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Windows Intel Operating Systems Hardware Technology

Microsoft Is Now Selling a Surface Laptop With An Intel Core m3 Processor For $799 (windowscentral.com) 108

Microsoft has begun offering a lower specced Surface laptop running Windows 10 S and an Intel Core m3 processor. It's priced at $799, compared to the standard model's $999 price, and is only available in the platinum color configuration. Windows Central reports: The Intel Core m3 spec is paired with 4GB of RAM and 128GB Storage. This is definitely not a high-end model of the Surface Laptop, but it's still a premium one, with the same Alcantara fabric and high-quality display found on other Surface Laptop SKUs. Microsoft offers an Intel Core m3 model of the Surface Pro priced at $799 also, however that SKU doesn't come bundled with a keyboard or pen. At least with the Surface Laptop, you're getting a keyboard and trackpad in the box, so perhaps the Intel Core m3 Laptop is going to be the better choice for many. If you're looking for a straight laptop by Microsoft, that is. Some other specs include a 2256 x 1504 resolution display, Intel HD graphics 615, 720p webcam with Windows Hello face-authentication, Omnisonic speakers with Dolby Audio Premium, one full-size USB 3.0 port, Mini DisplayPort, headphone jack and Surface Connect port. The device measures in a 12.13 inches x 8.79 inches x 0.57 inches and weighs 2.76 pounds.
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Microsoft Is Now Selling a Surface Laptop With An Intel Core m3 Processor For $799

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  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Friday February 02, 2018 @05:14PM (#56058679)

    ...the freezer is built-in.

  • Ripoff? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Aquaseafoam ( 1271478 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @05:14PM (#56058681)
    Aren't m3's terrible CPUs? This looks like a complete ripoff when you can buy similarly spec'd laptops for less than 500.
    • by slazzy ( 864185 )
      We've got an asus macbookair with one that we like. http://onkea.com/2015/07/24/ma... [onkea.com]
    • No, the m3 processor seems to do just fine. I have the normal version (not locked down version of windows) and I like the device. Great battery life and very nice screen. I like the pen but some don't care about it so I like that it is a separate purchase. Overall has a nice feel to it since there isn't a bunch of flimsy plastic. Kind of a niche product though since it really is half way between a tablet and a laptop.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Not only are they terrible CPUs, the ultra thin and light form factor places severe thermal limits on them, and they are about to get worse once they re-issue the Meltdown/Spectre patches.

      • How are they terrible CPUs? I have the 7y30 in the 2-in-1 that I'm typing this in right now and it's perfectly fine for this usecase. Admittedly the thermals in mine a pretty terrible indeed but that's because the Chinese designers didn't put a thermal pad between the CPU heatspreader and the back case, a larger MS designed laptop should easily be able to sustain >10 watts if configured as such. And the meltdown fixes won't make a lick of difference on a laptop like this.

      • Why worry about a thermal limit when the CPU is more powerful than required for your daily needs. We're not living in the early days where overclocking was a thing. We're living in the post-scarcity world of computing, where people talk about throwing javascript bitcoin miners into a site and expect it to go unnoticed.

        The CPU compares favorably to my decade old Core 2 Duo, which I have not had need to replace.
        • Curious: do you run Windows?

          • Yes. Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, Fall Creators Update.
            • Yes. Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, Fall Creators Update.

              You say the last part as if you had a choice. ;-)

              Posted from my 2010 Core 2 Duo Mac mini.
              My gaming PC runs Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, Fall Creators Update.

              • I did have a choice. I opted to upgrade as soon as it was available.

                I am also aware of the LTSB releases of Windows 10, and so can load one of those if I so chose, giving myself full control over which Windows 10 release I'm on. Beyond that I have researched Linux distributions which will work with my Surface Pro 4, and can switch away if I tire of Windows itself.

                The specs of your 2010 Mac Mini are probably about on par with my slightly older Core 2 Duo Vista/Dell Inspiron gaming rig. It just has a slig
            • Thanks. You run Win 10 on your Core 2 Duo, and it runs acceptably, if I understand correctly?

              • by ncc74656 ( 45571 ) *
                Can't comment as to Win10 on a Core 2 Duo, but it runs well enough at work on a 10-year-old Core 2 Quad Q6600. I suspect some of the faster Core 2 Duos (like the E8400) would work well enough with sufficient RAM and an SSD.
        • We're living in the post-scarcity world of computing, where people talk about throwing javascript bitcoin miners into a site and expect it to go unnoticed.

