Microsoft Surface Book i7 Brings The Boom With 2X Graphics Performance And 16 Claimed Hour Battery Life

You can put to rest any fears that the Surface Book would end up a one-off design that Microsoft would abandon after the first generation. Just the opposite, one of the first things Microsoft unveiled at its Windows 10 event today was the Surface Book i7, a new generation Surface Book that's packing significantly more graphics horsepower and nearly a third more battery life.

This is a refresh to Microsoft's top-shelf Surface Book model. As the name implies, the 2-in-1 device is rocking an Intel Core i7 processor, hence the Surface Book i7 name. The new model is still based on Skylake instead of Intel's recently introduced Kaby Lake microarchitecture (perhaps it will end up in the Surface Book 2), but with a new GPU inside, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, Microsoft is claiming twice the graphics performance as the original Surface Book models. That also amounts to three times the graphics performance of the highest-end MacBook Pro with 13-inch display, a metric Microsoft wasn't the least bit bashful about bringing up.

Surface Book i7

Outside of a boost in graphics performance, Microsoft says the new Surface Book i7 can deliver up to 1.9 teraflops of performance and a staggering 16 hours of battery life, which is nearly a third (30 percent) more stamina than the 13.5-inch Surface Book released last year. Granted you're not going to hit 16 hours of run time if you're stressing the GTX 965M for extended periods, such is the case when gaming, but for less strenuous activities the boost in battery life means you should be able to get you through a full work day and then some on a single charge.

Microsoft didn't change up the form factor, choosing instead to stick with what is now a tried and true design that allows you to detach the touchscreen display to use as a tablet. The highlight, of course, is the keyboard dock—it remains more sturdy and better suited for actual typing than the Type Covers that are available for the Surface Pro.

While the external form factor is the same, Microsoft tweaked the cooling to accommodate the burlier GPU. In short, the company added a second fan to the thermal system. The end result is a potent laptop that can do a little bit of everything, whether it's surfing the web and cranking out TPS reports, or streaming video and playing games (albeit probably not at its native 3000x2000 resolution).

The new Surface Book i7 isn't cheap. There are three models to choose from starting at $2,399. They include:
  • Surface Book i7 w/ 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM, GTX 965M: $2,399
  • Surface Book i7 w/ 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM, GTX 965M: $2,799
  • Surface Book i7 w/ 1TB SSD, 16GB RAM, GTX 965M: $3,299

Surface Book i7 Open and Closed

All three configurations are available to pre-order now ahead of the Surface Book i7's release on November 10, 2016.