Thunderbolt 4 on Microsoft Surface devices
 
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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 5 years ago
 

I personally have been waiting for Microsoft Surface devices to incorporate Thunderbolt. It would mean better software support for Thunderbolt connectivity in general and eGPU in specific. Today Microsoft announced the Surface Pro 8 and Surface Laptop Studio. Both have Intel 11th gen quad-core CPU and two Thunderbolt 4 ports.

The Surface Laptop Studio is definitely my next Thunderbolt 4 laptop. Nice to see a similar design as MacBook Pro in a 14-in display footprint. In a sense, it's the MacBook Pro and iPad Pro + Magic Keyboard combined into one device.

Release date is October 4th with pricing starts at $1,599 for i5-11300H 35W CPU, 16GB RAM, and 256GB SSD [link]. The SSD is removable so it's possible to use M.2 eGPU adapter. I'm hoping the M.2 slot is PCIe gen 4 because I just received ADT-Link newest R43SG 4.0 which allows the eGPU to run at PCIe 4.0 x4 connection.

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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
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@itsage, great to see Microsoft embrace Thunderbolt finally. This should hopefully imply that Windows 11 treats eGPU as a first-class citizen (i.e., better). The Laptop Studio looks pretty neat. Design seems functional. Disappointing to see no AMD CPU options though. It’s not my cup of tea given the form factor. But great to see something unique and interesting in this space. Already looking forward to your review and build Smile

 

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jefniro
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@itsage, I fell in love with it! I'm waiting for the new MacBookPro Mx from months but Microsoft shocked my plans... I know that the concept of the Surface Laptop Studio is not very original (there have been others devices like it in the past...) but it seems that the concept has the right maturity now. It convinces me and it would be perfect in my setup. A big external monitor above and the Surface on the bottom with different angles of view.

 

If I compare it with the new DELL XPS I see that the CPU is different:

DELL XPS 15": i7-11800H (8 cores, 16 threads, 24MB Cache, 4.60 GHz) vs Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio: i7-11370H (4 cores, 8 threads, 12MB Cahce, 4.80 GHz)

 I don't know if the CPU is the right solution for eGPU..  I suppose that DELL has the best performances.

Unfortunately for my market it will be available only in Q1 2022 but this allows me to see what Apple will show in the near future, I can check even the first reviews of the SLS.  

I'm not very happy if I think to Windows 11... I love MacOS and I use it from many years but I want to continue with eGPU solutions for my setup, I don't think Apple silicon (ARM CPU) will support it soon...  

I'm waiting for your review!! Really interested to it.

 

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PepeCZ
(@hr1bek)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

I'm waiting many years for Surface Pro with Thunderbolt connector.

Many years back when was new Surface Pro 4 I owned one piece, and it was perfect device for travel and into work, but in home this device hadn't many GPU power for games. Now it looks that from version 8+ can be this one limitation fixed.

Now I own Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (5800H+RTX3070 140W) so waiting on new Surface is not hard, but next year when will be available Surface Pro 8 with Thunderbolt 4 I planning buy one piece. 

Future of eGPU looks good, Microsoft adopt Thunderbolt 4, and Intel working on thunderbolt 5 with 80gbps.

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Strako
(@strako)
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Joined: 1 month ago
 

Hello, first post here Smile
I was always lurking since a eGPU setup is really a thing I want to do down the line.

Now with the new Surface devices this will hopefully come to fruition! I currently have a Surface Book 3 and I really like the device but CPU performance can be troublesome. That makes me wonder if either the SP8 or the Studio Laptop would be better here.
I love the form factor of the Pro and the Studio, but the Pro is more suited for my work now considering I can't take the screen off of the Studio anymore.

I am really curious if you experienced folks can chime in what to expect from these CPU's and if it even is feasible to expect a meaningful performance boost, if at all.

Currently with a Surface Book 3 - expecting to build with a Surface Laptop Studio or Surface Pro 8


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itsage
(@itsage)
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@jefniro, I pre-ordered the base model and hoping for it to be ready on October 5th; will be testing both the Thunderbolt 4 connection and NVMe M.2 slot with the new ADT-Link R43SG 4.0. I was tempted to try the AIO desktop Surface Studio but the lack of Thunderbolt held me back. I wish macOS was still my primary OS but the way Apple is heading, it's not promising. The big first step out of Apple ecosystem for me was to stop using the iPhone.

 

 

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jefniro
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Best Hands-on until now... It looks really good! 

 

 

2019 14" HP EliteBook 840 G6 [8th,4C,U] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + Win10 2004 [build link]  

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itsage
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@jefniro, Picked mine up at Best Buy during lunch break. It's promising so far because my Razer Core V2 + W5700 eGPU worked immediately through hot-plug and was charging the laptop through the Thunderbolt 4 port. Yet to see whether the NVMe M.2 slot gets PCIe 4.0 treatment. I will take photos and post more later today.

 

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jefniro
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@itsage, WOW! Compliment! I'm little bit jealous! 😉  Many reviews are online now and the most are enthusiastic about it, premium materials, very good keyboard and touch pad! The screen also looks brilliant but everybody agrees about the CPU because four cores, they expected the eight cores...  

 

2019 14" HP EliteBook 840 G6 [8th,4C,U] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + Win10 2004 [build link]  

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itsage
(@itsage)
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@jefniro, Unfortunately the NVMe M.2 socket is wired to a PCIe 3.0 connection. Power Delivery is up to 65W through the Thunderbolt 4 ports. This is great because I have no use of the proprietary Surface connector/charger. AMD eGPUs have been a plug-and-play experience so far. I tried ASUS ROG XG Station 2 + RX 6900 XT and it worked without error 12.

 

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2021 14" Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio [11th,4C,H] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB4 (WD_Black D50) + Win11 [build link]  


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