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In 2015, Microsoft introduced the original Surface Book product, which was designed with a separate keyboard and display: a separate display is a powerful tablet, connected to the GPU on the keyboard, you can turn into a powerful laptop.

After 5 years, the Surface Book has been updated to the third generation of products, and the maximum optional NVIDIA’s professional-grade graphics card Quadro RTX 3000. From the choice of this graphics card, it is also seen that Microsoft expects this generation of Surface Books.

The author also got the Surface Book 3 product, and see what the “laptop benchmark” created by Microsoft has become five years later.

Exterior design: Top hinge design, but the bezel can be narrower

First, let’s look at the hardware configuration of this computer:

Surface Book 3 hardware configuration at a glance

The exterior design of the Surface Book 3 still follows the previous design, and the mechanical hinge design damping is controlled just enough for one hand to open. However, the hinge design also makes this laptop unable to fit completely. Whether this iconic design is good or bad is a matter of opinion.

The hinge was designed to connect the tablet part with the keyboard part in an “elegant and flexible” way. If you remove the monitor, you can find that the part of the keyboard that connects it to the keyboard is the same as the previous generation interface, and you can directly use the built-in charger to power the “tablet” part.

In addition, in theory, since the interface has not changed, it is not much problem to give it stronger performance by replacing the “base keyboard”.

On the A side of the notebook, the “tablet” is printed with a large “Tian” logo printed on the back, and a camera placed in the upper right corner. There are heat sinks around the entire tablet, and the top is lined with volume adjustment buttons and power buttons – this design allows you to avoid accidentally pressing the power button while typing.

As for the front of the tablet, there is still no change – on the bezel, a pair of speaker cutouts on the left and right are configured, and the top is the iconic Windows Hello camera dual-array microphone.

Although this screen has 3000×2000 resolution and up to 267PPI, and supports touch, the black thick border is a little behind the times when all laptops are pursuing a full screen, and the narrow border is a little behind the times.

Plugging the “tablet” into the “keyboard base” is the right way to open this PC performance mode. The base part is not a plane, but a beveled plane, and it has a bevel on both sides.

This non-flat design indirectly increases the space inside the base part. Microsoft arranged the heat dissipation outlet of the base part at the hinge connection, which not only gave more heat dissipation space to the internal components, but also gave more depth to the keyboard, thereby increasing the key travel of the keyboard keys.

The key travel of this keyboard is indeed longer, the feedback when pressed is relatively fast and powerful, and the rebound does not have the slightest delay. The author is personally not very accustomed to this kind of keyboard with strong feedback, and my fingers will feel tired if I type for too long. However, regarding the feel of the keyboard, it varies from person to person, and perhaps what the author is not used to may be preferred by a certain type of people.

It should be noted that there is also a special “detach key” in the upper right corner of the keyboard, which can be pressed to separate the screen with one click. So when using the keyboard, be careful to avoid pressing.

Microsoft equipped the Surface Book 3 with a sleek glass trackpad, which is already comparable to the industry-benchmark MacBook series – the fly in the ointment, this trackpad is still smaller.

Finally, there is the body interface, with two USB-A ports (3.1 Gen2 standard) and SD card reader slots on one side, Microsoft’s custom Surface Connect port on the other side, and a USB-C port (3.1 Gen2 standard) that supports PD fast charging. Microsoft explained that it is not equipped with the Thunderbolt 3 standard USB-C interface for security reasons – this is still a bit regrettable.

From the perspective of design concept and material configuration, Surface Book 3 is still the “leader” in the Windows camp, but 5 years ago no matter how good the mold and design concept, there will always be some “old”, such as the thick border of the display, the USB-C interface that does not support the Thunderbolt 3 standard, and the trackpad that now looks slightly smaller.

Performance: It not only meets the needs of amateur video creation, but also game entertainment

The author got the 13.5-inch i7 version of the Surface Book 3, which is equipped with the NVIDIA GTX1650 4GB version, and the Quadro RTX 3000 has not yet been launched in the Microsoft Store in China.

However, no matter which version, the top CPU is the ten-generation Core i7-1065G7. This processor is a quad-core eight-thread, main frequency of 1.3GHz, turbo frequency up to 3.9GHz. So from the 13.5-inch version in my hand, you can also see the processor performance of the Surface Book 3 series computer.

