1. #1

    Surface Pro 2 for Gaming?

    Looking for a little advice from computer savvy folks. I buy my computers primarily for what I do for a living - Illustration - but I also would like to go with my best option to support my hobby - Gaming.

    I'm fairly certain either would be a healthy improvement from my current machine: a 2010 MacBook Pro with a 288MB video card and 4 GB of ram.

    Option 1
    Surface Pro 2 $1799

    Option 2
    Wacom Cintiq Companion $2499

    The models I'm looking at are the highest end of each, both have 8GB of ram and a 512GB SSD. I can't seem to find any information on the video cards, and the one difference I see is the SP2 uses the i5 and the WC the i7, but being a noob, not sure if that warrants the $700 price difference.

    As far as a drawing tool, I like the Wacom's larger screen and I feel some brand loyalty to them since I've been using their products for years, but it's balanced out by the sleek design of the surface and it's extra mobility.

    The tie breaker for me is what will handle games better. Also note that screen size won't be a factor because I'll be doing most, if not all of my gaming at home, and I'll have it hooked up to an external monitor.

  2. #2
    The Lightbringer Jakexe's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    Looks like they both use intergrated gpus. Which means you're basically not playing any games at 1080p with better than ultra low settings, but the surface pro 2 would be better. Intel HD 4200 vs the 4000 in the wacom.
    Last edited by Jakexe; 2013-10-19 at 01:42 AM.
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  3. #3
    I have a surface pro. I got it for the touch screen and and watching movies while traveling. I also play Diablo 3, WoW, Skyrim, and civ 5.

    My experience is that it is a very versatile little machine. The graphics are actually quite good at lower setting simply because the screen is so small. Civ 5 is especially good with the touch screen but because of processing power you are limited in the size of the game. Downside is the battery life. While gaming 2 hours max when you aren't plugged in. So I would bank on adding on the keyboard with the battery built into it. Which brings me to another downside of the surface. It doesn't come with a keyboard and you will probably want the type keyboard which runs $100 and I think the Battery keyboard is into the $200 range. That narrows the gap between the 2 computers (assuming the wacom comes with one). Those issues aside, I would buy it again. I like this computer a lot.

    Anyway. Some personal opinions on the original model. Maybe it helps. And since my experience is with the original surface, the pro 2 I am sure will be that much better.

  4. #4

  5. #5
    Very cool machine, thanks for the link.

    Unfortunately, it lacks the Wacom digitizer found in both the Wacom Companion and SP2 kinda nixing it for it's primary purpose of drawing. Seems like a great machine though if I was getting it only to game on. Love that accessory that let's you get controller handles.

  6. #6
    This is not hardware related and I'm not sure you're affected by this but you might want to do some research on W8 vs W7 concerning tablet input when choosing your OS:


  7. #7
    note that screen size won't be a factor

    I recommend the Surface Pro 2. It weights half as much (900g vs 1.8kg), costs less, has much better battery life and has the better* GPU (HD 4400 vs HD 4000).

    By the way, the Surface Pro 2 also uses a Wacom digitizer, although with fewer levels of pressure sensitivity (1024 vs 2048).

    Hope this helps.

    *i.e. less horrible - we are still talking about Intel integrated Graphics, although the number of playable Steam games is surprisingly large.
    Last edited by Monstermensch; 2013-10-20 at 10:17 AM.

  8. #8
    I am Murloc! Cyanotical's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by Monstermensch View Post
    I recommend the Surface Pro 2. It weights half as much (900g vs 1.8kg), costs less, has much better battery life and has the better* GPU (HD 4400 vs HD 4000).

    By the way, the Surface Pro 2 also uses a Wacom digitizer, although with fewer levels of pressure sensitivity (1024 vs 2048).

    Hope this helps.

