For the last few years Microsoft has been selling Surface Pro tablets with Intel chips and Surface Pro X tablets with Qualcomm’s ARM-based processors. But rumor has it that this year the company will kill off the Surface Pro X brand and just launch Intel and Qualcomm versions of the Surface Pro 9.
Now WinFuture claims to have details on exactly which chips the upcoming Microsoft Surface Pro 9 will use.
According to the German tech news blog, the Surface Pro 9 will ship with at least three different processor options:
- Intel Core i7-1255U: 10-cores, 12-thread CPU @ up to 4.7 GHz, 1.25 GHz Iris Xe graphics, 15-55W TDP, Intel Alder Lake architecture)
- Intel Core i5-1235U: 10-cores, 12-thread CPU @ up to 4.4 GHz, 1.2 GHz Iris Xe graphics, 15-55W TDP, Intel Alder Lake architecture
- Microsoft SQ3: based on Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3
The Intel-powered models should offer 12 to 22% better single-core performance than the Surface Pro 8, at least based on existing benchmark results comparing the new chips with the 11th-gen Intel processors used in those models.
Among other things, the new chips feature a hybrid architecture that combines Performance cores and Efficiency cores, resulting in higher core counts for better multitasking results, as well as higher frequencies for improved single-core performance.
It remains to be seen how the ARM-powered Surface Pro 9 will compare with its Intel counterparts, but Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 is up to 85% faster than the Gen 2 chip used in the latest Surface Pro X, so hopefully the new tablet will at least outperform that model.
According to WinFuture, the Surface Pro 9 will have the same 13.5 inch PixelSense display as the Surface Pro 8 and support up to 16GB of RAM and between 256GB and 1TB of PCIe NVMe solid state storage.
The site says this information is based on information found in retail listings for the as-yet-unannounced Surface Pro 9. Other listings also indicate that the upcoming Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 will be available with the same Intel Core i5-1235U and Core i7-1255U processor options as the Surface Pro 9, although it’s unclear if those are the only processor options. There’s no information about a possible AMD version and no indication that Microsoft is planning an ARM-based laptop anytime soon.
A bit like Intel is always shipping its latest NUCs a tad too late (just right before its new gen of processors hits the market), MS ought to update and release new Surface models earlier – once again, selling quality devices with almost-last-gen processors is not good enough.
Then again, to counter my own point above, Intel is busy playing marketing games to sell new gens of processors that offer little innovation/performance advances (increasing the number of efficiency cores to list more total cores on their 13th-gen family is yet another low for them), so perhaps it just doesn’t matter.
Intel processors’s specs here are (when I’m writing this comment) written as 8-core 12-thread, which led me to initially thinking that they had 4P+4E cores.
I went to ark.intel.com to verify this. The correct spec is 10-core (2P+8E cores), 12-thread for both of them. I don’t blame the writer though, those 12th-gen Intel Core processors sure are confusing.
Thanks, it is a lot to keep straight, especially since there seem to be more devices on the market with P and H series chips than U series at this point. I’ve updated the article!
How’s ARM performance on Windows nowadays? Is that Microsoft SQ3 going to be good even when needing to run x86 binaries?
It should be pretty competitive, even in this current “Windows 10” era with semi-optimised code and subpar design. I’m talking about a 10W envelope, in a passively cooled, thin laptop.
QC 8CXg3 (4x Big + 4x Medium)
Intel i7-1265u (2x HUGE + 8x Medium)
AMD r7-6800u (8x Big).
In the near future with “Windows 12” we should see Applications become more evenly optimised between the architectures. That’s when ARM will probably flex its advantages. It would probably boast higher single-core and sustained multithread performance AND do so at a lower power draw.
I managed to find the GeekBench 5.4 results, which are interesting:
QC: 1100, 5000
AMD: 1500, 9000
Intel: 1700, 6000
If we’re waiting until Windows 12 for ARM to show off it’s advantages over x86, then Microsoft has failed us.
Apple succeeded in having ARM surpass their x86 products on the same day that they launched it.
Microsoft has been failing at making Windows on ARM work for 10 years now, if we count Windows RT (2012) as the start of Microsoft’s attempts to sell Windows on ARM.
Although Microsoft even had a headstart. They had Windows running on ARM back in 1997, with Windows CE 2.0
Really love the form-factor. I hope Microsoft can polish Win11 to really shine on ARM, otherwise it feels like a show piece where they can say: “well, we tried, and no one seems to like ARM machines, I guess.”…because of the terrible experience.
I actually think that this could be the Arm Surface to get.
Microsoft always needs three attempts at a product before getting it right. The first one sucks, the second one is “OKish” and the third one is “good”.
I might just get that for my son going to Uni, if they don’t have one of their stupid 6 months wait “à la” Surface Laptop.
So he can’t use it to play games? Sneaky :’)
He has an Alienware desktop for that but yes, uni related applications will be the only things running properly on the tablet. 🙂