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Microsoft’s claim that Surface Book is twice as fast as 13-inch MacBook Pro misleading, show benchmarks


When Microsoft launched its first full-on laptop, the Surface Book, it made a big point of claiming that the machine was twice as fast as a 13-inch MacBook Pro. Benchmark tests by PCWorld show that this claiming is misleading, though the dedicated graphics card available in certain models does pay off for some uses.

The site’s tests showed that in pure CPU benchmarks, the MacBook Pro was actually slightly faster than the Surface Book. This remained true for Geek Bench 3 tests, which simulate real-life usage … 


Where the Surface Book started to pull ahead – though still a long way short of Microsoft’s claims – was in benchtests involving processing tasks that can be shared with the GPU. While the 13-inch MacBook has an integrated GPU, the particular model Surface Book PCWorld tested had a dedicated GPU, so unsurprisingly performed better here.


It should be noted that this isn’t a like-for-like test, as the base model Surface Book, priced at the same $1500 as the 13-inch MacBook Pro used, doesn’t have the dedicated GPU – the model tested here costs $1700. Even so, there was still no sign of the doubled speed claimed by Microsoft. That difference showed up only in a pure graphics test.

Microsoft did, though, underclaim in some respects, says PCWorld: running Tomb Raider, where the Surface Book achieved 74fps against the 23.6fps of the MacBook. But that’s what a GeForce graphics card will get you.


What would be interesting to see is the same tests run against the MacBook Pro 15, with its dedicated AMD graphics card.

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  1. What about disk performance? New SSDs should kill the Surface.

    • neonspark22 - 7 years ago

      unlikely. They are using PCI-e SSD, and the 1TB model will probably be as fast as any ultrabook model.

      • You really think MS would put a ~1400 MB/s R/W SSD in that thing? Please. I bet the Surface only uses 2 PCIe lanes and will be a third of the Macbook’s R/W speeds.

      • wdomburg - 7 years ago

        Why would you assume Microsoft wouldn’t use premium parts in a premium product?

        I don’t believe anyone has done a full teardown of the Surface Book yet, but even the entry level Surface Pro 4 uses a Samsung S4LN058A01 CIe 3.0 x4 AHCI flash controller. As it happens, the exact same one used by Apple in their 2015 models. The specific drive is a PM951, which peaks at 1050 MB/s.

        Howver, reports are that Microsoft placed a very large order for the NVMe variant of the SM951, which seems likely the part they use in the higher end models. In which case you would be right they didn’t put a ~ 1400 MB/s SSD in. They put a 2150 MB/s SSD. There is the open question of the 1TB model, since Samsung doesn’t offer an off-the-shelf solution for that. So either they’re packing two drives, or Samsung is providing a customer part.

    • Exactly that.

  2. mpnine - 7 years ago

    Almost positive that they were comparing it to the non-Retina 13 inch MacBook Pro. That would show a larger advantage for the Surface Book due to the non-Retina MacBooks’ Intel HD 4000 graphics instead of the faster Iris, and likely slower processor. I still doubt it would be 2x faster, though.

    • jramskovk (@jramskovk) - 7 years ago

      So you’re basically saying PC World is lying?
      Quote from the article: “So for the record, I tested a Retina MacBook Pro 13 with an Intel Broadwell Core i5-5752U, Iris 6100 graphics, 8GB of RAM and PCIe SSD, and the latest El Capitan build. Its rival was a Surface Book with an Intel Skylake Core i5-6300U, GeForce graphics, 8GB of RAM and PCIe SSD with Windows 10.”

      • mpnine - 7 years ago

        No, not saying PC world is lying, I’m saying that the “Surface Book is twice as fast as the MacBook Pro” statement made by Microsoft during the introduction was based on the non-Retina MacBook Pro, which would potentially account for the advantage Microsoft claims.

        PC World did what makes sense and compared the current top of the line 13″ MacBook Pro instead of the Non-Retina which doesn’t even get mentioned on Apple’s own MacBook Pro Tech Specs page.

      • Dave Perkins - 7 years ago

        No, he’s saying Microsoft is lying. The graphic they used in their presentation pretty much showed the non-retina 13″ MacBook Pro running OS X Mavericks. I wouldn’t actually say Microsoft was lying….but they weren’t really being truthful either.

      • jramskovk (@jramskovk) - 7 years ago

        Okay, well that’s probably right but they are hardly alone there. Apple is VERY good at making up such claims as well.

      • krakowian - 7 years ago

        Um. The guy you are quoting is saying that Microsoft probably compared the non-Retina MBP so as to get the 2X better performance claims. He’s not commenting on the MBP used in this test.

      • smartysanky - 7 years ago

        The only way Surface Book was 3 times faster was for the graphics rendering for Tomb Raider. And thats due to the dedicated GeForce graphics on Surface Book as compared to the integrated Iris 6100 graphics on MacBook.
        Rest all other tests, as you have seen on PCWorld or here indicate that their is a marginal difference between both with each one taking lead in some test.
        Considering the performance improvements of Skylake or Broadwell, the next update of MacBooks with Skylake will far outdo the Surface Book (and may be, also at lesser cost).

      • rnc - 7 years ago

        @Dave Perkins

        No, the graphic was a Retina MacBook Pro, the Retina MBP’s are slimmer, and don’t have “MacBook” logo under the screen.

      • neonspark22 - 7 years ago

        nobody is lying. Apple does this all the time: selective benchmarks. Bottom line is that everybody knows surface book’s nvidia gpu smokes iris, then again everybody knew that and it will come as no surprise that depending on the benchmark, the results will be different. All MS did was exactly what apple would do: find the best one that suits them, run with it.

    • The actual statement from Microsoft is: “Our validated performance claims are for the Microsoft Surface Book with an Intel Core i7 with 16GB RAM and custom discrete NVIDIA GeForce GPU against the MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina display with an Intel Core i7 with 16GB RAM. We used third-party benchmarks to test the best available Surface Book against the best available 13-inch MacBook Pro.” Which is a different configuration compared to what was used in this test. However, they don’t mention which tests the Surface Book is faster at. Gaming? Rendering? Disk access? Maybe it just boots up twice as quick. While I think they should provide some context around the claim, it’s all marketing in the end. Google, Apple, Microsoft. Heck, Coca Cola, and Energizer do it too.

