Surface Pro 4: Which to Choose?

DJShafman

Estimable
Feb 21, 2014
15
0
4,560
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So I decided to buy a surface pro 4. However, the problem I now run into is that there are quite a lot of configurations to choose from. I am going to be using the surface pro 4 mainly for Photoshop, illustrator and a couple of other editing tools (preferably without any lag) using the pen, along with maybe having a web browser and microsoft word open at the same time. How much ram / what processor would you recommend me to get? In terms of storage, I think 256 GB would probably be enough (since I can always add a micro ssd if needed) later. Thanks for the help in advance!

EDIT: I almost forgot, I need it to be able to run as a second monitor (not mirroring, but being a continuation) to another laptop as well.
 

oddaaron00

Estimable
Jul 16, 2015
10
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4,570
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I'd recommend an i5 to i7 CPU and 8 to 16GB RAM. i7 and 8/16GB if you want no lag whatsoever, i5 and 8/16GB if you have a budget. 8GB will limit the amount of stuff you can have open so I'd recommend 16GB for what you're doing but 8GB will suffice.
 

DJShafman

Estimable
Feb 21, 2014
15
0
4,560
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Basically exactly what I was thinking. But, there are still 4 possible combinations you can make with these options, I guess if what you're saying is that it won't be overkill to get 16GB ram on an i7 for photoshop, word and chrome to be open at the same time, along with the ability to be a second monitor, then I will go with that probably. I just wasn't sure if it was necessary at all for the tasks I have listed - it's not like I'm going to game on the thing.
Also, is the i7 such a huge and noticeable difference to the i5, or is it not worth it?
 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator
Below are specs for the i5-6300u (2.4GHz / 3.0GHz) and i7-6650u (2.2GHz / 3.4GHz) CPUs.

http://ark.intel.com/compare/88190,91497


The Core i5 has a higher base clock speed, but lower max Turbo Boost speed. The Core i7 has a lower base clock speed, but higher max Turbo Boost speed. The Core i7 also has 1MB more internal cache which can be helpful in CPU intensive tasks and it also has a more power integrated graphics core, the Intel Iris 540. There are no benchmarks for that graphics core, but Notebookcheck.net estimates it should be a more powerful than a nVidia 920m. In the link below they rank the Intel Iris 540 as a "Class 2" GPU that is somewhat close to the performance of the nVidia 930m (see middle column).

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-Iris-Graphics-540.149939.0.html


The Core i5 CPU has an Intel HD 520 graphics core. Based on some benchmarks Notebookcheck.net ranks it as a "Class 3" GPU that has similar performance to the nVidia 820m. That makes it less powerful than the Intel Iris 540.

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-520.149940.0.html


Overall, the processor performance between the i5-6300u and i7-6550u is not much, but the graphics performance of the Intel Iris 540 would be beneficial for driving a second monitor and any effects in Photoshop that can take advantage of the graphics core. Is it huge? Probably not, but it is there.
 

DJShafman

Estimable
Feb 21, 2014
15
0
4,560
0


See, the thing is I'm looking for maximum portability, so that is why I was going for the surface pro. And it seems like the dgpu is built into the keyboard so if I take both around it seems to be pretty bulky. Also, what do you mean intensively? I seem to never get any lag on my proper laptop (despute it having a 980m & 16gb RAM).
 

DJShafman

Estimable
Feb 21, 2014
15
0
4,560
0


Thanks, that (kind of) cleared things up for me. The memory cache boost along with a slightly higher clock speed does not seem to be such a huge deal, so unless there are performance comparisons somewhere, I'll have to assume that it is not a huge difference. There is, also the problem that it might be noisy and heat up more (since the product is not reviewed just yet to my knowledge)? Also, there's the problem of ram... do you think 16GB, or should 8GB suffice?
 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator
For working with graphic files, I would recommend 16GB over 8GB because you cannot upgrade the RAM.

I do not do digital art / photography, but I do know that large graphic files can use a lot of RAM especially when you apply filters and layers. Plus you need to take into consideration that integrated graphics will also use some of the system RAM. You may run into a situation where the 8GB of RAM is split between 3GB for the Intel HD graphics and the remaining 5GB is used by Windows; I actually do not know what the max amount of system the Intel HD can use.
 

velo3100

Distinguished
Moderator
The dgpu is built into the gpu of the surface book but I would call it bulky. It is much smaller than most laptops with this kind of gpu plus its custom built for the laptop. I mean applying lots of layers and affects. For the igpu, it will start to reach its limits whereas the custom gpu in the surface book will be a lot better,.


 
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