    *i.e. less horrible - we are still talking about Intel integrated Graphics, although the number of playable Steam games is surprisingly large.
    HD4400 limits the max turbo of the CPU, so it's actually worse for gaming,

    as for touchscreen, most reviewers still find the Razer Edge to have one of the best toushcreens of any tablet on the market, its only downside being shorter battery life due to the discrete gpu

  9. #9
    In general:
    • Tablet-PCs use ULV-CPUs (ultra low voltage) most of the time, that are just crippled normal CPUs. Why are they crippled? To produce less heat (less power -> less heat), so that thin chassis-designs can be realized.
      -> ULV-processors are very bad for programs with steady operations (like games). ULV-processors are more designed to offer good performance in burst-portions (with intels burst-mode technology), but they will throttle down if you pressure them more than a few minutes. You will not enjoy 5 mins of 30 fps on low detail if it drops to 20 fps afterwards due to heat issues.
    • IGPUs of Tablet-PCs are very much suboptimal for gaming. They offer enough power for old games, but don't expect to run a 5-year old game on high detail in 1080p with 60 fps.
    • Haswell doesn't change the ULV-IGPU performance. HD4000 and HD4400 have more or less the same performance, but HD4400 is a bit more efficient. I wouldn't call a difference between 24 fps and 25 fps a huge leap forwards.
      -> for example Borderlands 2 performance with HD4000 and HD4400 at notebookcheck.
    • Pressure sensitivity is just a number to attract customers, it says nothing about the quality of the digitizer. A digitizer with 256 level of pressure sensitivity can be better than the one with 1024. (look at the video "T902 vs Note 10.1 vs Ativ Smart PC Pro" at the end of my post for a nice video to see what i mean)

    Surface Pro 2:
    • Chassis can not be opened (it's the same like in Surface Pro).
      -> Ifixit teardown gave Surface Pro a terrible 1/10. Surface Pro doesn't stand the requirements of a long-lasting product, it's more of a disposable customer-product (for example once the battery is attrited, you will have to pay a premium price to replace it).
    • The screen is glossy. In germany you can sue your employer if he forces you to work with a glossy screen. A matte screen protector will ruin your high resolution experience and the colors, so i can't recommend that too. Glossy screen means you will look into a mirror and that is a higher burden for your brain. For example in university, rooms are often full of strong light sources which will reflect in the screen, rendering it annoying and unpleasant to work with.
    • The screen is under 11". It's very small and you should test that size for digitizer-work first before you buy it. I thought it's enough, but was shocked when i saw it in my local store - it's like an oversized smartphone in my opinion >.<
    • The keyboard-cover (the type one) is something i did not like too. I prefer a full keyboard :P

    If you spend so much money for a professional tablet-PC, consider the Fujitsu T902. It has a full voltage CPU (35W, vs 15W of Surface Pro and 17W of Cintiq), a matte 13" screen and is modular for an easy maintenance. Oh and it offers mobile broadband, something the others lack too (if you need it).

    I highly recommend to buy a small tower-PC (~500$) for gaming at home if you want to play modern PC-games. If you are only interested in very old games, then every unit will get the job done and i would recommend the Cintiq or T902 due to the matte screen for better conditions of work :P

    If portability is the biggest thing for you, then the Surface Pro 2 is a lot better than the Cintiq (which is really big) and T902 due to the very small size and weight (1kg vs 2kg for the other two).

    The new Sony Vaio Flip 15" offers a GT 735M dGPU (better than HD4400, still bad though), but it has a N-Trig digitizer. I bet this is a dealbreaker for you

    Some videos!
    Cintiq vs Surface Pro (look at the crazy size difference! ^^): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=an9Rzgrzwtk
    Wacom vs N-Trig and T902 in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xt2ioI7DXJ4
    T902 vs Note 10.1 vs Ativ Smart PC Pro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncegf0Em7m4
    Last edited by Theremin88; 2013-10-21 at 06:29 PM.

  10. #10
    Thanks for all the advice guys. I'm still undecided. Actually, I'm starting to consider splitting my dough on a mid-level SP2 just for working and a mid-level gaming rig.

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