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Surface Book Adds Lower-Cost Discrete Graphics Option

Microsoft has made it easier for gamers to afford its new Surface Book while still enjoying the power afforded by a discrete graphics card. You now have the option to add Nvidia GeForce graphics to the $1,499 base model of the 2-in-1 device for an extra $200. Previously, you would have had to buy the $1,899 Surface Book to get a notebook with the same graphics card.

The new $1,699 model doesn't offer as much storage as the $1,899 Surface Book: It has a 128GB SSD instead of the 256GB you get from the higher-priced configuration. But this new configuration should appeal to those with plenty of external or cloud storage. Microsoft will continue to sell a $1,699 Surface Book with 256GB of storage but with integrated Intel HD Graphics, for those who prioritize internal storage.

MORE: Surface Book: Full Review

Giving would-be Surface Book owners a lower-cost option that includes discrete graphics should broaden the appeal of Microsoft's new laptop. More importantly, it draws another distinction with Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro, which seems to be the Surface Book's main rival.

As we noted when we compared the Surface Book to the MacBook Pro, the entry-level models of both notebooks have similar specs, but the Apple laptop does have a lower starting price of $1,299. What the 13-inch MacBook Pro doesn't offer, however, is discrete graphics -- it's got an integrated Intel Iris Graphics 6100 GPU. To get a MacBook Pro with discrete graphics, you'd have to buy a 15-inch model, with only the high-end $2,499 configuration offering a discrete AMD Radeon GPU. 

After graduating from Bard College a B.A. in Literature, Henry T. Casey worked in publishing and product development at Rizzoli and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, respectively. Henry joined Tom's Guide and LAPTOP having written for The Content Strategist, Tech Radar and Patek Philippe International Magazine. He divides his free time between going to live concerts, listening to too many podcasts, and mastering his cold brew coffee process. Content rules everything around him.