    • That’s exactly the thing with Microsoft, you never know. It’s bullshit anyway.

  3. MacBook Pro 15in would be quad core vs dual core of the Surface Book, and thus a different class of laptop. While the “2x faster” claim should have been more specific, throughout the Microsoft presentation, Panos Panay always stated comparisons were in the 13in class of laptop.

  4. Compare it to MacBook model with GeForce graphics, then show me the results. Plus, I can not even look at that copied keyboard, even on the photo I can see how poorly it’s made.

    • jramskovk (@jramskovk) - 7 years ago

      Fact is that a 13″ Macbook with GeForce graphics doesn’t exist. It makes little sense comparing it to a 15″ laptop because it’s a vastly different product.

    • I’m not a fan of chiclet keyboards on any laptop, but this keyboard looks very impressive to me for one simple reason. It sticks out of the base quite a bit (if you look at the side profile of the Surface Book with the lid closed.) Notice the lid doesn’t close flush, which allows the keys to stick out more. Meaning, a lot more travel akin to a desktop keyboard. (1.6mm of travel I recall reading?). However, I don’t like the split up/down arrow keys instead of fullsize.

    • neonspark22 - 7 years ago

      I’m sure if apple ever releases a 13inch MBP with a discrete GPU the comparisons will be made. Until then, integrated graphics is all you’ll see and the nvidia chipset will beat it. There is just no way it isn’t. The nvidia chip alone is a 20W+ part. Intel’s entire SOC+GPU is about 14W. Iris is just not going to come on top.

  5. jramskovk (@jramskovk) - 7 years ago

    The 15″ MBP isn’t relevant if you want a 13″ laptop. Fact is that you can get a Surface book with a dedicated GPU, you can’t with a 13″ MBP. I love my 15″ MBP and my wife quite likes her 13″ MBP, but credit to MS for creating a quite interesting laptop. Competition is good.

  6. tush4r - 7 years ago

    Apple got no competition in hardware.

  7. davidt4n - 7 years ago

    Competition is good. Hope Apple can be more generous in including dedicated graphic card for all MBP models.

  8. chrisl84 - 7 years ago

    Shameful how nice these Surface’s have become….very forward thinking and toe to toe with Macbook Pro. Apple better step it up

    • Step what up? Let’s compare sales of MacBooks and these new Surface machines next quarter and every one following that.

      • Yawn – it ALWAYS comes down to financials with you lot doesn’t it. Doesn’t matter if something is underpowered or overpriced, if you can get software for it or not. As long as Apple make the most profit then what they sell must be the best right?

      • chrisl84 - 7 years ago

        If you cant admit the Surface products are pushing the future more than Apple you are nothing but a tool….take care.

      • neonspark22 - 7 years ago

        unless you’re a stockholder, sales is irrelevant. You don’t pick “sales” as a specification. That is ridiculous. Do you not buy a mac pro because some crappy dell desktop outsells it? no. nobody does that. because nobody is so ridiculous.

    • rnc - 7 years ago

      Apple better stay where it is.

      People aren’t sold on hybrids yet…

      • chrisl84 - 7 years ago

        Dude seriously…. Apple claims to THINK DIFFERENT!!!!!! Which of the two companies is? Walk away, the surface is the future. Carrying a tablet, a phone, and a laptop aint thinking different.

      • neonspark22 - 7 years ago

        which is why apple created the ipad pro. yup. not sold on hybrids at all :)

      • Ricardo Escalera - 7 years ago

        Well, Apple DOES think differently. Don’t forget that Microsoft thinking differently involves combining genres while Apple’s moto for difference lays in usability (trackpack for example).

    • Hey hey now, that’s an unfair statement. Apple IS stepping it up. They added a keyboard and stylus to the iPad. In a few years, they’ll add touch to OSX, and who knows – they’ll probably invent the hybrid computer too! Just be patient, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

    • Paul Douglas - 7 years ago

      Step what up? Both product lines are fine. Microsoft JUST caught up with Apple. You’re actually like they’ve creamed them.

      • Paul Douglas - 7 years ago


      • neonspark22 - 7 years ago

        I’m not sure if “caught” is the word when your competitor has a touch screen that reserves and converts with native ink support, detaches, and an OS with full touch support. I mean you can pull that screen on the MBP pretty hard, that won’t detach or react to a touch gesture. In fact, MS blazed a new path here. To have “caught” they would have made a standard clamshell, clearly, they did not.

  9. Chris Licata - 7 years ago

    GB 3 Multithread was over 14400 and LuxMark was 4695

  10. tush4r - 7 years ago

    Re-Comment: It’s the right time for Apple to push in some dedicated GPUs in the MacBook Pro 13″. The game is ON, and I am sure Apple will put out something good for all.

    @9to5Mac, How do I edit the comments?

  11. tonywmd23 - 7 years ago

    Well, Microsoft thinks it has finally put out a “super-laptop” with sleek design to rival MBP. But 13′ MBPs have NEVER been the super-laptop in Mac lineup. As with smartphones these days, at the end of the day it all comes down to the choice of an operating system. I don’t think this baby with windows 10 is going to turn the head of mac users, especially when El Capitan is a really fluid and stable system that brings us back to the Mountain Lion days. You can’t look back.

    • srgmac - 7 years ago

      If you think El Capitan is stable I suggest you look on Apple’s forums and see all the problems people are having with it…

      • 1nf3cted - 7 years ago

        There are many circumstantial occurrences that could lead to 10.11 being unstable for people. Every single release creates some problems for some people; ranging in scale and persistence. For me, El Cap has been fast and stable running on my late 2012 non-retina MBP.
        That said, in order to account for the stability of an OS, you must look at the big picture. If El Cap is causing less problems/fixing prior issues than it is creating problems by comparison to 10.10, on the scale of the entire Apple user base, then Apple is surely on the right track. From what I’ve been reading, most people seem to be satisfied with 10.11.

  12. Makarand Phatak - 7 years ago

    Can I say it was expected :P

  13. I can be wrong but as I remember MS said it’s twice as powerful and not twice as faster. And by meaning it’s twice as powerful it can be anything. It’s a marketing strategy.

  14. Microsoft was flat out lying. When you make a statement like they did about their machine being faster than a “Macbook Pro” and you don’t call out a specific model in the same statement, then the onus is on you to beat the BEST system, not the worst – because this is the only way to make the statement true – to make sure the advertised machine beats all Macbook Pro models.

