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.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
Surface Pro run Valve's Portal 2 at close to max settings.
Surface Pro run Valve's Portal 2 at close to max settings. Valve

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.