Video: This is how loud the Surface Pro 3 fans can get

After we posted up our closer look at the fan and heat from the Surface Pro 3, we were asked to make a video of how loud the fans actually get when the Pro 3 is under max load. And not wanting to leave any stone unturned, we have done just that. 

Obviously, a video of fan noise is not the most exciting thing in the world, but it does indicate how loud the fans can get during unique circumstances. I say 'unique' because we never had the fans get this loud during normal operation and to make this video, we had to run 3D Mark to get the fans working at full throttle. So, the video in this post shows the Pro 3 running under normal load (no fan noise) and the fan speed at max. 

Using the microphone in our Lumia Icon, we were able capture a peak sound output of 56dB, for reference, a golf tee being dropped from 12 inches on to a hard surface is around 80dB and the shutter on my Canon DSLR is 70dB. So the fan noise is not that loud but it is certainly loud enough to hear when running at maximum speed. 

Our full review is nearly complete and will go up early next week where we have meticulously covered every aspect of Microsoft's latest Surface tablet.

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How much dB is it on a 'normal' level of use?
How much dB is it on full throttle?

And how much ambient noise in dB was there in the room?

Questions, questions.......

Not sure why MS would not look at the staggered fan blade design that Apple incorporated into their laptops to cut down on the noise. It really makes a difference when the sound is distributed over a range as opposed to a specific frequency like most standard fans.

Uhh...where did they get these measurements from?
Normal conversation from 3 feet away is around 60-65dB.
The "examples" they listed make no sense at all. Dropping a golf tee is certainly not 80dB...

The real question, and maybe this is what Astra.Xtreme meant, is *WHERE* were the measurements taken?
Sound level decreases exponentially with distance. Double the distance and the sound level decreases by a factor of 4, not 2.
If the instrument measuring the sound level is too far from the dropped golf tee, or from the Surface fan, the sound level in dB will be different. For proper comparison the distance should be the same between every measurement. Reverberation can slightly alter measurements as well when the recordings are done in a room.

bdsams said,
Since you think I am making numbers up, here you go:

The problem is that you don't seem to understand the application. coch, above, explained it pretty well. A lot of things sound loud due to material and resonant frequencies at close distances, but it's an unrealistic test.

What you've given us is unrealistic measurements that don't apply to a realistic application. As I explained above, normal conversation from 3 feet away is 60-65dB. So you're Surface measurement of 56dB would tell me that this thing gets pretty loud. But then you go on to say that a golf tee dropping is 80dB which is close to the loudness of a vacuum cleaner.

It's pretty easy to figure out that your testing is flawed... Measure the dB at a few feet away, which would be a realistic test.

Max Norris said,

So 99% of the time you'll never actually hear it.

Pretty much if they had to go to such extreme measures. Maybe if playing some graphics and CPU heavy games you might get to hear it but during normal use I doubt you'll even know there's a fan in there

I have a SP2. The only time I managed to hear the fan was when installing offce 365...a process got stuck and kept eating up ~50% cpu for a long time...Other than that, it is just as good as any tablet (except weight).

Thanks for the recording! That isn't as loud as the first gen Surface Pro on full power, the third gen will make me happy. :)

surface pro 2 is similar (I believe it is louder as it has two fans) and after using it as a desktop and laptop replacement, I've only heard it do this when I either do a firmware update or when I let it render an adobe CS HD video composition for a few hours.

the amazing thing is that my core i7 laptop is louder than my surface at all times even when doing nothing.

techbeck said,
Fans are wayyy to loud....

What? You are kidding me right? you missed the sarcasm right? or let me guess you are on the anti-Microsoft wagon...

I was being sarcastic. Why there were three dots at the end of my sentence. I didnt think I had to put the /s tag at the end since you cannot really hear the fan in the video. But I will next time for devout MS fans.

techbeck said,
Why there were three dots at the end of my sentence.

Oh yes, the universal indicator of sarcasm... Not.

Seriously though, I thought three dots was an indication of a sentence being ended early, or a dramatic pause. For me /s is the universal sarcasm indicator.

If people cannot get my sarcasm when it was obvious given the fact that you cannot really hear the fan in the video, that is their own problem.

Or is it the fact that you cannot kid about a certain company without someone getting annoyed?

... normally means the convo isnt over and there is more to say. I have seen it for other purposes as well. But again, it was obvious I was being sarcastic but will make sure to put /s I guess.

I think a proper test of the fan noise would have been to put the mic where the average person's ears would be. Not on the table right next to the vent. Unless people are using their tablets while being passed out on the table.