Microsoft has quietly upgraded the Surface Pro 2, with new hardware including faster processors being sent out to those who returned their Windows 8 tablets after the December firmware update debacle. Although Microsoft yanked the firmware package before every Surface Pro 2 user could upgrade it, some owners sent back their tablets for replacement, only to find, WinBeta reports, that the hardware returned had a newer generation of Intel Core i5 processor inside.
According to some owner reports from the official Microsoft support forum, whereas the original Surface Pro 2 used Intel's Core i5 4200U, the new version switches that to the Core i5 4300U. The 4200U runs at 1.6GHz, whereas the 4300U runs at 1.9GHz, or up to 2.5GHz when in Turbo Boost state.
Other differences include a slight increase in graphics clock speed, which jumps 100MHz to 1.1GHz.
Microsoft confirmed the changes, which it described as par for the course for the lifespan of a hardware product. That can be based on shifts in the supply chain, availability of specific components, and "value for our customers" the company explained.
Whether users will actually notice much difference from the new processor remains to be seen. The main improvement Surface Pro 2 owners have reported versus the first-gen Surface Pro hardware is an increase in battery life, though that's down to the switch to the more frugal Haswell architecture.
This isn't just good news for those who had trouble with the firmware update, of course. Microsoft will be sending out the tweaked Surface Pro 2 hardware to retailers, so if you buy one of the Windows tablets new there's a fair chance you'll get the updated CPU. Still MIA is the updated version of the firmware which Microsoft pulled last month.