    • neonspark22 - 7 years ago

      they showed the 13inch mac book pro. you should watch the actual video. It was quite clear they didn’t mean every MBP model. They insisted 13inch repeatedly because it is, well a 13inch class laptop they made. makes sense no?

      • andynormancx - 7 years ago

        They had to insist it was a “13 inch class” as they didn’t want to compare it to the 15 inch MacBook. The 15 inch MBP costs the same as the Surface Book, but has quad core CPUs and a dedicated GPU option.

  15. Steven Moore (@Stniuk) - 7 years ago

    Looks like MS is learning a few lessons from Samsung on the benchmarking front.
    Usability is a far bigger concern for most users and OS X is streets ahead of windows in that department.

    • neonspark22 - 7 years ago

      90% of the market uses windows, so clearly, usability perceived or actual, isn’t the far bigger concern. What you’re thinking is within this price segment: what is important. Clearly if you’re invested in OSX, that is one factor, but windows is huge in comparison so even if only 10% of the windows base finds this product interesting, that is more than all of OSX. That is why they made it. They are selling to the crowd that already moved past the OSX choice, and it is a big crowd. Off course the price is high, but there have been calls for an apple-book that ran windows out of the gate for years. PC OEMs wouldn’t make it, MS saw the chance and took it. Programmers, DBAs, engineers, everybody who can easily afford it but couldn’t care less for OSX, is looking at this.

  16. andrewplacker - 7 years ago

    So, in other words, it is the same level of “misleading” that Apple does when it talks about improvements in iOS hardware performance? Ok, good to know.

    • Ryan Ellerbe - 7 years ago

      Where has apple mislead about anything they do?????

      • They also add iPad sales to their PC sales to inflate the figures.

        But don’t let that alter your reality distortion field will you.

      • Paul Douglas - 7 years ago

        @Aunty Troll: Practically everyone does that. There is no meaningful distinction between a personal computer and a Tablet which applies to all companies’ product ranges, so total sales of both conventional PCs and tablets are often counted together. It’s not unreasonable to do so, in many cases laptops and tablets are competing for the same customers at the same prices.

      • moartheta - 7 years ago

        @Aunty Troll iPad and Mac sales are separate line items, but nice try.

    • smartysanky - 7 years ago

      With the recent release, they launched a mobile CPU that gave single-core benchmarks as those of desktop CPUs. They used storage thats almost twice faster than any other mobile storage solution.
      So what’s “misleading”, is your statement.

      • neonspark22 - 7 years ago

        *desktop CPUs. Off course they picked the slowest ones. But if anybody else did this against a mac, it would be “misleading”. kek.

  17. mojodk - 7 years ago

    Do not compare it to MacBook på 13″ … with the price tag on Microsoft Book, you have to compare it to MacBook Pro 15″ … and here the MacBook is twice as fast as the Microsoft book…

    • neonspark22 - 7 years ago

      The reason they compare it by weight is because the rMBP 15′ tank is another device entirely. Yes, SB is more expensive, but because: it has a dedicated gpu, touch screen, and stylus. But not because it is a 15 inch class device. you’re buying into the weight class, not the dollar class.

  18. Robert Wood - 7 years ago

    Macbook pro has older processor so Surface being slightly faster is not true comparison with same internals.

  19. Alex (@Lexdexia) - 7 years ago

    “What would be interesting to see is the same tests run against the MacBook Pro 15, with its dedicated AMD graphics card.”

    I own a Mid 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro with the dedicated AMD R9 M370X GPU. This MacBook Pro has a 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7 and scored an average of 13850 on the 64-bit multicore GeekBench test. As for Tomb Raider on Normal graphical quality (played under OS X El Capitan), the benchmark gave me an average of 56 FPS. While on High graphical quality the benchmark yielded an average of 50 FPS.

    What these results mean: the MacBook with AMD GPU in question is no doubt faster than the Surface Book in CPU tests. But, GPU-wise the AMD card performs worse than GeForce GPU in the Surface Book which isn’t surprising. The first reason is that Tomb Raider on OS X is a port from Windows and the game has not been updated to fully utilize El Capitan’s new Metal API (which in theory could make OS X games run just as smooth or maybe faster than on Windows). Second reason is the AMD R9 M370X GPU is simply an older, rebranded ‘Cape Verde’ chip. I won’t get into the technical details too much, but all I can say is this GPU is about 2 to 3 years old and uses AMD’s first-gen GCN 1.0 architecture.

    So there you have it folks, the Surface Book with GeForce GPU is slower CPU-wise, but will definitely run games faster than the MacBook Pro with AMD R9 M370X GPU. Due to the fact that Windows has the gaming advantage (for now), and the fact that Surface Book (most likely) isn’t using an outdated GPU.

    If you want to know more: and

  20. triankar - 7 years ago

    The fact still remains that this year we should have seen something along those lines (Surface Pro / Surface Book) from Apple, rather than what we did see (MacBook, iPad Pro).

    The Surface Pro / Book have a combination of features neither Apple portable offers:
    – the Air lacks a retina display but otherwise a perfect all-rounder
    – the rMBP is a bit heavy – the only “heavy” laptop in their lineup
    – the MacBook is port-limited (or you get to buy and carry Apple’s expensive dongles) and has 2011-era performance
    – all 3 devices above lack touch input
    – the iPad Pro is incurably port-limited, arguably storage-limited and runs the wrong OS for “real” work (read: no proper file management and apps need to copy files into their own space for opening – i.e. NOT convenient). iOS is (hopefully) getting there but it’s not there YET.

    Looking to replace my ageing rMBP, I hope they release a new rMBP that’s lighter and has a USB-C port (in the sense that this is the future now). Or at least they release a better-performing MacBook. Right now it’s insane that the 1.3GHz 256GB MacBook costs more than the 2.7GHz 256GB rMBP 13″ (in my country the price difference is over 120 euros).

