Could the SP4 Replace my Desktop?

jo-pa

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I am currently without a computer now and have really been looking at surface pro's. This may be pushing it but could a SP4 with an I7 16 gb Ram replace a desktop? I want something that can render and edit videos, stream live tv, edit pictures, and something I can take with me every day to work and come home and hook up to my TV to do work at night. This could cause a lot of wear and tear on the machine as it would be used non-stop. I also thought about waiting (hopefully and could be a long time) for the surface pro 5 to come out as I do want something with good battery life assuming this would be fixed and a good stylus to write with but we know nothing about them yet or if they will even come out. Maybe a SP and having a mini computer hooked to my tv would save some life on the surface pro? What are your thoughts?
 

xandros9

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In terms of raw horsepower the Surface Pro tablets are like an ultrabook. I own a similarly classed PC myself. Heavy lifting like rendering stuff and 3D work probably isn't going to be as great on the Surface as a desktop because it only has integrated graphics and has significant power, size and thermal constraints.

My biggest concern is that the Surface Pro's are almost impossible to repair also. It's svelte though although I might recommend you look at other 2-in-1's with more computing power at their disposal. The Surface Book and (although I don't know about Lenovo's current lineup) the ThinkPad Yoga 14 and 15 have discrete graphics options.
 

ashram

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By render, i "think" he means video, not 3D (when you edit video, the exporting of the final output is called rendering as well)

for everything the op mentioned, yes, it can replace your desktop. I've done video work in Premiere and Vegas on my SP2 with no issue.

BUT, like Xandros9 mentioned, A 2-in-1 or ultrabook may be a better deal. A bit more power (or discreet graphics) can save time when rendering video and in the case of an ultrabook, more protection for the screen when travelling....
 

xandros9

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By render, i "think" he means video, not 3D (when you edit video, the exporting of the final output is called rendering as well)

for everything the op mentioned, yes, it can replace your desktop. I've done video work in Premiere and Vegas on my SP2 with no issue.

BUT, like Xandros9 mentioned, A 2-in-1 or ultrabook may be a better deal. A bit more power (or discreet graphics) can save time when rendering video and in the case of an ultrabook, more protection for the screen when travelling....

I know, I meant both! :)
 

onlysublime

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I have the SP4 with Core i7 / 8 GB RAM / 256 GB storage. It's a wonderfully fast machine. I don't know if I would use it for much video rendering though. I do use it to edit my Premiere Pro projects as well as Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Camera Raw, etc. However, rendering takes hours and it means you can't do much else with the machine while rendering. Plus, the machine will get really hot for hours of encoding.

I wouldn't use any laptop or ultrabook for video encoding. It's just such a waste of a machine that you could be doing other stuff in the time you wait for a video to encode. What I do is edit the video and then push all the assets to a desktop that can be used to spend the hours to encode while I use my SP4 for all the high level stuff. Let the desktop do the grunt work.

Also keep in mind that Core i7 has mobile chips and desktop class chips which are different on many levels with more cores, more frequencies, etc. There is no mobile chip version on any ultrabook that will match the desktop versions.
 

Witness

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I am currently without a computer now and have really been looking at surface pro's. This may be pushing it but could a SP4 with an I7 16 gb Ram replace a desktop? I want something that can render and edit videos, stream live tv, edit pictures, and something I can take with me every day to work and come home and hook up to my TV to do work at night. This could cause a lot of wear and tear on the machine as it would be used non-stop. I also thought about waiting (hopefully and could be a long time) for the surface pro 5 to come out as I do want something with good battery life assuming this would be fixed and a good stylus to write with but we know nothing about them yet or if they will even come out. Maybe a SP and having a mini computer hooked to my tv would save some life on the surface pro? What are your thoughts?

I would say yes. The only difference between us would be that you are working with a lot of video. I work on high res photos a lot and the i5 256GB model does it well. Give the i7 model a run by buying through Microsoft - then it's risk free if it doesn't cut it for you. I have not used my quad core desktop since Surface Pro 2. The Surface has replaced my desktop and my laptop.
 

Chintan Gohel

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I am currently without a computer now and have really been looking at surface pro's. This may be pushing it but could a SP4 with an I7 16 gb Ram replace a desktop? I want something that can render and edit videos, stream live tv, edit pictures, and something I can take with me every day to work and come home and hook up to my TV to do work at night. This could cause a lot of wear and tear on the machine as it would be used non-stop. I also thought about waiting (hopefully and could be a long time) for the surface pro 5 to come out as I do want something with good battery life assuming this would be fixed and a good stylus to write with but we know nothing about them yet or if they will even come out. Maybe a SP and having a mini computer hooked to my tv would save some life on the surface pro? What are your thoughts?

