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Microsoft overhauls its pricey Surface Laptop Studio with new CPU, GPU, and RAM



NEW YORK—Two years after announcing the original, Microsoft has announced a much-needed refresh of the Surface Laptop Studio, the company’s convertible touchscreen laptop that also serves as its most powerful notebook for people playing games or doing any kind of 3D rendering or GPU-accelerated AI work. The new Laptop Studio 2 will start at $1,999.99 and is available for preorder now; it will ship on October 3.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2

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The Laptop Studio 2 is a substantial internal overhaul, swapping out a quad-core 11th-generation Intel Core CPU and a GeForce 3050 Ti for a 13th-generation CPU and GeForce RTX 4050 and 4060 options (with an RTX 2000 also available for people who need a “pro” GPU). Microsoft continues to refresh Surface devices toward the end of Intel’s product cycles, and next-generation Meteor Lake Core processors should be coming soon, but this is still a welcome upgrade over the old model. It’s also the first x86 Surface that Microsoft sells with an NPU for accelerating AI and machine learning workloads, specifically an Intel Gen 3 Intel Movidius 3700VC.

Unfortunately, the base $2,000 version gets you very few of those perks. It includes an i7-13700H with six P-cores, eight E-cores, and 16GB of RAM, but it only comes with integrated graphics and a 512GB SSD.

Adding an RTX 4050 costs another $400, and stepping up to a 32GB/1TB configuration costs another $400. Getting an RTX 4060 also requires stepping up to 64GB of RAM, which drives the price up to $3,300. These are just a few of the config options available, but most upgrades tend to come bundled together with other upgrades, and they drive the price of the laptop way up.

A new USB-A port helps address the original model's connectivity limitations.

The new Laptop Studio has the same 14.4-inch 2400×1600  screen as its predecessor, but it addresses the old Laptop Studio’s input limitations by adding a USB-A port and a microSD card reader. The laptop also keeps its headphone jack, Surface Connect port, and pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports.

The original Laptop Studio was a replacement of sorts for the old Surface Book, a convertible where the tablet could detach entirely from the keyboard, trackpad, and discrete GPU in the base. It was a more versatile convertible in some ways, though its ports were even more limited than the Laptop Studio’s, its CPU was limited by the cooling that could be squeezed into the tablet part, and it had an awkward bendy-straw hinge that left a big gap between the top and bottom halves of the laptop when closed. The Laptop Studio is a laptop first and leaves the tablet-y stuff to the Surface Pro and its ilk.


Source: Ars Technica

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