          Except they don't. People totally notice them.

          The CPU compares favorably to my decade old Core 2 Duo, which I have not had need to replace.

          I had to replace mine. And since I was using it for databases, I'd have had to replace it anyway due to mitigation of Intel's unscrupulous design.

          • A Surface Pro is a versatile device, not a server. It isn't intended to run databases.

            Either you should have Intel Xeon based hardware with remote access infrastructure, or you are a very niche customer such as a software consultant/vendor.
            • or you are a very niche customer such as a software consultant/vendor.

              Yep. Niche. Which is why I don't need you to tell me how to use my hardware.

              • I do if you are complaining about an entry level Surface Laptop not being able to run databases. May as well complain about the hauling capacity of a Prius, while comparing it to a two ton truck.

                Would you run your databases on a $299 or $399 laptop? Thought not. This ain't a a $800 laptop, its an $800 centerpiece. A piece of jewlry.
                • At my employer, we use a bank of unused Android phones to run the MySQL databases that back up our PHP based website. It's very cheap, and backing up is just a matter of removing the micro SD card, copying the data, and inserting it back into the phone.
    • A long life battery in a muted enclosure might be desirable for some. Not everyone needs a high performance 'workstation replacement' in wanting to hear a fan running all day. Nevertheless, a 'Pentium' Gemini Lake probably offers better bang for buck.

      What are more outrageous are the other specs. 4GB RAM and a 128GB SSD would have been considered adequate in 2010.

      • Thing is, they aren't really getting insane battery life compared to alternatives.
        Most of the time your processor is at or near idle (especially in their intended use), at which point these are really not much more efficient than anything else. Then when you do need the power they have to ramp up further for a longer time period, while something faster will ramp up, get the work done then go back to idle. The end result is that while they look good on paper, they are not really that much better in real wor
    • ...and an Intel Core m3 processor...

      ...running at half the speed it should due to spectre mitigations. Ya, sign me up!

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Aren't m3's terrible CPUs? This looks like a complete ripoff when you can buy similarly spec'd laptops for less than 500.

      I'm guessing it's part of Microsoft's balancing act to not piss off the OEMs too much. They'll do "boutique" high-end convertibles/laptops and oddities like the Surface Studio, if they start hitting the value segment hard it's all out war. I think they're just putting it out there for the fools that think a Microsoft PC running a Microsoft OS is somehow better, if they got most the tooling set up and get a good margin it's basically free profit. And they can maybe up-sell you on a Surface Pen, Surface Dock

    • Re:Ripoff? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by darkain ( 749283 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @06:58PM (#56059309) Homepage

      For comparison, I purchased a 12" "netbook" back in 2012 brand new for $300. Everything is very easily upgradable in it (1 screw opens the bottom door, allowing access to RAM, HDD, CPU). I pulled a pair of 4GB RAM sticks out of the dead laptop it was replacing, so it is running decently on 8GB now. It came with 320GB HDD, that I've considered replacing with a SSD. It also still has wired gigabit ethernet. It is only a dual-core Celeron CPU, but then again, looking at the M3? The performance isn't that very far off. So really, the only thing this new surface has over my now 6 year old netbook is USB3, a better screen, and DisplayPort instead of HDMI. That's it for more than 3x the cost. Oh also, my netbook was upgraded to Windows 10 Pro for free, so none of the limitations of Windows 10 S.

      • Base specs between a Celeron and a Core M3 are similar, but I am very confident that the Core M3 can toast a similarly spec'd Celeron.

        For one, the Core M3 is hyper-threaded, so it has four threads. I'm sure your Celeron is only a dual thread. Those extra threads likely compensate for the Core M3 being slightly underpowered.

        Another thing is the Celeron's lack of cache and instruction sets. For tasks require a single core and raw clock speeds the two are about on par, for much anything else the Core M3 is
    • similarly spec'd laptops for less than 500

      Including size, weight and form factor? If everyone is worried about specs per dollar then Microsoft wouldn't have pushed a single Surface unit, and Apple wouldn't exist. The Surface is in every way a premium form-over-performance device.

      • It doesn't have systemd, that's why you don't like it.

        • It doesn't have systemd, that's why you don't like it.

