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back to article Microsoft's Intel-powered Surface Pro to launch in February

Microsoft has announced the next major push in its Surface consumer hardware campaign, including the launch date of Surface Windows 8 Pro, the Intel-powered big brother to the ARM-based Surface Windows RT fondleslab that debuted in October. In a press release on Tuesday, the software giant said its latest tablet will arrive in …

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K
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Re: Perfect for business use

I'd like to see some success in business with this.

At present iPad is dominant, but that usually comes down to a sales persons or managers individually choosing them. Most don't have the "IT Department" stamp of approval as they don't have the integration, security or access control.

Still can't help but feel one of the other posters is correct, M$ has lost a lot of momentum on this. It didn't help that they decided to screw other a lot of users and push it as Desktop OS whilst removing the "Desktop" features such as Start Menu etc.

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Happy

Re: Perfect for business use

@K, re: "removing the "Desktop" features such as Start Menu"... since starting to use Win8 as my home desktop OS a couple of months ago, I've started to take note of how often I use the Start menu when using my Vista/7 work desktops. The answer is - not very much at all, actually. The only time I go into the Start menu most days is (ironically) when I'm shutting down. Once the machine is set up with Desktop shortcuts, the Quick Launch bit of the toolbar, etc, what do you (or 'the average user', if you're not average) really need the Start menu for?

Like a lot of people have said already, the lack of a Start menu was a bit disconcerting to start(!) with, but I soon got used to it. One has to suppose that a Microsoft spent at least an afternoon or two on usability testing, so perhaps they came to the same conclusion.

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K
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Re: Perfect for business use

@Chris Long

Personally I agree, also if I need a Start Menu, I'll just download Start8..

But we are tech savvy - Your average 20-60 year old employee is far from that, give them Windows 8 and they will click round and eventually get frustrated as everything has changed and they can't find anything. (Also the argument that younger employees can work it out is crap, I work for a company were 90% employees are between 20-25, and most of them can barely switch a computer on (Not saying they are morons, just 99% of their lives revolve around a browser and little else!).

Now imagine if you had 200 similar employees. Are you really going to roll out Windows 8? It would anger employees, put a training burdon on IT staff and more importantly reduce the productivity of staff.

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Re: Perfect for business use

@K:

I take your point, absolutely, I just don't think it's such a major fail as people are making out, and I specifically think that about the loss of the Start menu. XP to Vista also changed the look of lots of aspects of the UI, as did the Ribbon, etc. I remember being sent on a training course many years ago when my company introduced Win95 where they explained what the funny little 'X' at the top-right of each window was for. No company is going to roll out Win8 without that sort of basic familiarity training, and I doubt any company would roll out Win8 in the next two years regardless of the UI changes, by which time many users will have learnt how to use it outside of their work environment. There are only four or five new things that a basic user needs to know, after all - how to get to the Start screen and back to the desktop, how to shut down/hibernate, how to change passwords, how to use the search box - half a day's training at most?

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I'd love a Windows 8 tablet

I just don't think it'll be this one. Too damned expensive.

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Too fookin' heavy

0.91kg - not a chance. Get better significantly better specc'd megabooks (or whatever the term for them nowadays) that weigh only slightly more for less. And here's me waiting to spunk € 1000 on something to replace the 2.5 kg Thinkpad I have to lug around too often.

@El Reg - the copy seems to suggest that the Intel graphics is better than Nvidia's Tegra. While the Intel Core i5 certainly is beefier than the Tegra, the least said about Intel's graphic chips, the better.

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Re: Too fookin' heavy

The HD4000 integrated graphics allows most games at lower settings, decode 4K video and run up to three monitors... should be fine for most people other than gamers, modellers and CUDA-abusers, no?

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-4000.69168.0.html

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Re: Too fookin' heavy

@Dave, thanks for the info. I wasn't really bitching about the HD4000, just about the copy which could be read to put Intel's graphic unit up against Nvidia. The combination of i5 and the HD4000 is certainly significantly more powerful than a Tegra 3 but that is down to the i5. Be interesting to see real world comparisons of the HD4000 against the Nvidia in tablet space, including power draw, of course.

I do have one question - WTF are people going to have 4k chips in their tablets for? Unless I've missed something they don't have the outputs that can drive the screens. That means paying for more silicon to sit there and draw power while doing nothing. I suppose that allows manufacturers to do the usual castration and sell two lines - one over-specc'd and over-priced and another, under-specc'd and still over-priced.

