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March 6, 2023

How to choose the right processor for your Surface device

The variety among Surface laptops, tablets, and 2-in-1 devices can be dizzying. Aside from portability, tablet flexibility, and price, one option to choose from is processing power. Fortunately, comparing laptop processors is simpler than it sounds.

What does a CPU do?

Consider the central processing unit (CPU) as the brains of a computing device. A CPU takes the form of a silicon chip that resides in a motherboard, and it is made up of billions of transistors that have gotten exponentially smaller over the years—and today, they’re microscopic.

Every action you perform on a computer, whether it’s browsing the web, using an app, gaming, or calculating functions in Excel, is run through a CPU. It takes instructions issued by programs and works with other computer components, such as memory or a graphics card, to make things happen. CPUs are powered by cores, the actual unit inside a CPU that receives instructions—and the more cores, the more tasks a CPU can perform separately yet at the same time.

CPU performance is measured in gigahertz (GHz), which essentially defines how many of these actions a CPU can perform in a second. With the latest 11th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 processors in certain Surface devices rated up to 5.40 GHz, you’ll be able to multitask and achieve even more with today’s complex software. 

How to compare laptop processors

The Surface lineup of laptops, tablets, and 2-in-1 devices offers different configurations for your needs. Learn about the different processors available:

  • Surface Pro 9
    With the choice of 12th Gen Intel® Core™ i5 and i7 processors, the Pro 9 offers versatility and choice for those looking to customize their own Surface 2-in-1. What’s the difference? The i7 performs at higher speeds and can handle advanced multitasking functions such as video and graphics editing. The i5 is no slouch, however, as both feature a minimum of four cores, with Turbo Boost and HyperThreading to increase speeds beyond. Prices for i5-equipped devices tend to be lower, so they’re great options for value-minded shoppers.
  • Surface Laptop 5
    The newest Surface laptop features the 12th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 processor, which means that it is built on the entirely new Intel® Evo™ platform. What does this mean for you? Intel only gives certain laptops the Evo platform rating, so a device has to meet its strict requirements that focus on usability and battery life, including a minimum of 9 hours of battery life and fast-charging capabilities. In addition to advanced battery capabilities, 12th Gen processors work in harmony with Intel Iris Xe Graphics for maximum performance.
  • Surface Go 3
    One of the most portable Surface devices, the Surface Go 3 convertible 2-in-1 tablet features the option of two Intel processors: an Intel Pentium Gold or an Intel Core i3. What’s the difference? Depending on your budget and your need for Wi-Fi or LTE connectivity, the latter 10th Gen Core i3 performs faster for more advanced tasks. Yet, both are dual-core processors, for a device that’s designed to be as compact as possible without sacrificing performance.
  • Surface Studio 2+
    This is the most powerful device in the Surface lineup, with the most expansive screen to focus on graphics. Hence, its processor is just as powerful: an 11th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 processor that works with its graphics processing unit (GPU), an NVIDIA® GeForce RTX® 3060. Having a separate and dedicated GPU like this advanced NVIDIA processor means improved performance for gaming and resource-heavy applications such as Adobe Creative Suite. 

The right processor can make a difference in achieving the most with your device. Check out the full lineup of Surface laptops and tablets to find what fits your needs.

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