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Microsoft keeps Surface Book benchmarks close to its chest

The new baby in Microsoft's Surface family is the Surface Book. The convertible device has a striking look (opens in new tab), as well as a striking price (opens in new tab) - particularly if you opt for the newly announced 1TB model - but Microsoft has been keen to promote performance.

At launch, the claim was made that the Surface Book is twice as powerful as a MacBook Pro. When the $3,199 1TB model was announced (opens in new tab), Microsoft repeated the claim. Being quite a fan of evidence, I was intrigued by the fact that the claims were not being backed up with raw data from benchmarks. I asked Microsoft for more details, and found the company to be really quite cagey (and repetitive) in what it had to say.

The claim made last month was that the Surface Book is 'twice as powerful', but what does this actually mean? Is 'powerful' synonymous with 'fast'? I'm not someone who will take a claim at face value, and to suggest that your new system has double the power of a competitor is a very bold claim. I need figures to back this up. So I asked outright: "Have the benchmark results been published so they can be scrutinised?"

Rather than getting a personal response to very specific questions, I was instead treated to yet another repetition of the same stock quote:

"Our validated performance claims are for the Microsoft Surface Book with an Intel Core i7 with 16GB RAM and custom discrete Nvidia GeForce GPU against the MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina display with an Intel Core i7 with 16GB RAM. We used third-party benchmarks to test the best available Surface Book against the best available 13-inch MacBook Pro."

It's strange that Microsoft is being so closed about this claim. If it is true, it's certainly something worth shouting about - but we need more information. The performance claims have, apparently, been 'validated'. By whom? We're told that 'third-party benchmarks' were conducted. Which ones?

But more importantly, where is the data? Microsoft is asking for a substantial amount of money for the Surface Book. It's just not good enough to expect people to just accept what's said without questioning it.