          I'm not sure what's dumber the fact that you're stalking me to the point you think I love systemd or the fact that while doing so you completely miss the fact I'm a huge fan of the Surface devices and own 2 myself.

          Here is some bedtime reading for you: https://www.dedoimedo.com/life... [dedoimedo.com]

          • you completely miss the fact I'm a huge fan of the Surface devices and own 2 myself.

            You described them as "form-over-performance". Most people consider that a bad thing.

            Ask Lennart to make your mind up for you.

    • if you are not gaming, editing video, or opening 50,000 tabs they're fine. you don't need "horsepower" for most tasks anymore.

    • The first gen of Intel's M processors was crippled in that they would only turbo boost when running on a single core. When using both cores, they were limited to their base clock speed. Since their base clock speed was 800 MHz - 1.1 GHz (turbo boosting to 2 - 2.9 GHz), this completely crippled their performance.

      Subsequent generations (the m3, m5, m7 series) can turbo boost on both cores. Their performance is primarily limited by thermal throttling (since they're often used in fanless systems). Couple
    • Core m isn't powerful, but it's an excellent processor for mobile tasks that don't need much computing power. It's good enough for watching videos, web, office, etc.

      I'd certainly hope to get more for $800 though.

      • In 2018, I don't know how people are defending a gimped CPU like this in any "premium" notebook?

        The fact it's "excellent for mobile tasks that don't require much computing power" means you're lumping it in with the ARM processors in Apple's iPads, among other things. They're great for watching videos and web surfing, or running basic Office apps too.

        From what I've seen, Windows can bog down a CPU pretty seriously just doing its OWN software updates! I feel the sluggishness on any Core i3 laptop as opposed

        • How old is your i3? Early i3's were dual thread processors. The Core M3 is hyper threaded for four simultaneous threads, apparently has a higher cache.

          While an M3 can't compete withthe performance of a current generation i5, it likely compares to the earliest i5 processors in laptops.

          The M3 is no slouch, and I haven't noticed any slowdown, aside from gaming. Its more than enough for the Surface Pro 4 for my day to day use.

          That said, not sure what the target market is for this laptop.
        • Windows can bog down a CPU pretty seriously just doing its OWN software updates!

          They seem to have a serious problem with setting process CPU and I/O priority. It should be possible to prioritize everything above maintenance tasks, so that you never even feel it.

    • If Apple can charge $1300 for an m3 laptop with 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD, surely Microsoft can charge $800 for an m3 laptop with 4GB RAM and a 128GB SSD.

  • What's the cost to upgrade to actual Windows 10? 90% of the programs people still use on Windows won't run on the S.
    • Lord, I wasn't aware MS was pushing another borked version of Windows on its hardware. I guess this makes sense for some people, if you only need a browser and Office you get a nice-looking laptop to run them at lower price point, but this really is a one-trick pony. I wouldn't touch it personally.
      • if you only need a browser and Office you get a nice-looking laptop to run them at lower price point, but this really is a one-trick pony.

        People shouldn't have to pay $800 just to run "a browser and Office".

    • What's worse is the Windows Store is pretty much dead. Only found one app worth downloading. A wifi diagnostic app.
  • Definitely not a high end model [...] but it's still a premium one

    What is with these retarded journalists these days?

    • It's not really contradictory, even if it seems so at first.t For a car analogy, consider that a BMW 116i is not a high-end model, but a premium one.

      • by subk ( 551165 )

        It's not really contradictory, even if it seems so at first.t For a car analogy, consider that a BMW 116i is not a high-end model, but a premium one.

        If you're trying to say that BMW is a premium brand, that would be correct. But any fool knows a 1-series is not a premium BMW. Back to the point: an Intel M3 does not a premium laptop make.

  • by Monster_user ( 5075027 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @05:57PM (#56058943)
    What is the point? That Surface laptop is priced similarly to the entry level Surface Pro, but without any of the advantages. Is a traditional keyboard worth giving up the versatility of the Surface platform?
    • The tablet's keyboard is terrible. It bends and has a cheap feel. The pro is bad "laptop" because it can't stand without the rear extension, and it's very unstable on the laps. As a tablet, the Pro remains pretty poor. For one, it's too heavy and thick to hold in hands, and the number of tablet-centric apps is poor.

      • Not everybody who uses a laptop uses it primarily on their laps.