    • srgmac - 7 years ago

      Let’s not forget the MacBook also has a 2009 WebCam — 480p cam in 2015 makes a shitload of sense, I’ve gotta say :P

    • Paul Douglas - 7 years ago

      Mac OS X is not designed for touch input. iOS is not designed for mouse and keyboard input. It’s taken Microsoft 3 attempts (And that’s ignoring their failed efforts dating back to Windows XP) to get out a version of Windows that even comes close to being satisfactory for both touch and mouse/keyboard. And, that’s nice and all, but what’s the point, exactly? What are the benefits to having a device that uses both those wildly disparate interface paradigms and how often do those benefits actually come up?

      It’s like when people kept saying they wanted massive smartphones and smaller tablets. The more you make the one like the other, the less point there is in having both. Once your smartphone’s too big to hold in your hand, just get a tablet and be done with it. Once your tablet’s small enough to fit in your pocket, just get a smartphone and be done with it. Once your laptop’s practically a tablet, just use a Tablet. Once your tablet’s indistinguishable from a laptop, use a damn laptop.

      Convergence should be about eliminating redundancy (Eg, “No need for an eBook reader, I have an iPad”), not smooshing two devices together for the sake of eliminating one at the expense of optimisation. Some people, like Microsoft, are going to build those things anyway to cater to the niches that want them, but that doesn’t mean everyone needs to build them. Someone’s got tot focus on making the best laptop, and the best tablet, rather than an okay both.

      • wdomburg - 7 years ago

        I’ll never understand why people take issue with other people having different device preferences. Some people who wanted smaller tablet DID end up just getting a phone. Once phones got big enough that they were like a small tablet.

        But still other people bought the small tablet because they want a highly portable tablet, but want a discrete phone, possibly because they prefer the weeks of battery life you can get with a “feature phone”, possibly because they want to use the tablet as a tablet while they’re on the phone.

        Same principle applies with 2-in-1 devices. Just because it isn’t your cup of tea doesn’t mean someone else might find it ideal. I’m planning on buying a Surface Pro 4 specifically because it will eliminate redundancy. I currently spit my time at home between a 15″ laptop and an old 9.7″ tablet. On one hand, I’m getting a laptop that ways less than half of my current one while barely sacrificing any screen space (taking the 3:2 ratio into account it’s < 3% less area) and getting a tablet that has about twice the screen space, but is thinner, weights about the same, and is only ~ 25% bigger.

      • triankar - 7 years ago

        “OSX is not designed for touch input” is your assumption. I see it’s getting there.
        iOS works _beautifully_ with external keyboards, FYI. It’s brilliant to take notes on (especially with the iOS9 notes app). If only there was a decent stylus for it (for drawing!).
        Windows 8 was Microsoft’s first botched attempt at bridging the gap between a tablet and a PC, but Win10 is definitely getting there.

        The benefits of having a full desktop OS that can support touch input? Multiple, my friend. In short: you can do your work like you’re used to, and also be able to use a stylus for input. Graphics artists, creative people, engineers and pretty much anybody who needs to jot a quick note or draw anything from a quick diagram to a full illustration will appreciate STYLUS support on a desktop OS. So, here’s your redundancy and where the hybrid form factor fits nicely. And Microsoft pretty much NAILED it.

        For work (I’m a software engineer / analyst, and I used to work as a graphics artist) I carry an iPad mini (+ bluetooth keyboard), which in most cases works like a charm. Except for when I need to, for example, zip a folder or the odd files from here and there and send them over to a client. Or manage a project folder with multiple subfolders and different filetypes within. Then I need my rMBP along. I can also do it in Google Drive for iOS, assuming these files are in there, but not in any native iOS app.

        Your latter two paragraphs are entirely your opinion.

        I like my phone small-yet-comfortable, so that I can carry it in my pocket easily. When I go out at night, I don’t want to carry a slipper.
        If I want to read/watch something on the go and for meetings and stuff, the iPad mini is perfect for me. Big enough to read comfortably, small enough to carry all day and hold with one hand. Not so the Air. I had one.
        Then for work 13 inches is the right balance between screen real estate and portability. At the office I have a 27 inch monitor to complete my setup.

        I don’t see any convergence in these devices: 4-5 inches for phones, 8-9 inches for tablets, 12-14 inches for laptops.
        Others will go for a 5.5+ inch slipper and skip the tablet. Not me.

        Microsoft did their homework and they realised what I wrote earlier. And they’re cashing in on it quite well.

        Apple, on the other hand, saw what?
        – A market for ultra-light ultra-expensive underpowered fanless laptops? Yes, I appreciate the MacBook’s lightness compared to my 13″ rMBP, but I don’t appreciate that it’s pretty much the same as my old 2011 MBA in terms of performance and that I need to carry a $80 USB-A + VGA dongle for meetings. A retina MBA was all I’d ask for.
        – A market for big screen tablets that you can’t really use for work? Getting an iPad Pro won’t make me leave my rMBP at home. Far from it. I’ll “just” have to carry two 13 inch devices this time. Definitely…

        Apple needs to get some things straight, lower their ego and admit Microsoft nailed this one squarely. If Apple CAN and DO outdo them, they will keep taking my money. If not… time will tell.

      • Paul Douglas - 7 years ago

        It’s not my assumption, it’s something Apple has explicitly stated.

    • I’m unable to reply to your other post for some reason.

      ““OSX is not designed for touch input” is your assumption.”

      It’s not an assumption. I KNOW that my fingers would be too fat to click the correct traffic light.

  21. Charles Clarke - 7 years ago

    You are missing the 4k video rendering… Average it out, More than twice as powerful? 3 times technically.

  22. Jon Alfred Smith - 7 years ago

    Tomb Raider is a port which utilizes Wineskin 2.5.12 with Crossover’s CXWine13.1.0. While Feral, who did the porting, claim performance is absolutely amazing, ports tend to be slower.

    There is a strange statement in this article as well: “On the Mac, the only graphics API is OpenGL.” This is not correct. OS X El Capitan includes a new graphics API called Metal, the same API the company included in iOS 8 last year. Metal is roughly analogous to technologies like DirectX 12.

  23. jruss75 - 7 years ago

    Let’s go back a few models for a second… a 2007 Macbook Pro is still a very capable, very useful machine. On the other hand a 2007 PC laptop of ANY type is junk.
    Skip ahead eight years into the future this will still be the case. People will still have their 2015 Macbook Pros and able to use them in a modern way. On the other hand 2015 PC models will have long since been tossed and replaced. This has been the Mac vs. PC story for as long as I can remember.

