Microsoft is known for Windows. It’s known for Xbox. It’s known for being a massively profitable company.
Microsoft is not known for making excellent laptops. Hell, Microsoft’s not known for making any laptops. The Washington-based company hasn’t ever made a laptop, actually.
On Tuesday, Microsoft unveiled the “Surface Book.” It’s a gorgeous little laptop.
More than just being a pretty little laptop, the little guy is a powerhouse.
Here’s how Microsoft exec Panos Panay introduced the laptop at Tuesday’s event:
We wanted to bring you that ultimate performance: This is for the gamer who plays ‘League of Legends.’ This is for the architect who’s building a building right now, or designing a bridge, that needs to compile and press the system. It’s for the scientist right now who’s thinking about the cure to cancer, who needs to push the machine as far as they can. It’s for that coder using the latest Visual Studio where they can compile using the GPU and CPU at the same time and not lose a minute.
And he’s not kidding.
The base model, which costs just under $US1,500, comes with an Intel i5 CPU (the same as the MacBook Air) and 8GB of RAM. That’s beyond enough for base level computing (emails and web browsing and streaming movies) and adequate for some heavy lifting (video editing and gaming).
Better yet, the fancier models come with a “discreet” NVIDIA GPU; put in human terms, that means the more expensive versions of the Surface Book have a chip dedicated to making pretty visuals from NVIDIA, the world’s most popular GPU maker. While it’s not clear exactly what GPU that is (we asked, and Microsoft isn’t saying), it is a gaming-centric move: even the least powerful GPU from NVIDIA is a major step up over most laptops.
That RAM is important too — it’s the stuff that makes your computer run smoothly, that makes applications load quickly and processes not crash your computer. The kind of RAM being used is known as “GDDR5,” but an easier way of referring to it is “the fast, new RAM.”
GDDR5 RAM is inside the PlayStation 4, and it’s a major part of why that game console is so snappy to use.
Beyond the hardware itself, Surface Book is going to work great for gaming because of Windows 10 itself. All versions of the Surface Book come pre-loaded with Windows 10, which is a gaming-centric operating system.
Want to play your Xbox One games on a computer? The Surface Book will stream them from your console straight to your laptop screen. You can even use an Xbox One controller to play the game!
Or how about recording your games for later viewing on the web? With Windows 10’s Xbox application, you can easily record gameplay, or grab screenshots, or whatever else you wanna do.
And games should look pretty great on that 13.5-inch HD screen. Microsoft didn’t just make its first laptop, but also its first gaming laptop.
You can pre-order the Surface Book right now, starting at $US1,499. It ships October 26.
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