This spring, Microsoft will be announcing new hardware for the Surface family that will include an update to the Surface Go and the long-overdue Surface Book 2. If history is any indicator of the future, expect the event to be held in NYC with the availability of the hardware not long after its announcement.
On the agenda for the event will be a refreshed Surface Book 3 and an updated Surface Go 2. I do not expect major design overhauls for either product, but the updates will continue to refine the hardware with new internals and slight modifications to the exterior.
For the Surface Book 3, according to people familiar with the company’s plans, Microsoft will bump the internal specs to 10th generation Intel processors and 16** series Nvidia GTX GPUs. But the top-end Surface Book, likely only available on the 15in, will increase the GPU capability by including an option for Quadro series graphics cards.
Nvidia’s Quadro cards, which are designed for professional use, should help the Surface Book 3 perform AI/ML calculations and function as a mobile workstation for high-end computing needs. Microsoft is likely targeting data scientists with the top end Book 3 which is a small deviation from their ‘creators’ viewpoint they had previously taken with the hardware. Of course, the ‘creators’ pitch still works well for the lower-end Book 3 too, but at the top-spec, this will be a true mobile workstation for those who need the specific features that Quadro offers.
I am also hearing that Microsoft will bump that max RAM configuration from 16GB to 32GB and I would expect a 1TB SSD to be available as well.
The inclusion of 16** series GPU hardware is a bit disappointing as Nvidia is currently shipping mobile versions of the 2060 GPUs to vendors and I am sure there are users who would prefer having ray tracing functionality for a bit of future proofing.
As for form-factor, I am not expecting much to change over the previous generation Book 2 but one thing to consider is that Quadro GPUs pull a significant amount of wattage. There may be updates to charging for the hardware to accommodate these beefier components.
For the Go 2, Microsoft will continue a similar formula as the first-generation hardware. Expect to see low-end Intel chips, likely Pentium Gold but there is also going to be an option for a Core M device as well. Rumors that the company would use a 7c chipset from Qualcomm do not appear to be accurate at this time.
As for the physical appearance of the Go 2, expect a minor refresh but I am not expecting a major overhaul of the previous generation hardware.
At the event, Microsoft will also likely talk more about the Surface Earbuds that were announced at the company’s fall event but were delayed. The company previously said that the peripheral would arrive in the spring and with hardware announcements happening at this time as well, it would make sense for the shipping date to be finalized.
One other item that has been floating around the Microsoft universe is the second-generation of the Surface headphones. I am not sure if we will see those at this event but they do exist, but the release date isn’t known at this time.
When it comes to pricing, I am not expecting a significant deviation from the first generation Go and Surface Book 2 MSRPs. Meaning, for the Go, I would expect a price around $399 for an entry point and the Surface Book 3 around $1400 for the 13.5in model with prices moving north as you add more RAM/Storage/GPU.
Both the Go and the Book 2 are long overdue for a refresh but the Surface brand has established that they move to their own agenda. With a refresh on the horizon, if you were planning to buy either of these products, it may be best to wait another month or two.