    • srgmac - 7 years ago

      Funny — I have a Dell from 2006, my dad still uses it. Never had one issue. On the other hand; I’ve owned TWO MacBook Pros since then. The first one had a faulty GPU that Apple initially would not even replace, so we had to get a class action lawsuit going for them to actually SUPPORT THEIR OWN FUCKING PRODUCT. Then in 2012 I bought the original 13″ retina. Still using that one, but unfortunately, the screen now suffers from burn-in issues — If I leave the brightness over 80% for longer than 5 minutes, the entire screen becomes almost unusable. Let’s also look at Staingate; Again, Apple is not even publicly acknowledging that there is even a problem here! And you want to say PC laptops are junk?

      • jruss75 - 7 years ago

        I know the issues you’re talking about and they are real, but they are also few and far between. You hear about these things because when something like that happens to you you scream really loud about it because it’s your Mac and Macs aren’t supposed to do things like that. People expect better from Macs. You don’t hear about similar flaws in PC machines because people are so used to PCs craping out inside of three to four years of ownership no one thinks much of it. Like I said before they just get pitched and replaced.
        The 2006 Dell you’re talking about… let’s be honest, you gave it to your Dad because most likely all your Dad does is check email and surf the internet. You don’t use that machine anymore because you want to do more than that. My parents bought a Compaq laptop back in 2010 and don’t use it anymore because their iPad 2 outperforms it.
        I stick with my previous statement because it is, in fact, true.

      • Same. Still have a 2006 laptop I’m now using at a HTPC, and my parents are still using a 2007 Dell – although I did upgrade the Hard drive and add more RAM to that machine. They’re both running Windows 10 quite well too, which surprised me.

    • srgmac - 7 years ago

      I can’t reply to your other comment — but, I gave the laptop to my dad and put an SSD in there because I know he’s cheap and doesn’t like to buy new stuff…the 2006 Dell is an XPS 1210M; back when it was my machine, I got the fastest proc it could handle and also maxed out the RAM. It works great; it runs Windows 8 and does YouTube / Video very well since it has a discreet NVIDIA GPU. Despite being a GPU from 2006, it’s still faster than a lot of the Intel GPUs that Apple is selling in their current “Pro” model notebooks. He mostly uses it for work at home (MS Office) and watching Netflix / HBO / Showtime / YouTube. No lag at all when playing back HD videos. But that wasn’t my point. Everyone says “Oh those issues are far and few” — Until it happens to you, and Apple does nothing about it because they have that reputation that “our notebooks don’t break” — There have been so many MacBook issues in the past 10 years or so, it’s ridiculous — but almost all of them are GPU / Screen related. Since I have now spent over 4000 dollars and received two faulty laptops that span generations in product designs, I don’t feel like my chances are very high on a third. The next laptop I buy will not be a Mac, and that’s sad, because I love OS X so much more than Windows; but when I plop down my hard earned money on something and then I have a problem with it that Apple won’t even fix for me unless I give them EVEN MORE money, that’s unacceptable. Apple refuses to fix the screen in my 2012 13″ retina — They said because it happened almost two years after the purchase date (it’s 20 months to be exact), they want me to buy a newer model. To fix the screen alone it would cost me almost 500 bucks; in which case I might as well just upgrade. Here’s the problem — this same thing happened with my old MBP with the GPU issue; Apple refused to fix it — it took a fucking ***lawsuit*** for them to finally pony up and support it. Will there be another lawsuit because of the screen ghosting on the retinas in a few years? Who knows. I can’t wait around for that — they reimbursed me for the first one because I paid to have it fixed myself, but that’s ONLY because we WON the lawsuit. Otherwise I would have been stuck with the bill, and Apple would have been just fine with that.

    • mytechshoutt - 7 years ago

      Well said. My Windows Vaio Laptop with dedicated graphics which is 5 years old just hangs like hell due to all the boltware it runs and often switches off due to heat issue. Now I use my 2009 macbook pro which i replaced with an SSD and increased the ram to 4gb. With El capitan an similar windows machine cannot even come close to the performance of the 2009 macbook pro when it comes to real world usage. Not to mention my macbook has a dual core CPU but still runs great than a windows 10 on my Sony Vaio with i5 ! For those who would like to try out macbook , just buy a old 2009 macbook and switch out the hdd for a ssd and enjoy the mac experience.

      I have also connected my macbook 2009 to an external monitor. It performs well without any lags . I was a bit surprised that a 2009 macbook can run this well better than my vaio. It all comes to optimization of the OS X than the un optimized Windows 10 on my sony vaio ( Not to mention sony doesnot even own VAIO now. ) So my vaio wont even sell for the price of the macbook 2009 that i got on ebay. So invest on a laptop that will work more than 5 years.
      If you wanted a windows go with a desktop which you can replace the hardware in the future. ( I own a desktop with windows 10 built just for gaming. Windows has the gaming advantage ).

  24. Paul Raymond - 7 years ago

    FStoppers did a test between the surface book and the 15″ macbook pro and the Macbook completely destroyed the surface book. The surface book even cost $200 more than the Macbook, so to me it was a very fair comparison test. Here’s a link to the video.

    • srgmac - 7 years ago

      I stopped watching that video after a little over one minute where he makes this statement “A quad core processor has double the power of a dual core processor” — I don’t even want to begin to list all the scenarios where that statement is blatantly false. It’s much more nuanced than “double the power” — in some situations absolutely there will be a huge advantage, in others, not so much. The problem with the industry as a whole is people like this who make blanket statements that are ridiculously misleading.

      • modeyabsolom - 7 years ago

        Oh give him a break, he’s a wedding photographer not a true tech guy. How else would you explain him not initially realizing there are both dual and quad core i7s?

      • neonspark22 - 7 years ago

        well except he never said that :)

      • calisurfboy - 7 years ago

        I stopped watching when I realized it wasn’t Ashton Kutcher. Also, it happened to be that statement as well. Ick…..

    • modeyabsolom - 7 years ago

      My goodness, for the most part that video was hilarious! Seeing him not understand why what was happening was happening was so funny!

      • technicalconclusions - 7 years ago

        All he needs to understand is that the’s comparing two machines of a similar price point and one machine is both easier to use and faster.

    • iali87 - 7 years ago

      I agree. Price match is should be the only factor when choosing to compare which macbook to which book.

