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Microsoft Announces Updated Surface Book With a Performance Base

The biggest Microsoft announcements at yesterday’s press event were the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update and the Surface Studio AIO, but the company also had news about their high-end 2-in-1 notebook, the Surface Book. Announced last October, the 13.5″ Surface Book was positioned as a MacBook Pro competitor, with a large high-resolution display that could be removed from the base keyboard. Today, Microsoft announced that a half-updated, more powerful model will be available for preorder starting today.

We say half-updated because the tablet/display part appears to be the same as last year. The base, which holds the GPU and extra battery, is what’s getting the upgrade. The new performance base is available only with the Intel Core i7 processor models of the Surface Book, which are still 6th generation, not 7th (and should be the same dual-core model). This time around, it has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M GPU, which is supposed to be twice as powerful as the Nvidia GPU used last year. We’re not seeing mobile versions of Nvidia’s new 10-series GPUs yet, so that will probably have to wait until this time next year. This year’s base is a little thicker, largely because Microsoft has put a larger battery into it. Microsoft is promising 16 hours of video playback this year, up from 12 hours last year.

Here’s something that hasn’t changed — it’s still really, really expensive. The Surface Book with Performance Base goes on preorder today starting at $2,400 for the 256 GB SSD/8 GB RAM configuration, maxing out at $3,300 for the 1 TB SSD/16 GB RAM configuration. The new models should start shipping out November 10.