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Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 is real, and it’s five times faster than the original Surface Book

Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 aspires to repeat the original Surface Book’s history, blowing users away—only more so, with performance it claims to be five times greater than what the original 2015 model achieved. We got a close look at the new hardware at a recent press briefing and have all the information for you below. 

Not one, but two Surface Book 2 models

The fact that there is a Surface Book 2 is surprising enough, let alone two: a successor to the original 13-inch form factor, and a new 15-inch model. We spent some time with both, even unearthing what could be the first performance numbers on Microsoft’s new beast.

How fast is it? Try 8th-generation Core fast. Microsoft sprang for an Intel Core i7-8650U to power both most of the 13-inch and both of the 15-inch machines, and bundled them with what made the Surface Book line famous: discrete, powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 and 1060 GPUs, mounted in the base. There’s even a first for Microsoft—USB-C!—plus a next-generation Surface Pen and a lovely Surface Precision Mouse to round it out.

No Surface is cheap, though, and you’ll pay between $1,499 and $2,999 for the 13-inch Surface Book 2, and between $2,499 to a whopping $3,299 for the 15-inch model. You can preorder both on November 9 for shipments on November 16, with one catch: Microsoft’s 15-inch Cadillac of convertibles will ship only to U.S. customers, at least initially. 

Microsoft Surface Book 2 Mark Hachman / IDG

The new Surface Book 2 looks nearly identical to the original Surface Book, with a glassy touchpad that seems about the same as its predecessor.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 specs and prices

Microsoft positions the Surface Book 2 as a machine that that outpunches its weigh class. Where the Surface Pro tablet embodies mobility and the Surface Studio all-in-one is a digital easel for creativity, “this is a desktop,” Microsoft’s corporate vice president of devices, Panos Panay, went so far as to call the Surface Book 2. “For many, this is likely the most performant desktop they’ve ever seen.”

Microsoft Surface Book 2 Panos Panay Mark Hachman / IDG

Microsoft’s Panos Panay shows off the Surface Book 2. Behind him on the right is Dona Sarkar, who heads up the Windows Insider team.

As it has done previously, Microsoft has also provided options for consumers to choose between different amounts of memory and SSD storage. Here are the options, according to Microsoft:

13-inch Surface Book 2:

  • 2.6GHz dual-core Core i5-7500U; 8GB RAM; 256GB SSD: $1,499 
  • 1.9GHz quad-core Core i7-8650U 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD; dGPU: $1,999
  • 1.9GHz quad-core Core i7-8650U 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD; dGPU: $2,499
  • 1.9GHz quad-core Core i7-8650U 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD; dGPU: $2,999

15-inch Surface Book 2:

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