System Performance

Powering the Surface Laptop Studio is Intel’s 11th generation Tiger Lake processors, and more specifically, Microsoft has opted for the new H35 platform. For those unfamiliar, Intel has taken what was traditionally their “U-Series” of 15-watt processors and created the higher powered H35 platform. This means you only get up to four CPU cores instead of eight as on the 45-Watt H-Series chips, but you also get up to the full 96 Execution Unit Intel Xe graphics, all with a 35-Watt TDP.

In the case of the Surface Laptop Studio, the base model comes with the Core i5-11300H featuring four cores and eight threads with a maximum boost frequency of 4.4 Ghz. The Core i5 model is not offered with discrete graphics, so the Intel Iris Xe is what is on tap. The higher-end Laptop Studio models are outfitted with the Core i7-11370H, again with four cores and eight threads, and a maximum boost frequency of 4.8 GHz. The Core i7 models will be paired with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti laptop graphics, offering a significant performance boost over the integrated Intel graphics.

On the memory front, the minimum memory is 16 GB of LPDDR4x and on some models you can opt for 32 GB. Microsoft has had a tendency in the past to offer devices with less memory than is necessary, so it is great to see their new flagship product starting at 16 GB. Storage is 256 GB to 2 TB of PCIe 3.0 solid state storage, which is attached to the chipset.

Microsoft calls this their most powerful Surface device ever created. Let’s put that to the test and see how the new Laptop Studio stacks up to the competition.

PCMark 10

PCMark 10 - Essentials

PCMark 10 - Productivity

PCMark 10 - Digital Content Creation

PCMark 10 - Overall

UL reached out to the press to let them know that Windows 11 enabled Virtualization-Based Security by default on a clean install of Windows 11 and that they expect that to impact the scores in a negative way. But even with that disadvantage, the Surface Laptop Studio outscores all of the other devices except in the Essentials test, where it is decidedly mid-pack.

Cinebench R20

Cinebench R20 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R20 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

Intel’s H35 platform that is featured in the Surface Laptop Studio offers four cores and eight threads of the latest Willow Cove cores, and Intel’s single-threaded performance is second to none. But, with AMD offering up to eight cores and 16 threads in the same thermal envelope, Tiger Lake H35 falls short of Ryzen in multithreading.

Handbrake

Handbrake Transcoding (Software)

Handbrake Transcoding (Hardware)

If you are transcoding, it is more than likely you are leveraging the very popular Handbrake tool. With it, you can transcode with the CPU, which gives the best quality, or you can leverage the video encode blocks in the GPU. We test both, and since the Laptop Studio comes with an NVIDIA RTX GPU, that means NVENC. On the software side, the H35 platform outperforms the MSI Prestige which also offers Tiger Lake but falls short of the higher-core Ryzen products. On the hardware side though, the RTX 3050 Ti is way ahead.

Compression

7-Zip Compression

7-Zip Decompression

7-Zip offers a built-in benchmark to see how your system handles file compression and decompression. Intel’s core count disadvantage holds it back here again compared to Ryzen.

Web Performance

Web performance comes down to the browser as much as the processor, so to standardize, we leverage Microsoft’s Chromium-based Edge browser for all tests.

Speedometer 2.0

WebXPRT 3

Well, this is an anomaly. Edge on Windows 11 scores an abysmal 79 in WebXPRT 3. It was so low that I re-ran the test using Chrome where it scored a much more respectable 221. As both Edge and Chrome are based on the same Chromium underpinnings these days, that is a bit strange. I’ve reached out to Microsoft to see if they can explain this one.

Luckily, Speedometer 2.0 was not impacted, and the latest Windows 11 build for Edge coupled with the Core i7-113700H puts the Surface Laptop Studio at the top.

Storage Performance

With Tiger Lake's 4 PCIe 4.0 lanes tied up driving the dGPU, Microsoft has instead hung their SSD off of the PCIe lanes coming from the PCH. This in turn means that Microsoft's storage options are limited to PCIe 3.0, though given the relatively high power of current PCIe 4.0 SSDs, that might not be such a bad thing right now.

