Surface Pro 3 Throttling Solution?

Hi! I received my surface pro 3 about 2 weeks ago and so far my experience has been great while surfing the internet, personalizing it to my needs, watching videos, and writing with the stylus.

 

 I have seen how the surface one and surface pro 2 can handle games on the lowest settings and was very impressed and encouraged to buy the SP3 for light gaming when I have free time and am not using it for work.  However, I am a little disappointed with how the performance on the SP3 drastically drops to less than 1Ghz about 3-5 minutes after I start playing any game or even a less intensive game like Dota 2, Portal, or the newer version of GTA San Andreas (a 2005 GAME) which I bought this week from the Windows Store.  Most of the games I have tried start at 30-60 frames per second but as the heat starts building up, the frame rates drop to 10-15 frames due to throttling... This DOES NOT happen with the surface pro or pro 2 and most people play high end games at 30 frames per second on low settings for long periods even with throttling. I am not able to do that on my surface pro 3... Why? Why is there so much "power" that you can only use for a short time?... Did I just spend $1400 for much less performance than a Surface pro 2?...

I hope that this can be fixed in some way very soon. I really love the surface pro 3 and don't want to return it. But when I play a 2005 game like GTA San Andreas which was ported for smartphones and tablets and the frames drop below 25 after a while... it really gets me thinking...

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On Mon, 4 Aug 2014 11:57:19 +0000, Cothek wrote:
 
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Another update after a few workdays with my i7 SP3.

I am now 99% sure that the thermal throttling has nothing to do with the hardware or the airflow and is all in the drivers with the graphics chip. Today I compressed a 30GB virtual machine using 7zip and using all 4 logical cores. It took over an hour with the processor pegged between 93 and 100% load. Throughout the whole hour, not once did the surface drop below 2.1GHz, mostly sitting around 2.2GHz at 80 degrees Celsius. The surface pro 3 is perfectly capable of maintaining high speeds and acceptable temperatures for long periods of time, I have only observed throttling when something graphical (aka a video game) is also in play, using the Intel graphics 5000 as well. I will try to run some sort of graphical stress test to confirm this, but from a compression stress test, purely processor, the surface performs perfectly.

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Hello,

I have an issue with my Surface Pro. Whenever I play a game or run a benchmark, CPU works well for the first 20 minutes and then drops to 0.8Ghz frequency. Surface is connected to power (not running on battery), and for example, when I was playing a game it didn't get hotter than 75c but after about 20 minutes frequency on CPU dropped to 0.8Ghz and game was not playable after that. This happens both on balanced and high power plan (hyper-v enabled). Is there a work around for this because what is the point of having i7 processor if it is going to be running at 0.8Ghz speed only after 20 minutes of load, which by the way was only about 60% at 2.49Ghz.

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Omg dude... why haven't I found this forum before.... look at my reddit...

http://www.reddit.com/r/Surface/comments/2d0cme/surface_pro_3_i7_cpu_drops_to_08ghz/

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So it begins to throttle even at ipad level games? I can edit on my ipad for extended periods of time, would you say the surface pro 3 can do that(are there some simple video editing apps on the window store to decrease the usage of the CPU)? Im on the fence of getting it or not for college and little YouTube projects. But if it throttles even while playing gta (also on the App Store - using an ipad 2 its playable) then i dont think this can really be called a laptop replacement. I really want to buy one because of the not taking capabilities. To hear it throttle just on a game from its store is crazy. Would it throttle on something like clash of clans if it was on there? I also read somewhere that placing a fan close by the ventilation areas improves its performances by a lot. 

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It doesn't have much to do with the processor temps as much as it does with the temperature of the body of the Surface. Because it only has one fan instead of the two the surface pro 2 and 1 had, it can't dispel heat to keep the magnesium casing cool as well. Adding an extra fan to cool down the casing kind of helps undo that to some extent. Editing video is kind of a grey area in the throttling, you're not constantly making changes that the CPU has to processes like you would be in a video game, so the fan has some time to cool down the casing in-between re-renderings. However, speeding up this process and telling it to re-render constantly would probably invoke throttling. Think of it this way, the casing of the Surface Pro 3 takes time to cool down and warm up, and after it hits "hot enough" by the surface's standards it will throttle to stop you from burning your hands if you are holding it, even if you don't happen to be holding it. When you are processing lots of graphical data, the case temperature goes up. When you stop processing graphically at a high level, the case starts to cool. Whether you hit the throttling or not is depending on how that balances out for whatever you happen to be doing.

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So it looks like my issue has been sort of resolved. New unit I got at Microsoft store on Saturday doesn't throttle to 0.8ghz. The lowest I seen it run during my emulator game was between 1.6-1.8 which is acceptable.

Now, did I get a defective unit or not... the thing I noticed which I didn't check on the old unit is that it was very hard to install July 16th firmware update. It kept failing and didn't give me a chance to reinstall it again. I finally got it to work by factory resetting my device and installing only the firmware without any other updates. I wonder if I had the same issue with my old unit and just didn't notice, so the latest firmware might have not been installed on my old unit.

It is definitely working better now.