        I also don't need a lot of tablet centric apps. As long as the screen isn't so tiny my fingers won't work for a web browser. I primarily use the tablet functions for reading the news, and email, and watching videos. Don't need anything else in that mode, really.

        As far as the laptop mode goes, it works well enough for where I use it. If I'm going to be doing serious computing, I'm going to be sitting at a table or desk. Otherwise the keyboar
  • Seriously, folks, Microsoft is a software company, not a hardware company. They're not set up to design hardware. The Surface is really terrible as the NFL will gladly tell you. I wouldn't pay 799.00 for that, maybe around 250.00-275.00. Microsoft is trying to be all things technology to all people and not doing a particularly good job of it. I believe it is almost better to focus on a core competency or two or three and run with that. Microsoft is almost the Siemens of the United States: they do a lot of t
    • The Surface Pro is a thing of beauty. I found out what I was missing from my computing experience. I did pay about $1,000 for a Surface Pro 4 kit. Still got a few pieces left to acquire though. If you are not going to use the accessories, not much reason to purchase a Surface Pro. It is the accessories which expand the devices capabilities and make it worth the price.
  • by jwhyche ( 6192 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @06:08PM (#56059005) Homepage

    Is this a Intel or Microsoft AD?

  • by PeeAitchPee ( 712652 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @06:37PM (#56059179)
    The problem for Microsoft is that, even though they *arguably* invented the segment, they're now getting squeezed out between the cheapo tablets that'll run real Windows, and the premium, enterprise-class Surface Pro killers from folks like Dell, Lenovo, and HP that are more powerful, modular, and secure. E.g., I have the latest HP X2 Elite G2 which fully loaded costs about what a top of the line Surface Pro 4 runs, but it's got 4G LTE, 16 GB of RAM, a high-end mobile i7 chip, a 1 TB SSD, and runs all of the above for about 10 hours on a single charge as well as just about any desktop I've ever owned. Someone else said it -- they're a software company, and three generations in, they're getting beaten by the real PC hardware companies.
    • The problem for Microsoft is that, even though they *arguably* invented the segment,

      Fujitsu invented the ultrabook and Asus invented the sexy Windows tablet. Microsoft invented jack diddly, as usual.

  • by aaarrrgggh ( 9205 ) on Friday February 02, 2018 @06:46PM (#56059237)

    I was shocked at just how bad the performance of a relatively high-spec'd machine was, and all I was doing was adding a VPN configuration for it. I can't imagine making the performance WORSE!

    The classic argument on why an iPad makes a better tablet seems to apply. It reminds me of the first time I considered buying a Fujitsu ultralight notebook. Looks great, really light, crappy battery life, and extremely slow. Add in the fact that you have to buy desktop/laptop software licenses, and they really become a bad investment quickly.

    What am I missing here?

    • What am I missing here?

      Thermals. The specs of anything smaller than a full sized laptop are 100% meaningless (except for the obvious: Not enough RAM, too small of a HDD). Most of the components of these devices will be limited by thermal designs as there is inadequate cooling for the components to perform anywhere near the manufacturer's specification. Reminds me of why the Surface Pro 2 outperformed the same spec'd Macbook Air, and why the Surface Pro 3 outperformed the Surface Pro 2 despite having the same (and at the time gene

    • Hyperbole on the performance of the Surface? No problems with my Sueface Pro 4 performance wise.

      Not saying the Surface Laptop is a bargain, cause it ain't. But it ought to be adequate for most users. Ones who would likely get a $399 to $499 laptop.
  • I think the true test of this product will be whether they think that WiFi is a printer. There probably won't be any plugs. The Goog might need to be the Drive standard. This prod is SSD.
  • Does it come preloaded with Meltdown?
  • Does it have wireless? And how about the storage space?

    • Yes, all Surface devices have wireless.

      Pretty sure the summary said this had a 128GB SSD. Far too small for most uses of a laptop.

      You really need to pay attention to the OS, reportedly it has the Windows 10 S. It is a tablet OS on a laptop form factor device, that is underpowered for its price range.

      Didn't see the OS when I checked the website, but Windows 10 S was a feature of the laptop at launch, so,...
  • The Surface Laptop soured my mom on any microsoft laptops.  That thing was impossible to open with one hand.  How can you get the user experience so wrong on something so fundamental?

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