Experiences with Surface Book?


Have anyone here used the new Microsoft Surface Book for SE? I'm interested in getting it for my only workstation. I would use it mainly with the docking station with two monitors attached and sometimes on the road. I have read some rant about bugs and drivers that are not yet fully compatible with some CAD programs but haven't yet heard really any experiences with Solid Edge (other than one in this forum but it was not very informative).

I'm thinking about the i5/256GB SSD/8GB RAM or i7/512GB SSD/16GB RAM configurations. We have pretty small assemblies with usually less than 500 parts, never more than 5000. We do quite a bit of Keyshot renderings and some simulation inside SE. Is the i7 version really worth the extra 800$?

Thank you for feedback!

Re: Experiences with Surface Book?

Personally, I'd wait for a couple more releases on the Surface Book before purchasing. You can buy other touchscreen laptops/mobile workstations that would fit your requirements.


My question to you is how much rendering and simulation are you talking about? I would not recommend any of the Surface products if you will be relying on these devices for those activities.


The Surface line is meant to replace a "laptop" not a workstation!


Now, after saying this you can do rendering and some simulation. Just don't expect too much in those regards.


Personally, I'd go for a Surface Pro 4. It is a more mature product line, you can get similar hardware configurations and it can also hook up to multiple monitors (if your monitors support DisplayPort 1.2) with a single cable out or you can use the portable docking block.

Re: Experiences with Surface Book?

Hi Ryan and thanks for the reply,

But surely the discrete GPU in the Surface Book makes a big difference in CAD compared to Surface Pro 4? Although I can understand you recommending other mobile workstations over SB. What would those be?

One more thing that draws me to SB is the detachable "notebook" as Microsoft calls it, and the included Pen. However, they are not must.

Re: Experiences with Surface Book?

I recently saw an article comparing the surface pro 4 to the surface book for gaming and the discrete GPU on the SB was significantly better than the integrated graphics on the SP4.  Now, a lot of what Solid Edge does is single thread CPU related and for that the general advice is to get the highest clock speed as possible, but graphics performance is also hugely important so of the two machines I'd go for the i7+GPU or i5+GPU surfce book depending on your budget.

Re: Experiences with Surface Book?

[ Edited ]

I'm thinking this if you need a tablet with a pen:


Not a detachable but a convertable.  Uses a Wacom pen with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity (important for those artist types) and it stores in the body of the PC, not hanging on the outside using a magnet...  Also sporting the latest QUADRO GPU!


Found this for my daughter who thought she wanted the Surface Book, but a potentially better option for her as a graphic designer/artist.


Production: ST9 MP7
Testing: ST10

Re: Experiences with Surface Book?

[ Edited ]

Hold on...I don't think it wise to compare DirectX games running on a device and saying you will get better performance from your OpenGL api calls on your CAD programs. Yes, there are plenty of debates you can find about OpenGL vrs. DirectX and the CAD programs.


Maybe someone from Siemens PLM Solid Edge group can pipe in as to what type of apis are being used by Solid Edge these days? OpenGL or DirectX.


Anyway, if you want a decent comparable I found this website that compares the Surface product lines. This doesn't include anything about the Surface Book. What I did find was there is a lot of passion between the two groups- SP and SB. Each saying their device is better.


If we reflect back on your requirements: 1) Run CAD, 2) Run Simulation, 3) Run Rendering, 4) Mobility

I would still advice you on purchasing a laptop. Something like the Boxx SLM. With this laptop you would still be able to replace components if something failed in the hardware. You just won't be able to do that with a SB or SP.

Re: Experiences with Surface Book?

Lenovo P40 Yoga seems pretty interesting too, especially with that Quadro GPU. But as the SB, it's still waiting for release in my country (Finland).

One laptop I am also considering is the Dell Precision 5510 with Quadro M1000M (2GB dedicated memory) and Intel Xeon processor. I think it would have higher power-per-buck-ratio than the Surface Book, but with decreased portability and battery life. But performance-wise, it would be tough to beat.

Re: Experiences with Surface Book?

And to Ryan, AFAIK, Solid Edge uses OpenGL like most other CAD programs. So Quadro would really shine in this case

Re: Experiences with Surface Book?

@RyanM obviously Solid Edge is not direcltly comparable to a game, but as a general comparison of graphics performance of 'with graphics card' vs. 'without graphics card' I think it's a fair comment.

Re: Experiences with Surface Book?

Hi Teemu,

I am currently using the Microsoft Surface book as my main computer to run Solid Edge ST8. Due to the work I do, I needed a portable platform to work from. When working with it as a workstation in my office I have a docking station plugged in and run a 27" Monitor.


The model I have is an i7 processor with the dedicated GPU.


Solid Edge nearly works with it. For some parts the graphics is OK but it is by no means perfect. PMI dimension (Just the numbers) disappear sometimes. Open a part form within an assembly and the graphics really slows down, movement is so slow. At odd times the surfaces disappear and either become invisible or turn into lines with triangles all over them.


The issues above are frequent and very random. Possibly due to the lack of memory. The image below shows the stats for the laptop.


Here is a classic example of the moody graphics. The first image is showing a highlighted face on a part. It shows how sometimes the graphics cannot handle the surfaces very well. The one after is after restarting Solid Edge and opening the assembly again and shows the face in the normal way.


Image 1


Image 2



As you can see, quite a difference. And at times the PMI dimensions values will disappear as mentioned above. All there is are the projection lines, the arrows and dots where the numbers should be. Clicking on the central dot will bring up the dialog box to change the value. It is a pain however. I managed to get it to repeat the dimension issue. See image below.



On a more positive side, updates are coming out thick and fast and some issues I had originally with the monitor have been fixed. But many issues still remain.


I hope that helps. If you can, you should wait.