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Surface Pro as a gaming rig? It's ready and able

The laptop-class hardware inside the Surface Pro makes it a formidable gaming platform -- for a tablet.

Surface Pro run Valve's Portal 2 at close to max settings.
Surface Pro run Valve's Portal 2 at close to max settings.

Microsoft's new Intel-powered tablet isn't being advertised as a gaming platform, but maybe it should.

The Surface Pro handles Diablo III and Portal 2 at near-maximum settings, according to a post by Jason Evangelho at Forbes.com.

Gamers "represent an important -- and arguably sizable -- potential demographic for Microsoft. As the company knows from its wildly successful Xbox platform," he wrote.

At the moment, Microsoft is marketing Surface as a business tool, with no mention of its gaming chops.

The closest it gets is ad copy about Intel's laptop-class Core i5 processor and the ability to run applications like Adobe Photoshop.

That Intel hardware makes it rare bird for a tablet. With a few exceptions like the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T, tablets today use either Intel's pokey Atom processor or -- relative to Intel's mainstream chips -- slower ARM processors.

Other specs lend the tablet to running games: it packs a fast solid-state drive (often used on gaming rigs) and 1,920x1,080 display.

"The Surface Pro handles Diablo III at 1920x1080 resolution with most specs except shadows maxed out," wrote Evangelho.

Not bad for a tablet.