      • neonspark22 - 7 years ago

        so by that logic, my much cheaper desktop which smokes the rMBP is the right choice? You’re buying a weight class. Yes the SB is more expensive, and why not: 276ppi screen vs 226. discrete gpu vs iris. touch screen vs…plain old screen. reversible and clipboardable vs…well not. The difference in price isn’t without explanation. If it was just the same thing, i”d agree. but it isn’t.

    • neonspark22 - 7 years ago

      well off course. the gpu enabled 4 core 15 inch tank is in a different class. That is for surface book pro ;) to take on later.

  25. skramnor - 7 years ago

    I don’t compare to Apple because I am not going to switch platforms based on one single device. Next few months, Apple will have something better. Then MS will have something better, then Google. Etc etc. Comparing Apple to Windows if good for new users and anyone considering changing over all platforms and buying all new software to go with it. These days both of those categories are “relatively” few people. Apple people buy Apple, Windows people buy Windows. Now MS is giving the Windows people a great hardware choice!

    Speaking of the Surface Book on its own, I can say that I LOVE it having a dedicated GPU, touch screen and great battery life!
    Video editing, gaming and anything else I do in the real world can now be done very fast!
    Applause for MS for stepping up their game!

  26. Howie Isaacks - 7 years ago

    Now that I’m seeing the photo above showing the Surface Book from a different angle, It looks ugly to me. I wouldn’t want to have a stupid stylus stuck to my display and that hinge is fugly. It doesn’t surprise me at all that Microsoft would be misleading. It doesn’t matter how nice they try to make it. The fact that it’s running Windows is enough for me to not want one. I’ll stick with my awesome MacBook Pro.

  27. Debendra Gurung - 7 years ago

    This article is nothing but playing real cheap way to defend by focusing on some statement which MS made. Admit it for once for God’s sake that the Surface book and the surface pro 4 is really the game changer and Apple need something big in their Macs next product. The ipad pro is not going to solve anything (which is everything worse from price to the selection of OS to its overpriced keyboard) neither will the new macbook 2015, and NOR will these lame excuses of comparing speeds.

  28. rafterman11 - 7 years ago

    Maybe not twice as fast, but it is twice as cool.

    Sorry, Apple, but its time for a Mac OSX tablet. Stop being stubborn and admit you made a mistake not making one yet.

  29. wdomburg - 7 years ago

    Wait, a hardware company uses selective testing to claim their product is drastically better than a competitors? STOP THE PRESSES!

    This is no different than when Steve Jobs came out and claimed that the G3 processor was twice as fast as the Pentium II. And it was, in one specific benchmark. Real world performance ranged from roughly the same to marginally better for most workloads. The same thing played out with the G4 and G5, with Apple often relying on incredibly specific benchmarks like specific Photoshop filters that happened to had been updated to use their Altivec engine but did not yet support Intel’s SSE extensions.

    See, e.g.:

    More recently, Phil Schiller has claimed that the iPad Pro would be faster than 80% of portable PCs and offered “desktop-class performance”. Want to bet they use some creative and selective definition of “faster” and probably “portable PC” to reach that conclusion?

    • neonspark22 - 7 years ago

      Apple: we have console level graphics. Yeah, PS2 console level graphics :) enough said.

  30. Jill Banks - 7 years ago

    Microsoft’s Panos Panay from Oct 6. event…

    “Lets compare a Surface Book to the 13 inch Macbook Pro. By adding the discrete graphics two extra processors it fundamentally makes Surface Book 2x faster than a Macbook Pro.”

    Where is the false claim?

  31. sewollef - 7 years ago

    Doh, colour me unsurprised that Microsoft would a) exaggerate b) lie and c) cheat

  32. freerange5 - 7 years ago

    Come on Microsoft, this is supposed to be the “new” Microsoft, but it’s the same old BS….

  33. Rich Davis (@RichDavis9) - 7 years ago

    First off, the processor is different, Apple hasn’t released their new Skylake processor models, so this whole thing is premature comparison. Also, Tomb Raider, isn’t that a game that’s natively written for Windows and a ported version to OS X? The only time you should compare performance to make it a fair comparison is that the s/w app is natively written for both platforms rather than one being native and the other being ported. You’ll always get better performance with a native written application.

    • neonspark22 - 7 years ago

      there is no such thing as an apple skylake processor. They are intels and they are identical to what everybody else has. Apple can pick the 14W chip or the 28W chip. They will do as they have before: low power for the 13 inch, higher power to the 15 inch. Skylake did not change the power envelopes compared to hasswell and broadwell. So the thermals remain identical as is the battery drain even if the per clock performance is higher.

  34. rgbfoundry - 7 years ago

    Everyone say what you want, but it’s clear Microsoft is “bringing it” to the laptop game. I’m personally glad there’s more serious competition in the space. I love Apple hardware, but Apple consumers have been hurting in the Macbook space as Apple aims for thinner, lighter and more pixels at the expense of performance and upgradability.

  35. Jake Becker - 7 years ago

    *Microsoft copies the MBP*

    *Internet drones about blinding new innovation of Microsoft*

    • wdomburg - 7 years ago

      Oh, yeah, from the convertible design to the unique hinge to the 267dpi multi-touch screen, practically the same as a MacBook Pro. They even ripped off the innovative Apple Pencil!

      • ericisking - 7 years ago

        that’s true, but it really wasn’t anything earth-shattering, either. We’ve seen laptops with detachable screens before, and yet everyone lost their minds when he detached the screen, like it was Magic. And OMG a STYLUS! With an ERASER. Behold the innovation.

        One thing Microsoft has definitely copied from Apple is the ability to create a Reality Distortion Field.

      • I do hope you are taking the piss about the pencil…in case you are not…the pro has had the pencil for YEARS and let’s not forget the great Steve jobs quote…”if you see a stylus…they blew it!”

      • wdomburg - 7 years ago

        Tongue firmly in cheek, @rileysickle. I may need surgery to dislodge it.

  36. b9bot - 7 years ago

    Microsoft copying Samsung with lies and false claims that as you can see are not true. Not a shock to see it is only even. Also won’t be a shock that more people will still buy a Macbook Air over a Surface. Windows is bloated and still gets so many viruses.

