( = 13.33 oz / 0.83 pounds)
Price
2600 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

1 TB SSD from Samsung

Our test model from Microsoft Austria is equipped with an M.2 SSD from Samsung. It has the designation MZFLW1T0 with a storage capacity of 1 TB. It uses the NVMe protocol just like the 256 GB model in the entry-level and has a similar problem with the write operations in the AS SSD benchmark. CrystalDiskMark on the other hand shows similar performance figures to the entry-level model.

However, the Samsung MZFLW1T0 cannot keep up with fast M.2 NVMe desktop SSDs. Even 950 Pro as well as 960 Pro are about 66% faster in CrystalDiskMark (e.g. Schenker XMG U727). The Samsung is also just behind the 1 TB SSD in the 2016 MacBook Pro models; but is much faster in the important 4K tests in return.

Microsoft Surface Book with Performance Base
GeForce GTX 965M, 6600U, Samsung MZFLW1T0HMLH
Microsoft Surface Book with Performance Base
GeForce GTX 965M, 6600U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
Eurocom Tornado F5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700K, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
Samsung 960 Evo 250GB
Titan X Pascal, E5-2680 v4, Samsung SSD 960 Evo 250GB m.2 NVMe
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Radeon Pro 460, 6920HQ, Apple SSD SM1024L
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
1%
67%
44%
26%
Write 4k QD32
376.37
347.1
-8%
634
68%
410.2
9%
562.1
49%
Read 4k QD32
379.48
326.9
-14%
744.4
96%
480.8
27%
679.3
79%
Write 4k
120.38
108.6
-10%
180.6
50%
77.45
-36%
10.9
-91%
Read 4k
41.79
40.91
-2%
55.94
34%
34.36
-18%
9.786
-77%
Write 512
776.27
698.1
-10%
966.7
25%
1246
61%
1058
36%
Read 512
425.78
687.4
61%
715.3
68%
1088
156%
913.7
115%
Write Seq
987.5
860.9
-13%
1724
75%
1563
58%
1440
46%
Read Seq
989.8
1017
3%
2145
117%
1920
94%
1458
47%
AS SSD
-51%
575%
401%
354%
Copy Game MB/s
721
1310.15
82%
832.83
16%
Copy Program MB/s
344
634.94
85%
355.82
3%
Copy ISO MB/s
1002
1614.11
61%
1197.72
20%
1477.57
47%
Score Total
2004
352
-82%
3943
97%
3614
80%
3320
66%
Score Write
65
14
-78%
1689
2498%
1195
1738%
750
1054%
Score Read
1318
247
-81%
1512
15%
1637
24%
1718
30%
Access Time Write *
4
2.506
37%
0.024
99%
0.052
99%
Access Time Read *
0.082
0.03
0.076
0.313
4K-64 Write
45
2.05
-95%
1333.91
2864%
971.01
2058%
550.99
1124%
4K-64 Read
1152
104.54
-91%
1178.67
2%
1351.55
17%
1494.42
30%
4K Write
1.63
150.46
71.42
12.93
4K Read
34
34.95
3%
50.96
50%
30.59
-10%
10.53
-69%
Seq Write
198
98.56
-50%
2046.28
933%
1521.84
669%
1865.68
842%
Seq Read
1310
1071.87
-18%
2819.05
115%
2548.5
95%
2132.55
63%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-25% / -26%
321% / 372%
223% / 258%
190% / 199%

* ... smaller is better

Practical Experiences with the SSD

Unfortunately, we do not have any results in AS SSD's copy benchmark for the 256 GB version, but we can see a big deficit compared to the faster 960 M.2-SSDs. The MacBook Pro 15 is also much faster in the ISO copy test (the only one that worked).

The PCMark 8 Storage Test simulates typical load scenarios. The performance is a bit better than the 256 GB model (-1%) and just behind the Apple SSD inside the MBP 15 (+1%).

Microsoft Surface Book with Performance Base
GeForce GTX 965M, 6600U, Samsung MZFLW1T0HMLH
Microsoft Surface Book with Performance Base
GeForce GTX 965M, 6600U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Radeon Pro 460, 6920HQ, Apple SSD SM1024L
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
Cinebench R15
-4%
57%
-6%
CPU Single 64Bit
140
139
-1%
163
16%

156
11%

132
-6%
CPU Multi 64Bit
310.31
324
4%
740
138%

729
135%

342
10%
Ref. Match 64Bit
99.62
99.6
0%
98
-2%
97.8
-2%
OpenGL 64Bit
79.17
64.87
-18%
114.74
45%
60.14
-24%
PCMark 8
-6%
12%
-1%
Storage Score v2
4988
4927
-1%
5061
1%
Storage Score
4662
Work Score Accelerated v2
3964
3949
0%
4755
20%
4052
2%
Creative Score Accelerated v2
5033
4136
-18%
4984
-1%
4431
-12%
Home Score Accelerated v2
3188
3040
-5%
4066
28%
3394
6%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-5% / -5%
35% / 39%
-4% / -4%

Application Performance

The second upgrade is the RAM equipment with a total of 16 GB. The combination with the SSD should also influence the application performance of the Surface Book. The Cinebench results are a bit surprising. The single-core performance is, as expected, on par, but the 256 GB model is 4% faster in the multi-core test. This should be a result of usual variances within the series as well as the cooling (maybe bad thermal paste application).

The lower multi-core performance should also affect the PCMark 8 performance, but the 16 GB model can still beat the 8 GB entry-level system. Both systems are on par in the Work test, while the 256 GB model is 18% slower in the Creative test.

Microsoft Surface Book with Performance Base
GeForce GTX 965M, 6600U, Samsung MZFLW1T0HMLH
Microsoft Surface Book with Performance Base
GeForce GTX 965M, 6600U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Radeon Pro 460, 6920HQ, Apple SSD SM1024L
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
Cinebench R15
2%
75%
2%
CPU Single 64Bit
140
139
-1%
163
16%

156
11%

132
-6%
CPU Multi 64Bit
310.31
324
4%
740
138%

729
135%

342
10%
PCMark 8
-8%
16%
-1%
Work Score Accelerated v2
3964
3949
0%
4755
20%
4052
2%
Creative Score Accelerated v2
5033
4136
-18%
4984
-1%
4431
-12%
Home Score Accelerated v2
3188
3040
-5%
4066
28%
3394
6%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-3% / -4%
46% / 50%
1% / 0%

Verdict

The top model of the Surface Book with Performance Base offers more storage capacity and twice as much RAM compared to the entry-level model. The performance of the SSD is on par with the base 256 GB model from Toshiba, so no gains in this respect. We can, however, notice the upgrade to 16 GB RAM in two out of three PCMark 8 tests. Still, this does not justify the hefty additional price of $1100. You should only get the high-end SKU if you really need 1 TB of storage capacity.

Please see our in-depth review for more information about the Microsoft Surface Book.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Surface Book with Performance Base Review – 1 TB SSD Update
Klaus Hinum, 2017-05-30 (Update: 2017-05-31)
Andreas Osthoff
Andreas Osthoff - Senior Editor Business
I grew up with computers and modern consumer electronics. I am interested in the technology since I had my first computer, a Commodore C64, and started building my own PCs after that. My focus here at Notebookcheck is the business segment including mobile workstations, but I also like to test new mobile devices. It is always a great experience to review and compare new products. My free time is filled with a lot of sports, in the summer mainly on my bike.