Microsoft Upgrades Surface Pro 2's Processor, Discretely

A turbocharged tablet? Microsoft gives its business-friendly, Windows 8 slate a processor upgrade.

Like its predecessor, the Surface Pro 2 won over reviewers and power users with its ability to run full-featured Windows software in a sleek tablet form factor. Now, new buyers have a little more reason to make the move to Microsoft's business-oriented tablet.

Microsoft has upgraded the Surface Pro 2's processor, replacing its Intel Core i5-4200U Haswell chip with a Core i5-4300U, according to WinBeta. The modest update enables the tablet to run at 1.9GHz or 2.5GHz with Turbo Boost. In contrast, the i5-4200U runs at 1.6GHz or 1.9GHz with Turbo Boost.

The update came to light after users took to Microsoft's official support forums to report on their replacement Surface Pro 2 units. In addition, "Graphics Max Dynamic Frequency" was increased from 1GHz to 1.1GHz, reported users. The move arrives just two months after Microsoft launched the device on Oct. 22 alongside the ARM-powered Surface 2.

"Microsoft routinely makes small changes to internal components over the lifetime of a product, based on numerous factors, including supply-chain partnerships, availability and value for our customers," a Microsoft spokesperson told the site. "With any change to hardware or software, we work to ensure that the product experience remains excellent."

In a product listing, Microsoft states that the Surface Pro 2 is outfitted with "a next-gen Intel Core i5 processor providing incredibly fast performance and longer battery life, Surface Pro 2 is the tablet that can replace your laptop." Ed Giaimo, senior director of product development for Surface Pro 2, and Steven Bathiche, distinguished scientist at Microsoft's Surface division, said in their under-the-hood tour of the device, "In order to replace a laptop, Surface Pro 2 is furiously fast; 10 to 20 percent faster than the original Surface Pro, depending upon the amount of RAM available."

Surface Pro 2 also houses a redesigned motherboard with "more efficient high-power switching voltage regulators with dual-mode low power leakage characteristics." All told, the improvements deliver a 75 percent improvement in battery life, "without increasing the battery capacity, product size or weight," said Giaimo and Bathiche.

The latest spec bump isn't reserved to replacement Surface Pro 2s. Microsoft is shipping the upgraded slates to retail customers. "The refreshed model is now filtering into retail channels, so any future stock should start to ship with the faster Intel processor," said The Verge's Tom Warren.

Prospective buyers may have a wait on their hands, however. "Several recent reports have noted that Microsoft’s Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets have remained largely out of stock over the holidays, alongside the timing of the processor change on the Pro 2 model," noted Warren. Currently, several Surface Pro 2 configurations remain sold out at the Microsoft Store Website. (Only the 512GB model is available as of this writing.)

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...