As always, storage is a bit of a commodity, so you never know what SSD you are going to get. Our review unit shipped with a SK Hynix 1 TB option. Choices are between 256 GB and 2 TB, so there is a good range of capacities from Microsoft, and like most Surface devices over the last couple of years, Microsoft makes the drive user replaceable after experimenting with soldered BGA SSDs for a couple of years.

PCMark 10 System Drive Benchmark Bandwidth

PCMark 10 System Drive Benchmark Average Access Time

PCMark 10 System Drive Benchmark Score

For a PCIe 3.0 drive, the performance of this unit was very good. It is outmatched by the latest PCIe 4.0 drives, but performance is still excellent.

Design Graphics Performance
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  • nico_mach - Wednesday, October 6, 2021 - link

    I don't think you'll get a clear statement from MS. That said, they indicated that this is the successor, so I wouldn't count on another Book release.

    And, yes, that is all they said, there is no definitive 'The Book is dead' statement anywhere.
    Reply
  • Daeros - Tuesday, October 5, 2021 - link

    Just curious as to why no comparisons were made to other ‘H’ sku offerings from Intel and AMD, or the Apple M1.

    It seems like a no-brainer that a CPU with >2x thermal dissipation and external GPU is faster than the ~15w platforms in this review.
    Reply
  • Brett Howse - Tuesday, October 5, 2021 - link

    Hi Daeros. I've not been sampled the Apple M1 in a laptop so it is not in our database.

    Most of the "H" series we've tested are bigger gaming systems with much larger GPUs. This is called an H35 but really it's more of a U-series with some headroom.

    That being said, feel free to compare the Laptop Studio against any other device we've tested in our online Bench database here:
    https://www.anandtech.com/bench/product/2890
    Reply
  • ingwe - Tuesday, October 5, 2021 - link

    So perhaps a stupid question: based on what I see from the battery life and charge time page, charging only happens through the Surface Connect port and not through Thunderbolt at all? Correct? If so, that is annoying as it means a normal Thunderbolt dock is next to worthless with this. Reply
  • Brett Howse - Tuesday, October 5, 2021 - link

    The charger that comes with it is the normal Surface one but that doesn't mean you can't charge over the other ports. Reply
  • rogantastic - Wednesday, October 6, 2021 - link

    I picked up my Surface Laptop Studio yesterday and confirmed you can charge with any standard PD charger over Type C on both ports, this is a requirement to be called "Thunderbolt" if less than 120 watts I believe (I could be wrong on the wattage number). I have a 65 Watt PD charger and it works GREAT. Reply
  • ikjadoon - Tuesday, October 5, 2021 - link

    Excellent battery life for a 56 WHr 35W GPU + ~35W dGPU; these idles states are working well.

    And great to see, from the surface, a quite decent SSD (as I don't think SK Hynix makes QLC or DRAMless SSDs, do they?).

    But, *quite* disappointed to see not a single type-A port and a silly, selfish omission. Following Apple's worse trends: "$1600 MSRP system with a dGPU and not a single USB type-A port."

    //

    The oddities are those browser benchmarks.

    Either Windows 11, Edge, or some system timers are either beyond amazing or beyond borked. That 192 Speedometer 2.0 score for an i7-11370H (4.8 GHz Turbo) is 34% faster than AnandTech's CPU Bench all-time record of 143 by the i9-11900K (5.3 GHz Turbo).

    Also would've liked an M1 comparison at least for battery life or CPU performance, though the main seller here is the hinged touchscreen.
    Reply
  • ikjadoon - Tuesday, October 5, 2021 - link

    * 35W CPU
    * Apple's worst
    Reply
  • SirDragonClaw - Wednesday, October 6, 2021 - link

    No one needs a old usb type-a port these days. Leaving it on would be foolish. Reply
  • alanh - Tuesday, October 5, 2021 - link

    I find it curious that you talk about the new "unique hinge design" and then neglect to include any detailed pics of the hinge on the "Design" page. Reply

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