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Just how fast is the Surface Book compared to the MacBook Pro?

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 9:07PM EST
Surface Book Vs. MacBook Pro Benchmark
Image: Microsoft

Microsoft wants you to think its new Surface Book absolutely smokes Apple’s MacBook Pro in terms of performance — but does it? You won’t be surprised to learn that this question simply isn’t easy to answer given all the variables that pop up when running performance tests for both laptops. PCWorld gave it a shot, however, and tried to conduct the fairest apples-to-apples comparison of the Surface Book and the MacBook Pro as it could… and even then it ran into some difficulties in delivering a definitive answer.

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The best way to get a straight-up comparison, according to PCWorld, was to pit a Retina MacBook Pro 13 with an Intel Broadwell Core i5-5752U, Iris 6100 graphics, 8GB of RAM and PCIe SSD and OS X El Capitan against a Surface Book with an Intel Skylake Core i5-6300U, GeForce graphics, 8GB of RAM and PCIe SSD with Windows 10.

After running a basic Geek Bench CPU test, PCWorld found that the Surface Book couldn’t even match the MacBook Pro’s speed, let alone double it. To a lot of people, this would suggest that Microsoft straight-up fabricated its claim about the Surface Book being twice as fast as the MacBook Pro but PCWorld decided to take a closer look by seeing how the Microsoft computer’s GPU fared against Apple’s.

And here is where the Surface Book really shines, as you can see from this GPU benchmark for both computers running the 2013 release of Tomb Raider:

Now that is a difference worth boasting about for the Surface Book and it’s something that even non-gamers should pay attention to.

“The GPU in the Surface Book isn’t just about gaming,” PCWorld adds. “Sure, that’s a nice bonus over integrated graphics, but the GPU really plays to other applications that need more graphics performance. CAD/CAM users, for example, can use it, and other professional-level applications should see a nice bonus with the discrete graphics chip in the Surface Book.”

To get a full breakdown of performance differences between the Surface Book and the MacBook Pro, check out the full PCWorld article here.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.


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