Is the base model Surface Pro 4 more powerful than the 2015 12" MacBook?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by saintforlife, Oct 9, 2015.

  1. saintforlife macrumors 65816

    Feb 25, 2011
    I understand they both have the Intel Core M processors. Will the Surface Pro 4 be significantly more powerful in day to day tasks (video streaming, heavy Excel spreadsheet work) due to the newer generation processor? Can someone explain the difference in capabilities between the two machines when running the Core M processor?
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    The processor is probably similar, but look at the ram, its only 4GB. I think that's little tight for windows. Workable to be sure but I think that amount will possibly hinder many programs and slow the computer down.

    I think the base SP4 is using the newer skylake core m, so it should be a bit faster since its a newer generation but again I think its hamstrung by the 4gb of ram.

    Personally, I think the I5 256GB/8GB configuration is the sweet spot in the line up - offering good performance and price.
  3. AustinIllini macrumors demi-god


    Oct 20, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Windows 10 is a huge improvement, but yeah, like Mike said, RAM is always king for me. That's what you'll notice, first.
  4. Renzatic Suspended


    Aug 3, 2011
    Gramps, what the hell am I paying you for?
    An i5/8GB would be preferable if you intend on using it as your main work machine, but I'd say that you could more than get by quite easily on 4GB, considering your requirements.

    I ran a 4GB machine for years, upgraded from XP to Windows 8, and never ran into any memory issues. The only thing I'd suggest is keeping your multitasking relatively light. Jumping between a browser with 10+ tabs up and a big spreadsheet in Excel would be fine. Won't even notice a hiccup. But a browser with 10+ tabs, Lightroom and Photoshop with a heavily layered 20MP raw image on deck, and a big spreadsheet in Excel will be pushing it a bit.

    As for your question, I'd say they'd be about the same in performance, with a slight advantage going towards the SP4, since it has the newer gen processor. They're both about the same size, both have the same thermal limitations, and are running roughly the same resolution screen. They'll be about on par with each other, not considering any of the various perks or detriments you get from their respective OSes.
  5. mi7chy macrumors 601


    Oct 24, 2014
    Best to have hands-on demo comparison. One thing I noticed is browser scrolling even on the $500 entry level Surface 3 is faster than a decked out Macbook Pro running Safari.
  6. whodatrr macrumors 6502a


    Jan 12, 2004
    That's what I thought, but then I looked into the i7 with Iris... Darn them, and their ability to take my money!!! LOL

    But seriously, i5 would be a great system. Currently running an SP3 i5, which feels very fast, even when pushing several external displays.

  7. Benched08 macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2014
    Yeah the MacBook pricing seems spot on compared to the SP4. $1.3k for the same 8/256GB, and a better processor, but then another $120 for that keyboard. Very disappointed to see they still aren't bundling that.
  8. TechGod macrumors 68040


    Feb 25, 2014
    New Zealand
    If Intel somehow reduced heat production then it may lead to less throttling and better overall or sustained performance. You aren't gonna see like 20-30% boost in pure raw performance though.
  9. apolloa macrumors G4

    Oct 21, 2008
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
    As I understand it will be. Go and try them out I would. The Core M Pro 4 was being offered for some fantastic savings on Black week. It was longer then one day. It is on offer still in some places but it depends on your country. In America you seem to get offers on Macs too?
  10. spinedoc77 macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2009
    You want the RAM. I have a SP3 i5/8gb as my main work machine and it's ridiculous how much stuff I can throw at it while running 2 4k monitors. But I do get some slowdown here and there, mainly with a lot of tabs open in Edge and the worst offender is Adobe DC with long documents. My SP4 has the same specs but is markedly faster, but I don't push it nearly as hard as my SP3. I'm waiting for the SP5 and will most likely try to get 16gb or even more depending what's available.
  11. WinMacLinux macrumors newbie

    Mar 31, 2015
    I would like to offer personal experience from a Surface owner. They don't throttle. They can sustain full CPU load at full throttled frequency indefinitely.
  12. TechGod macrumors 68040


    Feb 25, 2014
    New Zealand
    That's great to hear!

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