The first is “Fritz Chess Benchmark” as a CPU performance test:

From this test, we can see that the peak frequency of this CPU is about 3.5GHz, and this high frequency is only maintained for a while, and soon dropped to about 2.0GHz.

In order to verify whether the i7-1065G7 cannot run the nominal turbo frequency of 3.9GHz when working under high load is just an example of a certain software, the author used another software, CineBench R15 and CineBench R20, as test software:

CineBench R15 running score results

It can be found that in both test software, the i7-1065G7 will only reach a peak frequency of about 3.5Ghz in the first few seconds, and then will drop to 2.0GHz. Among them, in the more stressful CineBench R20, there were even cases where the long-term high-load operation frequency fell to around the 1.4GHz base frequency.

CineBench R20 running score results

What do these numbers say? This computer cannot be kept running at full state the whole time when the CPU is required for intensive and long-term work.

So what kind of state will such a performance be reflected in the specific work? Take Photoshop and Premiere, which are commonly used by most users, for example:

For the most part, the Surface Book 3 shouldn’t have much of a problem with normal picture processing. If you use Premiere for video editing, 1080P, 60 frames and 150M bitrate 10-bits under H264 encoding are not a problem to process, and the rendering time will not be very long; And if you deal with 100M bitrate 4K ProRes 422, it starts to be a little stretched.

So if your clips are all 1080P resolution video and occasionally mixed in with a little 4K footage, the Surface Book 3 has no problem handling it. If it’s all 4K resolution footage, the Surface Book 3 won’t be able to edit smoothly throughout.

If it’s a gaming scene, how does the Surface Book 3 perform? Take the 3D Mark test, for example. Its running score is shown in the figure below:

3D Mark runs scores

Compared with the same ten-generation Core i7-1065G7 processor Ultrabook is much stronger, but compared to the standard pressure processor and RTX2060 gaming notebook is definitely a lot worse. However, in the benchmark test running the GTA5 game, the frame rate of the special effects full open is around 30~40 frames, and the lowest frame rate is about 28 frames.

GTA5 benchmark

Running effects such as LOL to extremely high, the Surface Book 3 should be able to stabilize around 100 frames; The PUBG effect can be stabilized at around 60 frames when turned on to super high. Therefore, the Surface Book 3 is also qualified as a computer for occasional leisure and entertainment.

A list of Unigine Valley running points

Finally, by the way, the Surface Book 3’s cooling strategy is also pretty good, and you will hardly hear the cooling fan if you are not running large programs. Only when running large programs or games can you hear the sound of the cooling fan.

Since the air outlet of the cooling fan is concentrated in the hinge, the wrist part does not feel the heat at all, but if you run under high load for a long time, your fingers will still feel the temperature of the fuselage rise.

Finally, the part about battery life, the official maximum battery life is 15.5 hours. However, in actual testing, if it is only processing text and browsing the web, the unplugged battery life is about 7 hours, and if the “Enable Dedicated Graphics” is turned off in the NVIDIA control panel, the battery life can be increased by about 3-4 hours, up to 10 hours.

If you unplug the keyboard dock and only use the host part as a tablet, it can last about 2~3 hours, depending on the specific use. In addition, Microsoft is equipped with a 95W charger for the Surface Book 3, which is still equipped with a USB-A interface 7.5W charging port.

Summary: The experience is still at the top of the Win camp, but I expect more for its future

Surface Book series products, as a benchmark product in the Windows camp, are regarded by Microsoft as representing the future of products. The user experience is also benchmark: such as a top-of-the-line display that supports touch, a keyboard with long key travel, and a smooth trackpad.

However, at present, Surface Book 3 does not have such a strong “sense of future technology”, it is more like a routine upgrade product. The author believes that the current Surface Book series has completed Microsoft’s task of showing the future notebook form to the Windows camp.

The launch of Surface Book 3 can be regarded as giving fans of this design a satisfactory ending, and it is time for Microsoft to launch a completely new design Surface Book. Perhaps Microsoft should also learn from Apple’s embrace of ARM-based processors.

In this way, it can not only abandon the burden of compatible x86 architecture applications, but also reduce the power consumption of the tablet part, improve battery life, and make the Surface Book series truly become a “disassembly is a tablet, access is a high-performance computer” product.

(This article was first published on Titanium Media APP丨Author/Tang Zhixiao)