  37. Eva Suárez - 7 years ago

    If you actually see the windows keynote, it says that the surface book is twice faster than the macbook pro, but the macbook pro shown in that slide was a macbook pro with mavericks, and the new macbook pros NEVER had Mavericks

  38. Michael Clanton - 7 years ago

    every statistic in press conferences are misleading… apple does the same thing

  39. Jon Alfred Smith - 7 years ago

    Here’s a better comparison. The Surface Book uses these two 15-watt 6th Gen 2.6-GHz Intel Core i7-6600U and 2.4-GHz Intel Core i5-6300U processors, both with Intel HD graphics 520.

    According to Intel the Skylake “U-Series” processors deliver up to 10% faster CPU performance, up to 34% faster Intel HD graphics and up to 1.4 hours longer battery life compared to equivalent Broadwell chips. This can actually be seen here.

    Now, the Skylake MacBook Pro 13 is likely to use Intel’s new 28-watt Core i5 and i7 chips, featuring dual-core 2.9 GHz to 3.3 GHz processors with Turbo Boost up to 3.1 GHz – 3.4 GHz, Intel Iris Graphics 550, integrated GPUs with dedicated eDRAM, 4MB of L3 cache and 1866 MHz LPDDR3 memory speed. These will be a lot faster than the Surface Book chips, both in overall performance and graphics.

    • neonspark22 - 7 years ago

      I doubt it. Apple didn’t use the 28watt parts before, it will not use them now. They run too hot, suck too much power for the 13inch model. This is why they only pick them for the larger 15inch model where the battery capacity and thermals allow them. Apple doesn’t make its own chips for x86. They get the same as anybody, so clearly MSFT and others have looked at the 28watt part and decided it wasn’t a good fit for the 13inch 3.5lb category, and that is why most ship with the 14W part.

  40. ericisking - 7 years ago

    My Nvidia MBPr 15 runs rings around this toy…..

    • wdomburg - 7 years ago

      In terms of CPU power, sure. You’re comparing a quad core 47W processor compared to a dual core 15W processor, and a 4.46 lb notebook to a 3.34 lb (1.6 lb without the keyboard) convertible.

      You also lose out on a higher resolution touchscreen display (albeit a touch smaller).

      That isn’t to say it’s /wrong/ to prefer the Macbook Pro, but it’s fatuous to pretend there are no benefits to the Surface.

      • ericisking - 7 years ago

        yes, there’s always a bigger fish, and there’s always a faster computer… comparisons like this are just silly

    • neonspark22 - 7 years ago

      that’s like saying my gaming notebook runs rings around your toy. point? my gaming notebook is 50% heavier and has far more graphics and cpu power than any MBP in existance. so what right? comparisons across heavier tanks is pointless, as you’ve shown.

      • ericisking - 7 years ago

        I was trying to make the point that these comparisons are pointless…..

  41. Patrick Fung - 7 years ago

    When comparing products, it’s easy to forget that most comparison would be made using the “best” against the competitor’s “lowest” grade products. That’s how they got the 2x faster claim. The moment I heard the claim, I knew that would be the case.

  42. You Mac ‘groupies’ are so passionate about macs it makes me laugh…come on now, it GENUINELY has become a very overhyped overpriced parody of itself…you panic SO much when something better comes along and you all have to pitifully leap to defend “ye Apple gods” the MacBook IS a laptop, the iMac IS a computer the ONLY difference is it has a badge on it that you pay an extra 400 for, there is more hate from Mac fans than any PC fans…Apple are no longer tech innovators, they have become A brand…and that’s fine but we really shouldn’t be classing them as innovating…I used to be an avid apple user but I realised I was spending stupid money for hardware that told ME what to do and when to is moving very very fast…Apple WILL get left behind and if they don’t streamline their products and focus on innovation again, they will become one of techs great fables…I quote a mother and daughter I heard in PC world…
    “So what IS a Mac”
    “It’s a Mac mum…”
    “But why is it so expensive”
    “(Sigh) because it’s a Mac mum”

    Sums it up.)

    • Karolynaz (@Karolynaz) - 7 years ago

      > steven riley, you living in the dream world :) First of all, you never had a Apple product, ’cause people don’t return from OS X to Windows. On people who day dreaming returning from Mac to PC and saying that it’s overhyped and overpriced. Maybe Porsche is also overhyped and overpriced for you, ’cause it’s the same Volkswagen? The ONLY difference between Mac and PC is almost everything: starting from parts used to build computer, ending with custom software. you pay extra for quality as you do for all better products. And regarding innovations, you are kidding right? ’cause by introducing iPad Pro Apple innovated more than Microsoft will do in this century. The laptop from Microsoft is just simple laptop, who mimic’s Macbook design language. If you don’t want that – there was possibility to buy the same „surface book“ from HQ, or Dell. And Acer made laptops with detachable touch screens and styluses last few years and they also were faster than Macbooks Pro’s… So, yup, INNOVATION FROM MICROSOFT :)

      Don’t worry, nobody will buy surface books, ’cause the same hype was with the first Surface and it was major fail. The same with this laptop. And not that it is bad laptop, but ’cause Microsoft don’t know how to advertise it. They show the laptop in the ad, where old people use laptop in construction sites, or in farmer fields. Yep, I DEFINITELY need poor people’s laptop so that I can use it in the fields near farmers tractor :)

      P. S. Apple will be left behind only if Tim will start reading comments and say’s to his employees: let’s do like people in the comments suggest we do. Apple at the top, and Microsoft at the bottom, only because Apple don’t do fridge+toaster hybrids. Nobody needs a laptop with the touch screen, ’cause you won’t be using touch anyway.

  43. Cain - 7 years ago

    Comparing the Book to MBP was silly. It’s like BMW going out their way comparing gas efficiency to Toyota.

  44. neonspark22 - 7 years ago

    If you want to see the nvidia chip outshine iris, all you have to do is crank up the resolution. Iris with its low execution unit count and slow system memory will not match the GDDR5 and execution units on the nvidia part. For computations, if memory speed is not an issue, then the difference will be smaller. Although it will be up to the benchmark creator: windows support multi-gpu binding in directX12, so if the benchmark is written to take advantage of both the integrated HD graphics and the nvidia part, it will improve things further.

