A Guided Tour of the Surface Book with Performance Base

Continuing our series on Microsoft Mechanics, where we feature unique engineering perspectives on the design and management of Surface devices, today we share the story behind the Surface Book with Performance Base.

Jeff Stewart, Sr. Director of Program Management for Surface, offers a detailed overview of the design and capabilities of the latest iteration of Microsoft's category defining laptop.

Side-by-side: Surface Book vs. Surface Book with Performance Base

The first thing you'll notice with the Surface Book with Performance Base is that the design remains relatively unchanged from the Surface Book. From the magnesium body, the 3000 x 2000, 6-million-pixel display and 1700:1 contrast ratio, to the iconic Fulcrum Hinge and multi-mode flexibility, the fundamentals and established innovations are still there.

Take a closer look and you'll notice that the lip where the keyboard meets the hinge is slightly raised and the keyboard is recessed.

The slightly taller base provides room for the new GPU and larger 2-fan cooling system for twice the graphics performance, and extra battery capacity resulting in 30% extra battery life.


Graphics Comparison: Side-by-Side GPU put to the test


The new Performance Base, with its powerful GTX965M GPU, offers up to 1.9 Teraflops of performance. Using both a Benchmark GPU stress-testing tool and a real-world example of a rendered 3D design, Jeff shows us what the extra GPU power means in practice, comparing the Surface Book and Surface Book with Performance Base.

Thermal Design Reimagined

Increased performance, requires advanced thermal design, presenting one of the toughest engineering challenges for the team, who in the end decided on a dual fan system.


Acentric radial fins on the heat-exchangers increase the airflow created by the twin-fan system by 20% for optimum heat transfer. Allowing the GPU to run at higher power levels without increasing fan noise or letting the chassis get uncomfortably warm.


These are just a few highlights from the story behind the Surface Book with Performance Base. We hope you'll enjoy Jeff's six-minute overview to learn more.

Further, you can watch the full Microsoft Mechanics series on the design and management of Surface devices here, and follow us on @MSFTMechanics.

Comments (1)

  1. D says:

    With the Surface Book 2 possibly coming out this year (apparently as a laptop, not as a 2-in-1), how much longer do you expect the Surface Book with Performance Base will be sold?

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