At launch the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 garnered praise for it's battery life and performance without fundamentally changing its form factor, weight, or other characteristics. Microsoft just gave a last holiday gift to customers, with a CPU upgrade to a Core i5-4300U from the Core i5-4200U. That 100-point differential may not seem like much, but trust me it is. The Core i5-4200U is a 1.6GHz base and 2.6GHz Turbo chip, while the Core i5-4300U runs at 1.9GHz base and 2.9GHz Turbo — an increase of 19% at the low end and a still significant 11.5% in Turbo mode. The chip also clocks its GPU 100MHz higher, which should deliver an improvement of 5-7% in gaming applications (clock rate improvements rarely scale linearly). The Core i5-4300U also supports advanced virtualization functions like Intel’s vPro and VT-d. It includes support for Haswell’s transaction synchronization extensions (TSX), where the Core i5-4200U lacked it. It’s covered by Intel’s Stable Platform Program, which means the chip manufacturer guarantees drivers and support for 15 months. These changes make for a far more powerful and much better consumer value than the previous model. If you had been contemplating a Surface Pro 2, this is the time to get one.