Graphics Comparison

For at look at graphics performance, we are comparing the Surface Book 2 to the Acer Swift 3 with MX150 graphics. The MX150 is NVIDIA's entry-level discrete GPU option for notebooks and is one step below the GTX 1050 found in the Surface Book 2.

While we also planned to run these slightly updated gaming workloads on our AMD Ryzen 5 2500U-powered HP Envy x360, we ran into some issues with our Windows 10 install on that notebook. Regardless, if you look back at our Raven Ridge Mobile performance article, you can see that the NVIDIA MX150 graphics came out on top by a significant margin in most scenarios.

We tested the following game titles at these associated settings:

  • Dirt Rally
    • 1920×1080
    • High Settings, 4X AA
  • Far Cry 5
    • 1920×1080
    • Low Settings
  • Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation
    • 1920×1080
    • Low Settings
    • DX 12 Mode
  • Doom (2016)
    • 1920×1080
    • Vulkan API
    • Medium Settings, FXAA

The NVIDIA GTX 1050 graphics in the Surface Book 2 provide a large performance benefit over the MX150 graphics found in the Acer Swift 3. The Surface Book 2 is able to game above 30FPS at 1080p on several modern demanding titles like Farcry 5 and Doom, albeit at lower quality settings.

Stepping down from 1080p to a resolution like 1600×900 should give the additional headroom needed to crank up the image quality settings on most titles.

Thermal Performance

Being a notebook, the effectiveness of the thermal design can have a significant impact on sustained gaming sessions. As we did in our ASUS ROG Zephyrus review, we decided to test gaming performance over a 45-minute gaming session with Dirt Rally.

Here we can see, that even after 45 minutes of running a consistent gaming workload in Dirt Rally, the Surface Book 2 manages to still maintain the same levels of performance as the first benchmark run.

In addition, we decided to take a thermal image of the Surface Book 2 after it had been gaming for 45 minutes.

Despite being under a constant gaming workload for 45 minutes, the Surface Book 2 held up remarkably well in the thermal department, only hitting around 45 degrees Celsius at the warmest spot. 

On the sound level, however, the Surface Book 2's were quite loud while gaming, 43.8 dB. Compared to 34.3dB under idle conditions, the Surface Book 2 sounds like a hair dryer when the GPU is under heavy load. 

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