This weekend Microsoft introduced a new model of the Surface Pro 3. Like the existing two Core i7 models, this new version uses Intel's Core i7-4650U CPU. At $1299 in the United States, the new model is significantly cheaper than the next Core i7 model, which starts at $1549. In fact, it's the same price as the high end version of the existing Core i5 model. With this new introduction, the Surface Pro 3 lineup is now as follows.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Configuration Options (Core i3 Omitted)
Configuration $999 $1299 $1299 $1549 $1949
CPU Intel Core i5-4300U Intel Core i5-4300U Intel Core i7-4650U Intel Core i7-4650U Intel Core i7-4650U
TDP 15W 15W 15W 15W 15W
Cores/Threads 2/4 2/4 2/4 2/4 2/4
Frequency Base/Max Turbo 1.9/2.9GHz 1.9/2.9GHz 1.7/3.3GHz 1.7/3.3GHz 1.7/3.3GHz
GPU Intel HD 4400 Intel HD 4400 Intel HD 5000 Intel HD 5000 Intel HD 5000
GPU EUs 20 20 40 40 40
GPU Frequency Base/Max Turbo 200/1100MHz 200/1100MHz 200/1100MHz 200/1100MHz 200/1100MHz
Storage 128GB SSD 256GB SSD 128GB SSD 256GB SSD 512GB SSD

In addition to the models above, Microsoft still offers a version at $799 with an Intel Core i3-4020Y CPU, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and Intel HD 4200 graphics.

The sacrifice you make with the less expensive Core i7 model is that it only comes with 128GB of internal storage, while the Core i5 version at the same price has 256GB of storage. However, you move up from Intel's HD 4400 graphics to HD 5000 graphics, which bumps the number of GPU EUs from 20 to 40. The Core i7 has a lower base frequency at 1.7GHz vs 1.9GHz on the Core i5, but it can turbo up to 3.3GHz which will outperform the Core i5's 2.9GHz in bursty workloads. Moving to the Core i7 also gets you 4MB of total CPU cache, instead of the 3MB in the Core i5.

The intended audience for this new model seems to be users who want more CPU and GPU power, but are able to survive within 128GB either by leveraging cloud storage or simply by not having many programs and files that they need to store. With this new model the Surface Pro 3 line has now expanded to six different versions. While there's still no option with 16GB of RAM, Microsoft now offers a different model to suit almost everyone's preferences.


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  • KateH - Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - link

    In theory, yes- but there's apparently a lot of glue involved. Not for the faint of heart.
  • KateH - Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - link

    I had serious thoughts about upgrading my SP2 to 256+GB as it uses standard mSATA drives, but gave up on that idea once heat guns entered into the equation. I need this device too much for work to risk messing it up, and 128GB is fine for me. Maybe when I replace it with a SP4 or SP5 I'll give the upgrade a try :)
  • ViperV990 - Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - link

    Someone milled/cut open the chassis from the back to gain access to the mSATA SSD.
  • Morawka - Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - link

    open it up and swap it out yourself
  • Morawka - Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - link

    no its $400 to go from a 128GB to 512 GB SSD.

    although i agree the 256GB upgrade is expensive.. apple charges $200
  • meacupla - Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - link

    I don't think the prices are 100% justified for Apple or Microsoft, but they are at least mitigated with the ease of support, replacement and returns.

    I remember when SP2 came out, and then was immediately given a silent bump from i5-4200U to i5-4300U. Microsoft accepted replacing the slower SP2 for the faster SP2, no questions asked.

    I could never see that happening with any of the other major manufacturers, even with their higher end products.
  • spacemanjupiter - Monday, June 29, 2015 - link

    Seems as though they are trying to extend the SP3 model a bit longer to incorporate Skylake and probably a good bump in performance into the SP4, but that can't happen until the end of the year or beginning of next.
  • althaz - Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - link

    What I really want is for the $999 model to get bumped to 8Gb of RAM. Not overly fussed about 256Gb vs 128Gb, but definitely need 8Gb of RAM. I guess that makes this the marginally better option for me, being the same price as the i5 256Gb model...

  • mkozakewich - Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - link

    Remember that 8 Gb is 2 GB and 8 GB is 32 Gb. And 16 Mbps is 2 MB/s or MBps. Etc.

    Deca (actually now 'da')
  • fokka - Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - link

    an i5 with 512gb would seem more interesting, especially if they used iris graphics on the i5 as well.

    also i wonder why people limit themselves to 256gb ("200gb usable") and less when buying a new device in 2015. a speedy and efficient 512gb ssd (mpci-e, m.2,...) costs around 200 bucks, that's just 130 bucks more than the base drive with 128gb, i don't see how i will spend 2000 bucks on a tablet just to get that kind of storage.

    to the people asking for a surface pro 4:

    it's kinda clear we will have to wait for skylake for that for the improved efficiency and performance, the lower power ddr4 and windows 10 of course. in combination with usb type-c things could get very interesting.

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