Surface Pro 3: Fan and Heat

Take a look at the Surface Pro 3, really, take a look at it. What you are looking at is the best of Microsoft engineering as the tablet pushes boundaries of what a modern computer can truly be. Why do we say that? Well, previously, devices like this were shackled to the confines of an ARM based processor which meant lower performance but also less heat. What Microsoft has done is take the same type of form factor but shoved a workhorse processor under the hood; you can splurge for a Core i7 CPU.

The chassis retains the Surface design that we have seen previously. With a silver-matte style finish and angled edges, it’s 100% Surface DNA.  But where it starts to differ from previous devices, besides the size, is how Microsoft has vented the device. There is a small channel that runs around the top perimeter of the device that supports the fan that is inside.

The fan is a bit of black magic here. Typically, when you think of a fan, you think of a loud whirl, heat, and loss of battery life to support the mechanical apparatus. While we likely won’t ever know how much a power-draw the fan taxes the battery, we can talk about the other two items.

First off, you can hear the fan, sorry Microsoft. But, it’s on very rare occasions that you can hear it and for us, we only heard it when running 3D mark and during one instance of a Windows update reboot session. Even then, the fan was not as loud as you would think and only produced a modest hum, but alas, you can hear it.

Apart from those two isolated instances, the fan is the stealth bomber of cooling apparatuses. During the majority of our normal use, we never heard it nor did we feel hot air from any particular region of the device.

The internals of the Pro 3 are a serious leap in technology by including everything in such a compact chassis. Microsoft should be proud of what it has built. Even though it has a fan, because only the cool kids run fanless, or something, we would prefer to have increased performance instead of an under-clocked CPU.

But does the device get hot? That’s a fair question seeing that some ultrabooks can melt your thighs after using Photoshop for 10 minutes. So far, the Pro 3 has remained well within tolerable boundaries for heat. Does it get warm, certainly, hot? Not even once. We have never had the device get above a moderate level of warmth and that’s even when we would run benchmarks on it or perform other intensive tasks.

So, if you were thinking of using the Pro 3 to fry up some eggs on your next camping trip, we are sorry to say that this is not the heat-source for you.

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31 Comments

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Dont have a distinctive idea on how intel HD4400 performs. Is there a significant gap between this sucker and the iris, which is found in macbookpro?

Yes, as far as game benchmarks, there is a margin in which the 5100 would be slow but the 4400 would be unplayable. It is important to note though that the 5100 is able to output twice the heat, relative to the 4400, making it a far more difficult component to accommodate in the tablet form factor.

If it's built better than the Surface 2 Pro, it must be great! Now waiting for Microsoft to propose a real laptop with this build quality, and no more clunky laptops from manufacturers (some of them at least).

Every year Microsoft has a better product and apple keep iterating on the same thing. I really hope they come up with a good product otherwise they will become irrelevant.

trojan_market said,
Every year Microsoft has a better product and apple keep iterating on the same thing. I really hope they come up with a good product otherwise they will become irrelevant.

Apple "will 'becAme' irrelevant"...

trojan_market said,
Every year Microsoft has a better product and apple keep iterating on the same thing.

They certainly do. Microsoft are "innovators", not crApple. Just you watch, Apple will stick a Core i7 in the next iPad to play catch up as always, then claim they "invented" it.

Tidosho said,

They certainly do. Microsoft are "innovators", not crApple. Just you watch, Apple will stick a Core i7 in the next iPad to play catch up as always, then claim they "invented" it.

They are already doing that with the "continuity" bull**** considering that was Microsoft's vision all along.

Serious question, is it possible to connect an external GPU to it somehow? Like through that T... something port or whatever?

(I haven't read much into it.)

elenarie said,
Serious question, is it possible to connect an external GPU to it somehow? Like through that T... something port or whatever?

(I haven't read much into it.)


That would not make sense for this product.

elenarie said,
Serious question, is it possible to connect an external GPU to it somehow? Like through that T... something port or whatever?

(I haven't read much into it.)


It's been strongly hinted that SP3 has a Thunderbolt interface. That's all we know.

Jarrichvdv said,

That would not make sense for this product.

It would make perfect sense. It would immediately replace my ASUS G750JX.

Max Norris said,
That's Microsoft's narrow mindedness for you, some of us actually like eggs, even if it doesn't fit in with their vision.

The users should be given choice!

2 months later,
Introducing Surface Pro 4. As hot as you want it.

webeagle12 said,
Screw the eggs, can you cook bakon on it?

I second that. Eggs are messy and they would totally ruin SP3 sexy looks. Now bacon, bacon is totally sexy. Listen to us Microsoft!!!

What a bunch of idiots..why would you want to cook eggs or fry bacon on your laptop? that is total waste of good heat. Think about it, all of that good heat can be used to make smores (cracker with melted marshmallow and chocolate) or make grilled cheese sandwiches or make popcorn with melted caramel. Clearly Microsoft is taking steps backwards and by caring about those that reuse lap top excessive heat. MSFT == Communists

red hook said,
Think about it, all of that good heat can be used to make smores (cracker with melted marshmallow and chocolate) or make grilled cheese sandwiches or make popcorn with melted caramel.

I think you just hit on a spiffy new type cover idea.. keyboard on one side, little racks to mount food on the other, maybe a bigger deluxe version that has a little rotisserie motor on it, on one side there's a loop for the stylus, on the other side is a loop for a temperature probe. Damn, you should patent that quick. Would obviously require unauthorized mods to get the heat going though.

webeagle12 said,
Screw the eggs, can you cook bakon on it?

a) Eggs are "fertilized", not screwed
b) Only somebody who's never had bacon would actually spell it "bakon". Admit it, you're a vegetarian.

What about those of us in colder climates who need a warming pad? Microsoft is clearly not thinking inclusively again.

pratnala said,

2 months later,
Introducing Surface Pro 4. As hot as you want it.

Yeah, but in the U.S. only. People in other countries eat eggs too, MS!