The next-gen Surface Go should be the smallest, most affordable of the bunch. But according to Windows Central’s Zac Bowden, it’ll bring a big performance upgrade over the previous-gen Surface Go 3 thanks to the move to an Intel Processor N200 chip.
The Intel N200 is a 6-watt, 4-core, 4-thread processor based on Intel’s Alder Lake-N architecture, and benchmarks show that it could bring a significant boost in single-core performance over the Pentium Gold 6500Y and Core i3-10100Y chips used for the Surface Go 3… and even bigger gains in multi-core performance.
Alder Lake-N chips are still very much positioned as low-power, low-cost chips for entry-level computers, though, so don’t expect it to be competitive with the last 15+ watt chips from Intel or AMD. But it’s still a nice spec bump for Microsoft’s most affordable tablet line. Surface Go 3 prices currently range from $400 to $680.
Earlier this year Bowden had reported that Intel was also working on a Surface Go model with an ARM-based processor, but that tablet appears to be on hold for the time being and it’s unclear if or when Microsoft will release it.
Shipping a tablet with an Alder Lake-N chip is probably a safer bet, as it will ensure native compatibility with a wider range of software without the need for any CPU architecture emulation. And Bowden says that could be especially important for this model, which Microsoft reportedly plans to market heavily toward business and education customers, who may not be ready to make the move to Windows on ARM.
One other thing to expect from the next Surface Go? An easier-to-repair device. Microsoft recently began offering self-repair guides and selling official replacement parts for some Surface hardware. And Bowden says the goal is to make all Surface products easier to repair moving forward, by making it easier to remove and replace some internal parts.