1. pippyo03's Avatar
    I'm trying to decide on which surface pro 4 to get. For the same price I can get a surface with I7 with 8gb of ram, or an I5 16gb of ram. So I'm trying to decided whether I need the higher I7 processor or the extra 16gb of ram.

    I'm a future engineering student which might have to run some cad programs.
    I run adobe Photoshop for my photography hobby.
    And the usual stuff like web browsing, office, email, and streaming video. (Which consume most of my time on the computer.)
    And I'm a pretty heavy multitasker and love running a bunch of apps at once.

    I currently own a surface pro 2, I5 with 4 gb of ram. I'm fairly happy with the performance on the pro 2 and I know that an upgrade to either of the devices will be an improvement. There's some lag here and there and It overheats easily but its a good computer.

    I'm torn between the extra ram and the higher processor. For multitasking and cad programs I know the extra ram is important and that's why I'm leaning towards to extra ram version but I'm unsure if I will see more of a performance boost from the extra ram, or the I7 processor. What are yalls thoughts on which one I should get?
    10-12-2015 01:18 PM
  2. stevesu's Avatar
    I would get the i7. I have the SP3 i7/8GB and have never had an issue with resources or performance. You might find the CAD program to be more PROC intensive (but research this first).
    10-12-2015 01:25 PM
  3. Talldog's Avatar
    The I7 has better graphics performance (Iris 540 vs. HD 520 in the I5), so if you really have a processor or graphics intensive workload, you might be better off with the I7. However, if your workload is more normal (like the web browsing, etc. you mentioned above) combined with a lot of multitasking, you'll probably get more bang for the buck with the 16Gb. The nice thing about 16Gb is that even with a lot of multitasking, there's a good chance you'll be able to run a minimal page file (1Gb for kernel dumps). Besides the boost in memory performance, you'll get a lot of space back on your very expensive SSD drive. With 8GB and a Windows-managed page file, it's going to take at least 12Gb.

    If you think you want to keep this for a while, like a couple of years or longer, consider trying to stretch and get both. A high end configuration will run faster for longer.
    pippyo03 likes this.
    10-12-2015 02:27 PM
  4. pippyo03's Avatar
    Thank you! As a future engineer student I'm probably not going to be running a bunch I high level cad programs (if any, I might have to just use school computers that already have cad) for the first two years. And I'll probably be looking for another computer in 3 years or so. I think ill go with the I5 16gb because for what ill be doing I don't think an I7 will be crucial to my uses on a computer. And when I do run cad programs it may not run perfectly but an I5 wills till do the job

    When I do start running higher level cad programs ill probably stretch something that can run those programs
    Last edited by pippyo03; 10-12-2015 at 03:46 PM.
    10-12-2015 03:34 PM
  5. GSOgymrat's Avatar
    Anyone know of a website or graph that compares benchmarks or performance for the various Surface Pro 4 models? Any known difference in battery life?
    10-13-2015 05:50 PM
  6. Talldog's Avatar
    Anyone know of a website or graph that compares benchmarks or performance for the various Surface Pro 4 models? Any known difference in battery life?
    I don't think you're going to see any benchmarks until the tech sites start getting their hands on review units. I'm not sure whether that's gonna happen before 10/26 or not.
    10-13-2015 08:02 PM
  7. WildKarrde's Avatar
    My biggest concern between getting the i5 and the i7 is the battery life difference, if any. I know for a fact I can definitely benefit from the IRIS graphics, but I also know I don't really need the i7 over the i5. If I had to choose, I'd rather have more battery life than more graphics capability. I currently have the same SP2 as the OP, i5 128GB with 4GB RAM, and the battery life with power cover is fantastic.

    I'm currently an engineering student who has almost finished my associates in mechanical engineering, and design engineering, so I have a lot of experience using CAD software. My SP2 is faster than any of the computers on campus. My SP2 runs Autocad perfectly, Solidworks with only slight lags, and Catia with performance similar to Solidworks, with only the most advanced stress and strain calculations taxing the machine. Trust me, you will want CAD on your own machine, as being stuck in the computer lab will get old quick.

    So, your SP2 is really enough to get started. The i5 with 8GB should be able to handle everything you need without issue, but if you have more to spend, I am quite certain you will get more from the i7 with 8GB RAM than you would from an i5 with 16GB RAM. When my SP2 starts to strain in CAD, it's because of the processor and graphics, not RAM. I have hit the RAM wall pretty often with 4GB on my SP2, but it's mostly from gaming, or having tons of apps open at the same time. My desktop computer has 32GB, and I almost never use more than 8GB of it. Personally, I feel 16GB is probably a bit overkill for a tablet, but if you have the spare cash for an i7 and 16GB it couldn't hurt if it's going to be your only PC until you graduate.
    John M Beauchemin likes this.
    11-03-2015 06:18 PM
  8. onlysublime's Avatar
    Battery life shouldn't really be a question here. The i7 can scale up and down. The only time the i7 uses more power is if you're running the CPU/GPU hard because the i7 can scale higher than the i5 can.

    The bottom line is whether you need better graphics or not. If you play games or use software the uses extensive GPU acceleration like Adobe software (or CAD software), then you need the i7. Basic Intel Integrated Graphics are poor. The Iris is a nice step up. An 8 GB machine is still a great and fast machine. 8 GB doesn't really get impacted hard unless you do large scale video editing. And if you're editing large scale graphics or video, the lack of good GPU acceleration will hurt you anyway.

    If you were doing 4K video editing that are lengthy, then the 16 GB makes sense.
    11-07-2015 11:20 PM
  9. WildKarrde's Avatar
    You don't need an i7 for CAD. My SP2 with 4 GB RAM handled Autocad, Catia and Solidworks fine.
    11-08-2015 02:38 AM

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