C'mon Google, quit farting around with Chrome OS and come up with a notebook flavour of Android!

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Re: HD4000 integrated graphics

"most games"? HD4000 isn't supported by The Witcher 2

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JDX
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Re: Too fookin' heavy

Sorry Charlie but as someone who works with 3D rendering, the modern Intel graphics chips are a world apart from the ones a few years ago. Full DX10/11 support, etc. It won't be great compared to a discrete fat GPU but then neither is any other option. Integrated graphics - Intel/iPad/etc - are surprisingly capable these days.

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Facepalm

Re: 0.91kg - not a chance.

What are you talking about? How much do you think a Macbook Air 11" weights? Weight: 2.38 pounds (1.08 kg). How much does it cost? $1099 for 128GB version, $999 for 64GB (both have 4GB RAM and HD4000 of course)

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Re: HD4000 integrated graphics

""most games"? HD4000 isn't supported by The Witcher 2"

My experience with Intel GPUs is they've improved a lot from the early days to the point that they are capable of running most games on the lowest settings. Most does not mean all, but it does mean they're not entirely useless.

It may be that The Witcher 2 is a particularly demanding game, or simply hasn't been optimized for low end GPUs, or has bugs which don't manifest themselves on other chipsets / drivers, or the Intel driver is bugged. I know from experience that writing shaders that work well on different GPUs can be an enormous pain in the arse at the best of times so all of these are feasible reasons it doesn't work.

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Re: Too fookin' heavy

@JDX, I know what the integrated graphics are capable of. I'm just querying the wisdom of the HD 4000 in this product over another integrated solution except fatter margins for Intel.

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Facepalm

Again, sort of want

I could see really getting a lot of use out of this class of device. I could even live with the piddling RAM and storage. But Intel graphics? REALLY? If there's one thing I don't want in a tablet, it's a graphics processor which is slow yet hot and hungry.

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Re: Again, sort of want

And again:

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-4000.69168.0.html

Compared to the Intel HD Graphics 3000 in Sandy Bridge CPUs, the HD 4000 card was completely redesigned and offers improved DirectX 11 capable shaders, Hardware Tessellation, a dedicated level 3 cache... ...In the slower i7-3610QM and a dual core i5 it was on a similar level as the Radeon 6620G. Therefore, casual gamers that wont mind reducing the quality settings in high end games, may be happy with the performance of the HD Graphics 4000.

The integrated video decoder called Multi Format Codec Engine (MFX) was also improved and should allow even simultaneus 4K video decoding.

Another new feature is the support for up to 3 independent displays (depends on how the HD 4000 is used in the laptop - maybe only with a DisplayPort / eDP).

Due to the 22nm 3D Tri-Gate production process, the power consumption should be relatively low (the development was focused on performance per Watt).

Things do change, you know.

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Thumb Up

Re: Again, sort of want

So, Dave 126, what you're saying is that the HD 4000 is slightly less shitty than the HD 3000 but it still basically sucks. Thanks for backing me up!

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Re: Again, sort of want

Nah, that wasn't what I said.

In this Surface Pro device - which is not being sold as games machine or CAD workstation- the HD4000 is fit for purpose. It plays most games well enough though, is fairly frugal, and can transcode feature-length 1080 movies with hardly any CPU load in 15 minutes.

It might not be fantastic, but it isn't shitty.

The reason I picked up on your comment is that it appeared to be based on your experience with earlier Intel GPUs- which were shit. However, the benchmarking sites reckon the HD4000 is a significant move forwards from the previous generation- though obviously not perfect. .

I've used it in a passively cooled 100% silent machine, and it's good. I'm not saying its suitable for all machines and users (and it isn't ideal for me), since of course they may have greater demands, both in terms of raw power and driver support.

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Well, at that price

And those specs, I'm rushing right out and buying... something with higher specs at a lower price!

C'mon, two minutes googling turns up dozens of laptops, tablets and hybrids that beat this on both, several even run your choice of Win 7 or 8!

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JDX
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Re: Well, at that price

Yes and you can get a desktop for the price of an iPad too. I could buy a kick-ass motorbike for the price of a budget family car, but they're different things.

