Microsoft is reportedly working on low-cost variants of its Surface line.
Dubbed Surface ‘Lite,’ according to WinFuture, Microsoft will price the device to compete with Apple’s cheaper iPads and Google’s Chromebooks.
Additionally, the device will maintain the Surface Pro’s 3:2 screen ratio. However the Surface Lite will allegedly sport a 10-inch screen, smaller than the Surface’s 10.8-inch and the Pro’s 12.3-inch.
Part of the pricing model also means a low-cost stylus and Surface Type cover too. These accessories are key to the Surface model and as such budget options to match a low-cost Surface makes sense.
WinFuture also reports that the device will have two models sporting one of three Intel processors.
The base tier model will likely utilize the Intel Pentium Silver N5000. That system-on-a-chip features four cores at 1.1 GHz base clock. The N5000 also features a burst clock — the maximum single-core speed a processor can run at — of 2.7 GHz. The processor is from the Gemini Lake family.
More expensive models of the Surface Lite may feature either the Intel Pentium Gold 4410Y or 4415Y. Both of these are Kaby Lake processors.
The 4410Y has two cores and operates at 1.5 GHz. Despite having less cores, the 4410Y is more powerful than the N5000 due to the Kaby Lake architecture.
Furthermore, the 4415Y is a slightly faster version of the 4410Y, running at 1.6 GHz.
Beyond that, the two chips are fairly similar. Both sport a thermal design power (TDP) of 6 watts. TDP is a measure of how much heat is dissipated by the cooling system when the processor is at base clock with all cores active. To put that in perspective, desktop class CPUs often have much higher TDPs.
For example, a computer I built recently utilizes a CPU with a 65 watt TDP. Granted the CPU’s clock is a little more than double the 4415Y, but those gains come at ten times the TDP.
Ultimately these chips are quite powerful for the amount of energy they use.
Beyond just high speed for low-energy, the chips reportedly incorporate LTE. According to WinFuture, this Geekbench report for a device labeled OEMTV EV1 is likely a test of the Surface Lite. However, the Geekbench listing is from January.
Recebtky an FCC filing revealed that a 10-inch Surface device passed certification in the U.S. This could mean Microsoft plans to announce the device soon, potentially as a back-to-school option for students.