Exact Intel Core processor specs for Surface Pro 3 revealed

Microsoft started taking pre-orders for all five Surface Pro 3 models earlier this week, but until now the company has only given very basic information on the tablets' Intel Core processors. Now ZDNet has received information from Microsoft about the specific Intel Core chips, and their clock speeds, for each of the Surface Pro 3 devices.

The model that was shown during Microsoft's press event on Tuesday has the Intel Core i5-4300U processor, according to ZDNet, with a clock speed of 1.9 GHz and capable of going up to 2.9 GHz using the chip's turbo boost mode. It also has an integrated Intel HD4400 graphics chip. This processor is found in the two Surface Pro 3 models that will start shipping on June 20th. One has 4GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage for $999, and the other has 8GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage for the price of $1,299.

The cheapest Surface Pro 3, priced at $799, won't start shipping until August 31st. ZDNet says it has an Intel Core i3-4020Y processor, running at 1.5 GHz, and an Intel HD4200 graphics chip. The tablet with this processor will have 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.

The two most expensive models in the family will have the Intel Core i7-4650U processor, with a clock speed of 1.7 GHz and a turbo boost speed of 3.3 GHz. Both also have an Intel HD5000 graphics chip. The Surface Pro 3 tablets with the Core i7 processor have 8GB of RAM. One has 256GB of storage and a price of $1,549, while the other has 512 GB of storage for $1,949. Again, both tablets won't start shipping until August 31st.

ZDNet also reports that the $799 Surface Pro 3 can be hooked up to two 1920x1200 external monitors, while the other four tablets can support running two 2880x1800 displays.

Source: ZDNet

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The model that was shown during Microsoft's press event on Tuesday has the Intel Core i5-4300U processor, according to ZDNet, with a clock speed of 1.9 GHz and capable of going up to 2.9 GHz using the chip's turbo boost mode.

Do we know how to enable this yet? And does this apply for the original Surface Pro as well?

I regularly have Chrome, Visual Studios, Outlook, Word and OneNote running with music playing in the background. Would 4GB RAM be enough I do I need 8?

Also, I have little doubt that i5 4300U should be enough for my needs but was wondering why would one wish to go for the i7 with examples of what they'd be running that needed it?

ZipZapRap said,
How does that i7 GPU handle PS? I was set on the i5 256GB, but might have to investigate the i7 now

photoshop doesn't use the GPU that much. it is a very CPU bound and it has plenty of support for the many intel SSE instructions to fall back on. Some of the filters get a speed bump but that is not worth fussing over.

the GPU only really make a difference with the mercury engine in premiere or after effects. however the low ram of the device and low storage makes this tablet not suitable for heavy video editing. maybe it is ok for basic trimming and color keying but if you're serious you want a discrete GPU. I don't do anything serious in premiere unless I have a GPU that is as heavy as this tablet :)

Thats cool, just wanted to clarify.

As far as Macbook air, it would be similar or better. The macbook air recently got bumped up to the latest Haswell thats out and got cheaper by $100. It also has a HD5000 instead of a 4200,4400 or 5000 like the 3 surface pro models.

I wish I could get you the exact cpu model quick and compare, but the cpu's are most likely the exact same. Apple uses the U series from intel just like surface because of heat. So besides the 5000, I see no different as far as CPU's go.

The quick differences I see are listed below.

Air has PCIe, Pro 3(probably) still has mSata SSD
Air has 1400x900 resolution, Pro 3 has 2160x1440 resolution
Air is a laptop, Pro 3 is a hybrid computer
Air doesnt have touch or pen input, Pro 3 does


acido00 said,
Is the CPU faster than iPad Air latest generation?

Arm != x86 so aren't comparing Apples to Apples.

Generally speaking, x86 chips will be more "powerful" than ARM chips as they have a richer instruction set. You also have the issue of power use being the most important factor in ARM design. So ARM chips sacrifice performance to gain power efficiencies. So today's top of the line ARM chips are probably in the range of an Intel Pentium D from 2005 or maybe even an older chip.

You can venture to Wikipedia and read a tiny bit on RISC and CISC to get an idea of the differences between RISC and CISC in a high level sense.

acido00 said,
Is the CPU faster than iPad Air latest generation?

off course. it's intel. it blows away the ARM chip anyday, any time.

acido00 said,

My apologize, I was trying to ask "Macbook Air". Sorry

go to anandtech. this is just the old hasswell chipset. broadwell should bring improvements in performance and or battery life since the die shrink will allow them to bump the clocks a bit more.

In this regard, if MSFT replaces the chip in a few months with a broadwell, we may see a slight performance boost. However what you want is the new intel family which is due in 2015 code name skylake. I never buy too close to the new family releases because you get stuck with a 2 year old design even if it is a new chip. That is why I got my "hasswell" surface on day one...although I wasn't expecting this thing to ship until broadwell was out...But I'm glad. It just means surface 4 with the skylake chips should be just about the most amazing piece of tech I've ever owned.

Looks like the i5 that I ordered is perfect for me. Since the i7 has 2 cores as well, I don't think ill get much of an improvement. The GPU doesnt matter to me because I don't plan on playing real games on it, if any games.

Its going to be note taking, sketching networks, using it for work, etc. I hate carrying a pad and paper everywhere at work and home, this thing is literally going to follow me everywhere and I'm going to get more use out of it without killing my neck then I have out of my SP1.

Depends on what you do, even the most recent games don't demand more than 2-3gb tops.
Wolfenstein claims 4GB min, but I've never seen its usage go above 1.3gb.