The biggest thing to suffer would be the battery- how do you replace the battery after the warranty is over? At least for a laptop you can change the battery (assuming replacements are available)

And the device that you buy - it needs a strong local support system in case of any issues. No point in importing a surface and then after 2 weeks the wifi conks out and shipping out and back in would just be the same as getting a new one
 

xandros9

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The biggest thing to suffer would be the battery- how do you replace the battery after the warranty is over? At least for a laptop you can change the battery (assuming replacements are available)

With a Surface you buy another one. Sometimes maybe at half-price for a refurbished unit. Or you can try to replace it yourself and run an excessively high risk of destroying the tablet.
 

Chintan Gohel

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With a Surface you buy another one. Sometimes maybe at half-price for a refurbished unit. Or you can try to replace it yourself and run an excessively high risk of destroying the tablet.

that's not as pcoekt friendly as changing the battery for a laptop. My old laptop cos 560USD and I spent 60USD in getting a double capacity battery for it when the first one died
 

astondg

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I'm a software developer with a Surface Pro 3 - i5 / 8GB and it replaced my desktop. I actually almost replaced my desktop with my Surface Pro 1.

I don't do any 3D rendering, that could be slow without a dedicated GPU, but I do edit photos and videos from my GoPro (basic editing of shorter clips ~5 to 10mins). As a software developer I also run virtualisation software like Hyper-V and Docker and perform some CPU intensive tasks. I'd like 16GB RAM but I get by with 8GB.

I really dislike having multiple computers, keeping everything in sync and transitioning state and context between them. Windows 8 & 10 and cloud services have gone a long way to reducing that pain but after having my SP3 as my one and only device I can't imagine going back.
 

jo-pa

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All great answers, thank you all very much for your input. My main concerns would be the battery going bad from heavy use and having to get a new one or streaming tv to the surface and killing the SSD. Other than that, this machine sounds like it could be capable of doing what I need it to do for editing video/using to type documents etc... along with having great portability. I may buy a lower end Nuc or desktop to hook to my tvs to serve as media servers/ and save up and get an i7 surface. I haven't ever seen the i7 model on sale anywhere but by the time I purchase one in Nov, maybe there will be a black friday or cyber monday sale... I can only hope:grin:! Thanks again everyone!
 

onlysublime

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You don't need a super powerful desktop either. Whether you spend a couple hours rendering on a desktop or 10 hours rendering on a slower desktop doesn't really matter unless you need the results ASAP. I push my project to my desktop, queue up multiple jobs, and let it run overnight. Of course, it's nice to render on a fast desktop. But if I'm running a project overnight, the result is the same. I start the job and in the morning, it's done. It doesn't matter whether it took 1 hour or 6 hours because I won't touch the file until I wake up. Finishing an hour into my sleep doesn't help me at all.
 

astondg

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I push my project to my desktop, queue up multiple jobs, and let it run overnight.

This made me wonder: are there 'cloud' based services for 3D & video rendering?

I guess that video rendering at least would require a substantial Internet connection to move the source content around, I'm not sure about 3D rendering. But if 3D or video rending is the only use case that needs more resources than a Surface Pro offers then that might be worthwhile looking in to. Compare the ongoing cost of a SaaS or IaaS platform with the cost of a purpose built desktop pc.
 

jo-pa

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might be possible if you could upload it to the server.... makes me wonder too if streaming video to a surface if it would save the SSD if the surface as hooked to an External hard drive
 

Chintan Gohel

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This made me wonder: are there 'cloud' based services for 3D & video rendering?

I guess that video rendering at least would require a substantial Internet connection to move the source content around, I'm not sure about 3D rendering. But if 3D or video rending is the only use case that needs more resources than a Surface Pro offers then that might be worthwhile looking in to. Compare the ongoing cost of a SaaS or IaaS platform with the cost of a purpose built desktop pc.

there might be but I haven't seen any and most probably you would have to pay for them
 

polbit

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I have to say that my SP4 i5/8/256 is more than adequate for Visual Studio work, including some marathon sessions, and with modern cloud and NAS at home, I rarely go back to my "big" computer (Asus ROG 17" in my case). Haven't edited too much video, but coding, streaming music, and picture editing at the same time works fine.
 

Matty

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I am currently without a computer now and have really been looking at surface pro's. This may be pushing it but could a SP4 with an I7 16 gb Ram replace a desktop? I want something that can render and edit videos, stream live tv, edit pictures, and something I can take with me every day to work and come home and hook up to my TV to do work at night. What are your thoughts?

Specs wise, yes, that could replace your PC. IMO its certainly powerful enough to render videos, maybe not 4K, but certainly 720p. Its a lovely piece of hardware.
 

michail71

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I have to say that my SP4 i5/8/256 is more than adequate for Visual Studio work, including some marathon sessions, and with modern cloud and NAS at home, I rarely go back to my "big" computer (Asus ROG 17" in my case). Haven't edited too much video, but coding, streaming music, and picture editing at the same time works fine.

VS 2015 has been faster for me on my SP4 than it was on my similarly speced Lenovo. Although I can't seem to get VS installed without some issue. I've gone through 3 installs/re-installs. But it's probably VS and not the SP4. Anyone who works with Visual Studio knows how temperamental it can be.
 

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