    The more interesting tests are actually not games. nvidia will always smoke iris out as soon as you start pushing the resolution up. Seeing how adobe’s mercury encoding engine uses this gpu will tell if it is worth having it there. Photoshop and LR may also prove interesting, in particular if ran at PixelSense resolution of 276ppi.

  45. iali87 - 7 years ago

    I went to MS store today and tried the surface book. I didn’t like it and its trackpad is far from being as good as the my macbook pro trackpad. THis is a deal breaker for me if I was going to switch from mac to windows. I am getting a surface pro 4 instead because I sold my ipad and want something with tough for drawing and note taking.
    I think comparing surface book should be with macbook air because the reason that makes the surface core i7 dual and not quad is the thickness factor, which is the same factor that makes the macbook air have only a dual core i7 cpu. In this case, the surface book is so damn pricey. But I still think its gonna sell well.

    • iali87 - 7 years ago

      High end macbook air is 1750 with same specs the surface book is 2100.

  46. SKR Imaging - 7 years ago

    With the advent of the iPad Pro, it makes sense for Apple to respond to the growing demand for mobile and desktop features merged into one device.

    They have already started in that direction with iOS 9 (split view, picture in picture, iCloud Drive app — although that last one is hidden in settings)..What they will need now is a full operating system overhaul.. I would call it Apple OS.

    When using iPad in mobile mode, OS could work like it does now and provide touch friendly inputs and features.. As stated in the link, plugging it to a smart connector keyboard or dock with HDMI would seamlessly switch it to a keyboard and mouse friendly interface like OSX.

    Apple OS would need Finder in both modes available to users and allow USB hardware (hard drive, thumb drives, MIDI Keyboards) to be recognized in order for this to function though… a USB-C port makes sense for the next device.

    If done correctly, it would make the iPad Pro (or call it Apple Pad Pro) the ubiquitous device to carry around… the OS could also change the iPhone (Apple Phone?).

    • Rico Alexander - 7 years ago

      Sounds exactly like what MS has already done. How quickly the leader has become the follower.

      • SKR Imaging - 7 years ago

        I agree that Microsoft Continuum has made this feature public but Ubuntu had implemented this before Microsoft in their Ubuntu tablet OS and Ubuntu Phone aswell (check the ubuntu phone keynote).. and I think Palm had this aswell on the WEB OS (not sure though about Palm)… doesn’T hurt Apple to implement a similar feature if it makes using their devices much more .. no follower or leader in my mind..

  47. mytawalbeh - 7 years ago

    Since the first time when Microsoft claimed that “2X faster” I’ve commented that they were comparing the Non-Retina which doesn’t even get mentioned on Apple’s own MacBook Pro Tech Specs page to their new device. Ha? That’s ridiculous to fool the non tech people. Even considering their comparison CPU test Macbook wins whereas the Graphics it is not 2X as the integrated graphic card.

  48. Christopher R. Ellis - 7 years ago

    And claiming that the iPad Pro is faster than 80% of mobile PCs sold in the last 12 months isn’t misleading? Sold to whom? Which countries? Are they even the same target demographic as an iPad Pro or even a MacBook? When you factor in PCs with Atom, Pentium, Celeron, core-m and i3 processors shipped worldwide you easily get to nearly 80% of the total sales. Just like Microsoft, and basically everyone else, you pick a statistic that favors your product.

    Aside: I wish Apple, and for that matter Microsoft, would focus more on the hard technical facts about their products. The iPhone 6s, for example, is a massive improvement in many areas that Apple made no effort to comment on. Apple boosted the RAM to 2GB of LPDDR4 and used a faster storage controller and more robust storage, but all they mentioned was a better CPU. I’ve been an Android person for 6 years, but when I found out all the technical improvements the iPhone 6s brought I switched without a hesitation. I’ve been thoroughly impressed with how stable and powerful this phone is.

  49. hijaszu - 7 years ago

    Whaaat doeees PC? :D

  50. gargravarr - 7 years ago

    The shock would be that you would be shocked. MS are desperate for relevance, so I’m not.

  51. Paul Andrew Dixon - 7 years ago

    I watched the microsoft presentation – they were very set on comparing their devices with apples – they love to compare with apples entry level 2011 design macbook air…and also with apples macbook pro… forgetting that apple is more aimed at media people and microsoft more at office people…
    Shame they didnt really compare with the Yoga notebook, or any other windows combi laptops that is actually in the same market…

    but lets not forget that apple is also using last years CPUs due to intel delaying the launch of the new ones…

    also mac is not a gaming machine and doesnt claim to be – so why add extra costs to have a GPU that most users dont need…

    also, lets not forget that even for that slight extra performance, they are slapping on a huge increase in price

  52. b9bot - 7 years ago

    Let’s just call it what it really is, a full out lie!

  53. bonaccij (@bonaccij) - 7 years ago

    This is all very interesting, but we need to compare Apples to Apples. Comparing a laptop that HAS a discreet graphics card to one that doesn’t really isn’t the best comparison. That would be the same as comparing a Desktop to a laptop. It just isn’t the same thing. What happens when you compare “the Apple Model that HAS a discreet graphics card to the Windows Laptop that has a discreet graphics card”? What, are we to say that because each has a 13″ screen, that this is somehow a fair comparison? Ridiculous. Even if it comes close it’s a fail for MS. But, they put themselves here. They could have easily had said that is was competitive with and you wouldn’t have been able to deny them any of that cred. It’s all very silly.

  54. Hercy Chang - 7 years ago

    1st of all why do u wanna compare it with a 13′ mbp when it’s pricy as a 15′ one.

    • Rico Alexander - 7 years ago

      Why would you use price as a comparison? You do realize you can find a lot faster and cheaper desktop computers than the 15′ one.

  55. Injac Vasiljevic - 7 years ago

    You do realize that MS said its SP4 was 50% faster than the MBP, thus pure CPU and disk advantage isn’t twice as fast, but I’m guessing you don’t have to know math to be a fanboi…given it’s 3x as fast in graphics compared to MBP however gives me hope for the SB, I’m certainly interested, although it’s 200USD more expensive (but with better resolution and touchscreen, not to mention clipboard feature, and I won’t be able to get a smaller iPad Pro for less than additional 1200USD w/pencil&keyboard)…what would be interesting to see is the same tests run against the MacBookPro 15, with its dedicated AMD graphics card and a same price/CPU range desktop with dual GPU AMD still.


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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