Microsoft Surface Book 3 gets a Quadro pro graphics boost
Among the handful of configuration updates, there will now be an Nvidia Quadro RTX option to appeal to graphics pros.
Lori GruninSenior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
ExpertisePhotography, PCs and laptops, gaming and gaming accessories
But the 15-inch model does get a new configuration option with an Nvidia Quadro RTX 3000 graphics processor. a professional GPU that's roughly equivalent to the GeForce RTX 2070. Quadro graphics enable professionals to take advantage of some acceleration capabilities in high-end video and 3D-intensive software that aren't enabled for GeForce consumer-level GPUs.
It's the first Microsoft system to enter that fray -- not even its supposedly high-end Microsoft Surface Studio 2 desktop offers that level of graphics -- and pits it against the 16-inch MacBook Pro models (the Radeon Pro graphics in Macs are workstation-class GPUs).
Chances are Microsoft's trying to appeal to the smattering of pro users who want the flexibility of its breakaway tablet design (the discrete GPU is in the keyboard base), much like those whom HP's ZBook x2 and, to a lesser extent, the Wacom MobileStudio Pro target.
For the rest of Surface Book devotees, the updated graphics in both the integrated GPU and the GTX 1650/1660 Ti should provide a noticeable improvement over the previous generation, in part because the Iris Pro graphics (G7) in the Ice Lake chips are notably better than the earlier generation, and the discrete GPUs have more memory than earlier models. And Microsoft seems to have incorporated them without sacrificing battery life.
The Surface Book 3 will be available later this month starting at $1,599. That's for the 13-inch model base configuration. Given the current pricing, a maxed-out Quadro-equipped model will likely run to more than $3,330.