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Close... but too many compromises

A few key points, some of which build off of points already made by others:

1. As a tablet, this is priced beyond what the market will bear. $1000 and up is too expensive. Anyone remember the Cisco Cius? Battery life is reported to be in the 5-hour range. ... but...

2. If the Surface PRO is being positioned as a laptop replacement, then the price and battery life is not too far off the rest of the laptop market. ... but...

3. On the other hand, as a laptop replacement, the keyboard and mouse become mandatory so the price really starts around $1200, plus a couple of hundred for Office so we're looking at $1400-$1500 tablet/laptop. For that kind of money, you could get a decent laptop AND a decent tablet. No compromises.

I'm sorry, but this thing is over-priced and under-batteried for the uses that tablets are best for, and it is over-priced and under-storaged (possibly under-powered also) for the uses that laptops are best for. The flexibility of the Surface allows it to compete in both the tablet and laptop segments, but it is a mid-tier player at best in both. Will there be a new segment defined by the surface? I don't think so. The market is heading in the other direction.

I'm curious why there was no mention of the Intel Atom-based Surface in this article. To me, that one looks more like the sweet spot with a better balance of the key parameters.

P.S. Please congratulate me on not making this another operating system debate. My own personal bias is that even if the Surface were a new god box, it would still be running Windows and Office so it still wouldn't interest me – but others feel differently so that isn't the argument on whether the Surface Pro is a decent product.

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Those rates might not be so unreasonable

LOL

Unless they are selling this as an executive toy, then it's about right.

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Trollface

Limbo kit.

Price and specs alone make this a great addition, if you are stuck in a room with no doors, because you'd still have windows!

Trolled.

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Meh

Once upon a time, dweebs would upgrade their processor, mobo, and ram when the clock speed doubled, and the price arrived at a sensible median.

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but until I see a means to drastically improve my productivity on the pc front, I'm going to spend my beer tokens on storage and backups.

Nowhere in the slablet flimflammery and ultrabook hype do I see much more than the constant reinvention of alloy rims and spoiler kits..

Office, web, and entertainment playback reached their resources sweet spot on the pc platform a few years ago, and it seems to me that manufacturers are now obsessed with bells, whistles, and exterior design, to butter the egos (and rinse the wallets) of those who want a consumerist lifestyle accessory, rather than build a solid piece of kit that just works transparently. I don't care if a gizmo is pretty. I just want it to work smoothly until it's obsolete, and allow me to tinker under the bonnet from time to time to get a performance boost...

The only interesting aspect of this new toy is the screen res. And that isn't likely to inspire me to spunk a grand on it when a/ there's a bluddy great big recession going on, and b/ it's woefully underspecced in every other department.

I hope that won't prevent Steve Ballmer from cutting some fresh discodad shapes on the 9th of February. His meme-presence has been slipping of late.

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Holmes

Where is the market for this?

It is priced like an expensive Ultrabook, but offers no advantages over it - you can get an Ultrabook with the same weight as the Surface Pro + cover and you'll get a better keyboard and better battery life. Only a moron who wants to buy a "tablet" because that's the trend but has no earthly idea what he'd actually do with it would buy one.

Oh....wait....I see, Microsoft is planning on selling millions of these to PHBs who don't know what I've written above...

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Cut the eye candy

Do they include an ssh client yet?

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Facepalm

Re: Cut the eye candy

It's full Windows. Did you read the article?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cut the eye candy

It's called putty, or cygwin.

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Re: Cut the eye candy

@Eadon - if Windows natively supported ssh, cretins like you would scream "anti-trust" and have it taken out.

As it is, how many ssh clients are there? All free to download? All a matter of user choice?

Hundreds.

Now please, just go. away.

Icon meaning "you would never believe how sick I am of this absolute fucking retard troll" please.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cut the eye candy

>Windows, unlike Linux, does not support [include] SSH

And in past posts of his, Eadon has had a go at people for calling Linux an OS instead of a kernel. Now he's inferring Linux is a distro. If it's that important to him, he should make his mind up.

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It's an ultrabook that can't hold it's display up without a kickstand and features a compromised keyboard because it's actually an expensive cover.

Or it's an expensive tablet that has an OS on it that once past metro leans towards needing a keyboard and mouse. Has to have high battery draining specs in order to run that OS and thus compromises it's position as an effective tablet.

It's a mess.

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Meh

ANyone who buys this loses FOREVER the right to tell me my 13 inch MacBook Pro is too expensive .

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Re: 13 inch MacBook Pro

Dana, the MBP weights twice the Surface Pro (more than 2kgs IIRC), costs _more_ than MSSP, doesn't come with Windows 8 (add $100 to MBP's price to have a fair comparison), and doesn't have a touchscreen (who need it? but mention just to be fair).

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FAIL

Re: 13 inch MacBook Pro

My MBP was $1200. + $100 for the terabyte hard drive and + $120 for the 16 gig of ram I added later. I get an easy 8+ hours of battery life web browsing and a keyboard you can actually type on, not a novelty soft cover. And I can easily add Windows anytime I like should I ever find a use for it.

The point is I have as much in my MacBook Pro as anyone would have this tablet. And that's not acceptable. The Surface is too much money for a computer that is too limited. This is a niche product at

And I'll get thumbed down. But a touchscreen laptop is just dumb, And so far sales seem to bear me out on this.

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Vic
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Re: 13 inch MacBook Pro

> a touchscreen laptop is just dumb

No, I think a touchscreen laptop has some interesting uses.

Just not a touchscreen-*only* laptop. And not this one.

Vic.

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Meh

Re: 13 inch MacBook Pro

Fair enough.

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I dunno....

... 4Gb RAM, touch screen, USB3, 128Gb SSD, 3rd gen Core i5 and Win8 Pro comes in around £800 list price from Dell. Guessing the Surface will be around £899 and throws in a pen then the price is about right for an Ultrabook with touchscreen.

Not cheap, but not quite sky high.

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Re: I dunno....

True, but look how well such Ultrabooks are doing themselves, and what people are saying about their cost and return on investment too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I dunno....

The indicative price we've had from HP for their Surface equivalent is a lot cheaper than that - admittedly the pre production we've got is only 2Gb.

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Re: I dunno....

2GB suggests a 32bit Atom chip... wait n see I guess!

The most appealing of this new breed is the Lenovo Yoga.

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WTF?

Re: The most appealing of this new breed is the Lenovo Yoga

Appealing may be variants of Sony VAIO SVD (they aren't cheap though), but Lenovo remains a crap.

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Re: I dunno....

@AC09:57: Not surprised, the Surfaces are deliberately priced in the high end bracket to avoid upsetting the OEMs. A point which is apparently lost on many of the commentards here.

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Stop

Overpiced

Expect the next wave of Android tablets to up their game even further giving the same experience for less than half the money. Yes blah blah legacy apps but try running them on tablet windows and you are going to have an excruciating experience as they are not design for touch. As for office meh, who need such a bloated word processor and calculator ?

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Meh

I really want one of these, but it's just too damn steep.

To those worried about the RAM, don't be. I've got a Dell Mini 9 with 1Gb of RAM which is running Windows 8 for basic browsing/office quite happily. I also have a desktop with 12Gb RAM that rarely goes over 2.5 through normal use (non-gaming/visual studio).

If the keyboard was part of the package for the same price...maybe, but I'm not paying another $130 (which will translate to £130) for a keyboard, no matter how good it may be.

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Silver badge

$999 is £770-ish (including taxes; no keyboard) add the keyboard and the device weighs in at a smidge under £900 (again with taxes included).

The ASUS Transformer Infinity (with keyboard) is around £715, but the Surface Pro has more juice.

A similarly spec'd Clevo would come it at £750-ish; but it's hard to get a like-for-like match.

For comparison, a Lenovo ThinkPad Twist is £940 with 128GB SSD, but a lower res screen.

So all in all, whilst it might be towards the high-side, the price isn't too bad for a mid range, enterprise ultrabook (which is what this is).

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Arrogant, clueless, incompetent, out of touch...

...so it must be pricing/marketing/features/management by MSFT aka Ballmer et al.

Again, the mandatory read:

How Microsoft Lost Its Mojo: Steve Ballmer and Corporate America's Most Spectacular Decline

http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2012/08/microsoft-lost-mojo-steve-ballmer#1

Once you've read this article you'll understand why it's impossible to fix MSFT while Balllmer and his ilks are running it - they MUST GO, ASAP.

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Anonymous Coward

Surface heavily panned for dumbness

In other news... AMD will be powering the next X-box and Play Station models. This is good news for gamers as well as AMD who is adding revenue streams in all portable market segments with their excellent APUs.

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