4GB RAM should be fine. My brother's laptop has 8GB of RAM and his usage never goes about 50% of it...he's basically wasting half of the RAM most of the time.

who gives a rats tail about games. this isn't a gaming device. the real question is productivity. let's get serious kids: this is a work device.

office will run just fine as will visual studio. SQL server may push it but you can set the memory limits on consumption just fine. photoshop will likely take half your ram as it likes by default but that is enough for most editing. you can always allocate more. plus remember PS will use scratch disks which act as vram against your ssd. so technically you won't run out, it will just slow down.

Looking at benchmarks for the graphics chips, I feel like I need the i7 version just because it comes w/ the HD5000 chip. The HD4400 chip can barely run any games within the last couple of years. The HD5000 can handle them pretty well. Granted, neither can run Crysis, but I was looking for good performance on games such as Diablo 3, Starcraft, and Sim City...mainly games I think would benefit from the touch screen.

Does anyone have any devices w/ an HD4400 and can verify if their experience with games are good with it? The site I was looking at is

http://www.notebookcheck.net/I...-Graphics-5000.91978.0.html

Thanks, been checkin vids on Pro 2...does seem to be good for what I would use it for..again, I don't expect Surface to replace a dedicated gaming pc, but if it can do the job pretty good for a few games that I have, then I'll be happy, and it seems the 4400 can do it pretty good.

running PC games? you can't be serious. on a tablet? you're doing it wrong and doing it at a very expensive cost. here some advice: this is for mobility and productivity, not for...mobile gaming. You an get better performance per dollar from ultrabooks. you will off course gain weight and size, but if you really want mobile gaming, and if you're really serious, you can't really be thinking APUs will deliver. You want a mobile discrete chipset from AMD on NVidia. not an APU from intel.

@neonspark - Like I said before...this isn't to replace my gaming pc. I just to be able to play some games casually when I'm away from home, mostly games like SimCity where you can move around easy with the touch screen. Obviously, its not an ideal setup to use for Crysis (even if it could run it at full power) you wouldn't want to do it with the touch screen. But you could always still plug the Xbox 360 controller into the USB port.

The cheapest Surface Pro 3, priced at $799, won't start shipping until August 31st. ZDNet says it has an Intel Core i3-4020Y processor, running at 1.5 GHz, and an Intel HD4200 graphics chip. The tablet with this processor will have 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

cheapest has 64Gb storage not 128GB!

you were hoping for 4hr battery life? this would have required a much more aggressive cooling solution and a larger battery. this is a 1.7 lb device mind you. there are limits of battery technology as well as the rather high power and thermal limitations of that chip which make it totally not suitable for a tablet.

Antoine Prince said,
I heard i3 really isn't suitable for steam and photoshop. just web and one app at a time kind of tablet?

I imagine you can run games on it and do photoshop. It wont be as pleasurable as the i5 model but it should work =).

The HD4200 is a pretty low power GPU, so it won't be capable of much.

For $799, I would have expected a lot more. Besides the thin form-factor, it doesn't have a hell of a lot going for it.

Antoine Prince said,
I heard i3 really isn't suitable for steam and photoshop. just web and one app at a time kind of tablet?

Well, whoever told you this was not being honest.

Most i3 CPUs, including the mobile variations are FASTER than 99% of all AMD CPUs, including desktop CPUs.

Realize that people run Photoshop on Core2 Duo and older hardware, so a modern i3 is significantly faster and will run the software just fine.


This specific i3 is in the performance range of a Notebook i7 from 2011-2012, which is plenty of power to run any software you want to throw at it, including Photoshop to AutoCAD. It will even handle light gaming of modern titles and easily handle older MMO games like WoW.


Antoine Prince said,
Just web and one app at a time kind of tablet?

Are you crazy? I know it's an i3 but even an i3 these days can handle pretty much everything that you throw at it, and it's definitely more capable than ARM processors. Photoshop might be a struggle, but it depends on the complexity of the project. Simple projects will work fine.

Antoine Prince said,
I heard i3 really isn't suitable for steam and photoshop. just web and one app at a time kind of tablet?

if you're getting the 799 dollar tablet, it will run just fine but if you plan to say, edit RAW files of a D800 and work with multiple layers, your biggest issue won't be CPU but RAM. photoshop is actually a very efficient piece of software because most of the time it isn't doing anything on the whole image. this is not video editing :)

Are you kidding me? I've got a core i3 540 (released in 2010) PC that i'm still using and i've used it to edit 300MB+ photoshop files with many layers, edit HD video, create and edit HD after effects sequences, etc, etc

Steve Galbincea said,
.....as compared to what other product on the market right now?

<...crickets...>

All of the MacBook Airs, which are cheaper than the Surface Pro 3, come with Intel HD 5000 graphics.

Rosyna said,

All of the MacBook Airs, which are cheaper than the Surface Pro 3, come with Intel HD 5000 graphics.

The counterpoint being? The MacBook Air is not a Tablet.


On a more technical note...
On slower CPUs, HD5000 graphics are still CPU bound due to the how Intel GPU technologies work. So an Intel HD5000 GPU on an i3 or i5 can be slower than an HD4000 GPU on a faster i5 or i7.

So many people get confused by the naming of Intel processors.
There are 3 ranges of i3/i5/i7 processors: ultra low voltage, notebook, and desktop
Ranges are not comparable between them.
For example a desktop i3 is noticeably more powerful than an ultra low voltage i7. The former has the same specs or better (especially with its 3.6Ghz) as the latter, minus the power efficiency.
The ultra low voltage i3 is substantially less powerful than even a desktop Celeron.

Klownicle said,
But its still a dual core :(.

that's how it gets its battery life. remember these are INTEL i-cores x86 not some POS ARM core. The performance you'll get out of these will be far greater and given most software is single threaded, you stand to benefit more.