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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