When I was reviewing the last generation Intel Atom-based low-cost laptops and tablets there was one question that I got more than anything. “Can it run Minecraft?” The same question now applies to the Surface 3.
The answer, on devices like the HP Stream 11, Acer E11 and ASUS X205 wasn’t very positive. At low settings you could get 30 FPS but there was a lot of stuttering. The Atom X7 processor, as found on the Microsoft Surface 3 not only has improved Turbo Boost clockrates but also has an improved GPU. In 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited tests I’m seeing a 50% improvement (based on other people’s benchmarks) over the 2014 generation mid-range processors and have already indicated that this might be enough to take it into Minecraft territory and that’s been confirmed by Sean Ong in a YouTube video that he’s posted. You’ll also see some Steam and Steam In-Home network streaming action in the video. (Update: I just found out that Steam In-Home Streaming supports Quick Sync which is part of the Atom X7 platform.)
The Surface 3 is never going to be the ultimate gaming machine but with this video I can see potential for some low-end desktop gaming and of course, great support for all the Windows Store games and that’s really going to help convince the target audience.