Is the Microsoft Surface Pro a Good Gaming PC?

At LockerGnome.net, rKiller writes:

Can the new Microsoft Surface Pro run high-end games? I know (as I have seen in my friend’s house) that the Surface Pro can run Batman Arkham City quite smoothly. I was wondering if the Surface Pro is worth buying when it comes purely to local PC gaming, and I would also like to know what type of battery life I should expect while running heavy games like Mafia 2 or GTA 4.

Is the Microsoft Surface Pro a Good Gaming PC?This is a good question, and one with an answer that depends entirely on what you plan to run with it and how high your expectations really are. The Surface Pro is built to run Windows apps (the new style that utilizes the Modern UI) very smoothly with plenty of extra room for productivity programs that utilize the traditional desktop.

The Microsoft Surface Pro is an Ultrabook by all reasonable measurements. It runs a modern generation Core i5 processor and has plenty of zip behind it. In fact, the Surface Pro has beat expectations in a number of benchmarks including being able to play modern games like Diablo III at near-maximum settings. That’s quite an accomplishment for a “tablet.”

Is it worth buying as a primary gaming rig, though? That is a story yet to be told. Dedicated gaming machines put off a lot of heat, and there hasn’t been enough time to determine if constant, high-intensity usage has any significant impact on the long-term reliability of the device. Even some of the best-cooled desktop PCs have issues over time brought on by some of the latest and greatest games.

Another concern for some gamers would be the 4 GB of RAM. While most games might not hit the limits that 4 GB sets, there are some legitimate concerns for users wanting to do things like record footage in FRAPS or some other resource-hungry background process.

Storage is also an issue. You only get so much storage space on the Pro itself. It won’t be long before you’re either uninstalling games to make room or resorting to an external storage device.

Battery life is a downside of the Surface Pro. With optimal usage, you’re looking at around four hours before an outlet is required. With intensive gaming, that battery life will likely drop to somewhere between one and two hours.

The touch keyboard might also take a bit of getting used to. A mistype can kill you in most games, and I’ve come across a few of them during my initial review.

You’re probably better off going for an actual gaming laptop or a higher-end Ultrabook if you really want to make the most of your Windows experience. The Surface Pro is a decent buy for a lot of reasons, but the virtues of its surprisingly good gaming performance are for the individual user to determine.

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Chris has consistently expressed his convictions and visions outright, supplying practical information to targeted audiences: media agencies, business owners, technology consumers, software and hardware professionals, et al. He remains a passionate personality in the tech community-at-large. He's a geek.