Take on the new hardware. The Surface Book 3 features a quad-core of Intel’s 10th-generation Intel CPUs, reaching a speed of 3.9GHz Turbo. (The chips also appear on the Surface Laptop 3, an ultraportable that doesn’t even pretend to handle heavy lift). The 16-inch MacBook Pro, on the other hand, offers Intel’s recent six- and eight-core, including the incredibly powerful 5GHz Core i9. Dell’s XPS 15 can also be configured with similar chips up to 5.1GHz. You do the math. There is simply no way Surface Book 3 can compete against a CPU.
At least Microsoft is competitive in the face of graphics. You̵7;ve got NVIDIA’s GTX 1650, GTX 1660 Ti and Quadro RTX 3000 as options, the latter of which is faster than the MacBook Pro 16-inch Radeon GPU. You’ll have to jump through a few more hoops to get the Quadro GPU though, as it’s only available to corporate customers.
I’m not saying Surface Book 3 isn’t awesome. It still looks and feels like a quality machine, even though the design has not been a buddy since the last model. There is the same case of all-metal, the unique bulbous hinge (which leaves a slight gap open when closed), and a large 15-inch screen. But since we last saw the Surface Book, most PC makers have begun to seriously slow down their bezels to fit larger displays and reduce weight. Book 3, unfortunately, still has thick screen boundaries that look like a notebook from 4 or 5 years ago.
Previously, I also knocked out the 15-inch Surface Book for being heavier than its competitors at 4.2 pounds. But, ironically enough, Apple ended up making the 16-inch MacBook Pro a bit chunkier too, so now it’s barely surpassing Book 3. But as you can see, I think Apple justifies it avoiding it a little further. And the MacBook Pro is significantly thinner – the Book 3 is up to 23 millimeters thick, while the MacBook Pro stands at 16.3 millimeters. As before, Microsoft’s curved hinges make things a little more complicated.
One benefit of being so large, however, is that the Surface Book 3 can fit a wide keyboard and a large touchpad. It’s all the same hardware we saw a few years ago, but they’re still great. The keys are a lot of depth and responsiveness, making them a dream to type. And the slick glass touchpad is among the best I have ever used in a Windows notebook.
So sure, there’s a lot to love about the Surface Book 3. But if you want to know why I’m critical of this new hardware, just look at the benchmarks. In PCMark 10, it gained a notch under the recent XPS of 13. Dell is even worse, scoring just a few hundred points higher than HP’s Elite Dragonfly, a 2-pounds PC performance. which we call “middling.” If you are trying to become a powerhouse machine, this is not the company you should keep. The Geekbench 5 5-speed multi-core also fell behind the new MacBook Pro 13-inch, and was renamed the XPS 13. Surface Book 3 improved the benchmark of the Geekbench 5, which NVIDIA brought with it. GPU. The excellent ASUS Zephyrus G14 (a cheaper machine with better CPU scores).
The GTX 1660 Ti is clearly the driving force behind the Surface Book 3’s performance, and it also means that some decent gaming will eventually hold a notebook. Running at 1080p, I clocked between 110 and 130 FPS Overwatch with “epic” graphics settings. Ang Hitman 2 the benchmark delivers a solid 72 FPS with mailed settings. To be clear, you can get similar performance from gaming notebooks worth half. But at least Book 3 owners will be able to do some fragting done alongside their creative work.