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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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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