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Hi! I received my surface pro 3 about 2 weeks ago and so far my experience has been great while surfing the internet, personalizing it to my needs, watching videos, and writing with the stylus.

 I have seen how the surface one and surface pro 2 can handle games on the lowest settings and was very impressed and encouraged to buy the SP3 for light gaming when I have free time and am not using it for work.  However, I am a little disappointed with how the performance on the SP3 drastically drops to less than 1Ghz about 3-5 minutes after I start playing any game or even a less intensive game like Dota 2, Portal, or the newer version of GTA San Andreas (a 2005 GAME) which I bought this week from the Windows Store.  Most of the games I have tried start at 30-60 frames per second but as the heat starts building up, the frame rates drop to 10-15 frames due to throttling... This DOES NOT happen with the surface pro or pro 2 and most people play high end games at 30 frames per second on low settings for long periods even with throttling. I am not able to do that on my surface pro 3... Why? Why is there so much "power" that you can only use for a short time?... Did I just spend $1400 for much less performance than a Surface pro 2?...

I hope that this can be fixed in some way very soon. I really love the surface pro 3 and don't want to return it. But when I play a 2005 game like GTA San Andreas which was ported for smartphones and tablets and the frames drop below 25 after a while... it really gets me thinking...

You may want to change the level of throttling following these instructions:

http://www.surfaceforums.net/threads/any-tips-to-reduce-or-prevent-the-fan-from-starting-up.10474/#post-76657

Frank J Garcia (ctitanic)
Surface MVP
http://www.ultramobilepc-tips.com

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Hi! I received my surface pro 3 about 2 weeks ago and so far my experience has been great while surfing the internet, personalizing it to my needs, watching videos, and writing with the stylus.

 I have seen how the surface one and surface pro 2 can handle games on the lowest settings and was very impressed and encouraged to buy the SP3 for light gaming when I have free time and am not using it for work.  However, I am a little disappointed with how the performance on the SP3 drastically drops to less than 1Ghz about 3-5 minutes after I start playing any game or even a less intensive game like Dota 2, Portal, or the newer version of GTA San Andreas (a 2005 GAME) which I bought this week from the Windows Store.  Most of the games I have tried start at 30-60 frames per second but as the heat starts building up, the frame rates drop to 10-15 frames due to throttling... This DOES NOT happen with the surface pro or pro 2 and most people play high end games at 30 frames per second on low settings for long periods even with throttling. I am not able to do that on my surface pro 3... Why? Why is there so much "power" that you can only use for a short time?... Did I just spend $1400 for much less performance than a Surface pro 2?...

I hope that this can be fixed in some way very soon. I really love the surface pro 3 and don't want to return it. But when I play a 2005 game like GTA San Andreas which was ported for smartphones and tablets and the frames drop below 25 after a while... it really gets me thinking...

You may want to try to change the level of throttling

http://www.surfaceforums.net/threads/any-tips-to-reduce-or-prevent-the-fan-from-starting-up.10474/#post-76657

Frank J Garcia (ctitanic)
Surface MVP
http://www.ultramobilepc-tips.com

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Hello,

I have an issue with my Surface Pro. Whenever I play a game or run a benchmark, CPU works well for the first 20 minutes and then drops to 0.8Ghz frequency. Surface is connected to power (not running on battery), and for example, when I was playing a game it didn't get hotter than 75c but after about 20 minutes frequency on CPU dropped to 0.8Ghz and game was not playable after that. This happens both on balanced and high power plan (hyper-v enabled). Is there a work around for this because what is the point of having i7 processor if it is going to be running at 0.8Ghz speed only after 20 minutes of load, which by the way was only about 60% at 2.49Ghz.

Just giving an update after I ran more tests on my i7 Surface Pro 3. The USB fan workaround is not a joke. However, it works so well you may find yourself laughing anyway. I ran a furmark graphics torture benchmark for 10 minutes and around 4 minutes in I saw the cpu get pegged to 800MHz as usual. Point my $8 Arctic Breeze usb fan at the top right corner and within 10 seconds it went back to 2.0GHz. Indefinitely. With the fan pointed at the corner the CPU gets up to mid 80C without throttling. My gut is telling me that somehow this little fan is cooling the temperature sensor that is cueing the throttling directly due to how fast the Surface stops throttling after the fan is added. The thing is too small to actually cool down the metal of the Surface that fast, but it works hilariously well. It does move a good amount of air though, so after a couple minutes the Surface's internal fan actually spins down a bit and the back is cooler to the touch even while running the torture test. In synthetic Furmark benchmarks I am seeing a difference of 2668 points without the fan and 3553 points with it.

This is the fan I am talking about: http://www.amazon.com/ARCTIC-USB-Powered-Portable-Cooling-Solution/dp/B003XN24GY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408860969&sr=8-1&keywords=arctic+breeze

It does take the only USB port which is fine if you're using bluetooth connections, but I actually had the Arctic Breeze Pro just laying around as well which is the same thing except has a built in 4 port USB hub at the bottom. It works just as well at stopping the throttling.

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Last updated March 13, 2021 Views 17,588 Applies to: