Microsoft upgrades Surface Pro 2 CPU, but is there more to the story?

Microsoft has quietly updated the specs of the Surface Pro 2 by including an updated CPU, but don’t expect any major performance gains from the modest upgrade. The updated tablets now appear to include the Intel i5 4300U clocked at 1.9GHz, whereas the device was previously used the i5 4200U running at 1.6GHz.

The discovery was first spotted over in the official Microsoft support forums, where one Surface Pro 2 owner wrote the following post:

I returned my Surface Pro 2 (v. 256GB) because of the poor performance after the failed 12.10.13 firmware update. I recall the SP2 I returned having a i5 4200U processor. To my surprise, when I checked the System Properties in the Control Panel on my replacement SP2, the processor was upgraded to a i5 4300U @ 1.9Ghz. - 2.5 Ghz

The small gain in clock speed and the slightly newer CPU aren't much to drool over, and the reason why Microsoft didn't announce the upgrade is likely simple.

If Microsoft were to publicize the CPU upgrade, consumers would then be anxiously checking their new Surface Pro 2 tablets to see if they had the latest CPU. If this were true, the likelihood of consumers returning devices to hopefully swap out for a newer device with the CPU could be high, thus making a logistical nightmare for Microsoft. To try to keep this from happening, Microsoft kept quiet on the upgrade so consumers would not be upset that they didn't have the latest specs.

If Microsoft has upped the CPU specs, however, does this mean it sold out of their initial supply faster than anticipated? When ordering CPUs or any component, companies buy in batch quantities. Microsoft likely ordered a large batch of the 4200U processor for the initial launch of the Surface Pro 2. Seeing that sales appear to be better than expected based on available quantities still being slim, they may have re-ordered CPUs faster than anticipated and received a better deal on the newer silicon than the previous CPU.

It's clear that Microsoft had to order more parts to meet the demand for the Surface Pro 2, but the question of if it shorted the initial order expecting cool reception has now caused supply chain shortages, remains to be answered.

Whatever the true reason – and it's likely that Microsoft simply got a better deal on the newer silicon – changing the CPU 2 months after launch is not something you see every day.

Thanks for the tip Greg, via WinBeta!

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so thats means it will consumes more power and will have less battery time for similar workload as previous lower GHz CPU models?

No, check the link up in the thread.
TDP is the same, performance enhancements are marginal to say the least.

Nothing exciting here.....

How if many people send back their surface 2, say that it is slow , bla bla bla. Maybe Microsoft will give New ones which is faster

@+riahc3:
If you think like that, you'll always be waiting for the next best thing around the corner.

It's tech, **** happens....

I don't think the people who already ordered the Surface are screwed since Microsoft did sell the product with the CPU defined. Just think of it as the people who get the newer CPU are getting slightly better deal for the same price.

neonspark said,
wow, can you imagine if you buy one today is like luck of the draw? scroogled?

If you get the older CPU, I would just exchange it in a month for the better one.

sadly in the end it does not matter because by the time i will be able to get my hands on one they will be on the Surface Pro 4 or 5

knighthawk said,
Really? Best Buy around here has plenty in stock, just not the keyboards oddly enough.

Best Buy doesn't give a 10% discount to students/faculty/other people with codes.

Its an order of 4. So thats at least $400, plus the discount on the tax, plus the keyboards.
So a little over $500.

I'm ok with waiting, especially now that I know the shortages have to do with the CPU probably.

tsupersonic said,
Wow - seems like a nice upgrade. Even though it's the next model up, the turbo difference is 300 MHz, that's somewhat substantial.

CPUBoss is a nice site that compares both CPU's: http://cpuboss.com/cpus/Intel-...300U-vs-Intel-Core-i5-4200U

Oddly they have one fact wrong in the comparison, or at least too broad of a generalization. The 4200U does support trusted computing.

PassMark shows the single thread performance between the two as a healthy bump. However the 4200U is not something to sneeze at, still being faster pre core than 1st/2nd generation desktop i7s.

Mobius Enigma said,

Oddly they have one fact wrong in the comparison, or at least too broad of a generalization. The 4200U does support trusted computing.

PassMark shows the single thread performance between the two as a healthy bump. However the 4200U is not something to sneeze at, still being faster pre core than 1st/2nd generation desktop i7s.

No, they are right. Intel's site says the 4200U doesn't support "Trusted Execution Technology" whereas the 4300U does. The 4200U is plenty fast for me, glad customers are being upgraded to the 4300U, lucky them!

tsupersonic said,
No, they are right. Intel's site says the 4200U doesn't support "Trusted Execution Technology" whereas the 4300U does. The 4200U is plenty fast for me, glad customers are being upgraded to the 4300U, lucky them!

Yes, but as I said, a bit too general in the wording.

There is a difference between 'Supports trusted computing' and 'Trusted Execution Technology'.

The 4200U does support 'trusted computing' even though it does not have 'trusted execution' features.

TXT is something for server VMs pools that has very specific functions.

If they are going to use more 'consumer' level wording, they shouldn't use it to reference something that will just confuse consumers. There are far more important features for 'trusted computing' that affect a consumer than one specific feature like TXT.

(Maybe it is my peeve, its just strange wording.)

Dozens, including via the System applet (Control Panel > System) or even using a free tool like CPU-Z.

Nas said,
Dozens, including via the System applet (Control Panel > System) or even using a free tool like CPU-Z.
I wonder how you go the Control Panel > System without opening the box.

Studio384 said,
I wonder how you go the Control Panel > System without opening the box.

I wonder that myself...

It would be interesting if there is a slight bump in SKU/UPC number on the box

Studio384 said,
I wonder how you go the Control Panel > System without opening the box.

I took "before opening one up" as meaning "without actually taking the Surface apart" and not "through magical osmosis with both hands clasp around a brown box with a shipping label from Microsoft Store with the mystical Surface contents within."

That said, only a clear printing of the SKU or an updated UPC number would indicate change; otherwise, no.

They're probably forced to update as the person above said, and even then as the OP said it's very minor upgrade where you won't see any difference.

Intel could also be having a better time getting yield targets out of the other chip. Especially with them delivering to more than just MS it might have been a push from that side of the equation.

Either way, interesting.

I'm sure this is the real answer as to why the switch occurred. Intel probably gave them the better chip at the same price.