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Many Surface Pro 3 Intel i7 owners report their tablet is overheating

Surface pro 3

A number of Surface Pro 3 owners who choose to buy the version of the 12-inch tablet with Intel's i7 processor inside have been reporting major overheating problems with Microsoft's product since the i7 version started shipping in early August.

A massive forum thread on the Microsoft Answers message board is devoted to the issue. One user, "Jarem" claims that he is now on his fourth Surface Pro 3 Intel i7 tablet unit. He described what happened with the other three versions: "... the back of the unit becomes uncomfortably hot and its fan spins very loudly on idle and while performing minor tasks such as web browsing (even sites without flash or heavy ad use)."

Some of those same tablets actually shut down, with the screen displaying a high temperature icon to show that the unit won't go back online until it stops overheating. One recent post on the Microsoft Answers forum comes from "DarrellGarrison" who had his first Surface Pro 3 i7 tablet overheat on him. He got a replacement but posted, "As soon as I had it up and running, the back got extremely hot, and the fan was going nuts. What was I doing? Running a YouTube video as a test. Same issues as my current unit."

Another person, "Brad Groux", reports that he bought four Surface Pro 3 512GB Intel i7 tablets on its launch date, August 1, from the Microsoft Store in Houston. He says that three out of the four units have had the overheating issue.

Not everyone on this message board thread have had the same experience, and our own Editor-in-Chief Daniel Rubino recently offered his thoughts on the same i7 version, saying, "Sure, it can get warm with the occasional graphic-intensive game, but nothing out of the ordinary."

It's possible that this overheating issue is just with one shipment batch of the Surface Pro 3 i7 tablet. However, there are certainly plenty of reported incidents to suggest that this is affecting more than a few owners. We plan to contact Microsoft to see if they wish to comment on these reports. If you own a Surface Pro 3 with an Intel i7 processor, have you experiences issues with the tablet overheating and shutting down to cool off?

Source: Microsoft Answers via Neowin

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Reader comments

Many Surface Pro 3 Intel i7 owners report their tablet is overheating

156 Comments

Well the windows phone cant coop properly with those comment boxes. Couldn't be bothered to delete the text again just because of the c

Uhh, yeah,MS has really been getting to things "soon." MS throws an update, with no change log to appear as if they are on top of things.

Oh yeah. The Verge will love getting together a Microsoft hate bandwagon.

To be fair though, it is disappointing. I have a Surface Pro 3 myself and while it's not the i7 version, it wasn't cheap. I paid a nice little chunk for that 256GB i5 SP3 and it's fans go crazy just off low resource tasks like browsing the web.

Surface Pro 2 didn't have this problem... I played L4D2 without getting anywhere near as hot as the SP3 gets off basic tasks and regardless of how irrational and educated the hate towards Windows 8, Windows Phone and Xbox One is, it still puts Microsoft in a spot where their screw-ups become big news real fast... they really should be getting a grasp on quality control.

I have the same sp3 as you and np problems except for some apps running ridiculously hot. However that was up to bad coding - not hardware. After an update the app... All was well. Running great!

i have the i5 but the fan does come on when i browse the web .. i find that to be wierd seeing as my rt and pther devices run without any fan

Doubtful. The fan runs to stop the heat, so the other devices (specially the RT) would get hot because the RT doesn't have a fan to protect the RT from getting hot because of the badly coded sites.

Posted via Windows Phone Central App

Had the same issue on my i5 model initially. Shut itself off and displayed the temp problem. Have never had the issue again. That was literally when i first booted it up and it was auto installing all my apps.

That the model I want to get eventually. I'm holding out until the next iteration launches though. I can't afford it currently and the price will undoubtedly drop.

I wanted to chalk it up to that too, but it's still doing crap like that on my SP3... and I've had it since launch...

That's almost 2000 dollars they are getting per tablet with an i7 in it. Why wouldnt they sell it?

Posted via Windows Phone Central App

That's what I'm thinking too.., though seriously, a Portable Hybrid/Tablet shouldn't have fans... It's bound to have problem one day... (as my Vaio Multiflip now is), with how they're handled.

It has to have a fan or all the SPs would overheat always. It's cuz of the processor. The surface pros have a long slit so it doesn't matter how you hold it. It will get air out and in.

I had the i5 version and noticed the same thing...i later exchanged it for the i7 version and have not had this issue fortunately. But I haven't noticed the fan will kick in more than the i5 version...but I'm not complaining or really care.

Actually, it's more to do with INTEL, no? I have one of those garbage HP OMNI 10 with an Intel Atom and that can run a bit hot at times... That said my Surface 2 with Windows RT on ARM doesn't have any of those legacy issues. U_U

It's practically the same size when you factor the thickness of the separate screen on the MBA. I think this is just a manufacturing flaw. One could only assume MS did hardware testing with the i7 before finalizing the hardware. If this was common issue, they would have altered the design before releasing it.

According to the two sites, apple.com and the Microsoft store, the MBA is .68 inches at its thickest, as it tapers off when the SP3 doesn't while the SP3 is .36 inches all around. A whole .42 inches might not seem like much, but it is.

How much thickness do you think the screen adds? I have one, a 2012 model, and I'd say less than .1 inch. That still is a third of an inch between the two models.

Oh boy. Should have held back shipments longer it seems. Being late sucks, but a problem like this is worse.

Manufacturing defects affect all kinds of hardware alike. They obviously would have held back shipments if they knew about this.

Exactly, it's ridiculous to think they would have launched this product with a known overheating issue. More than likely this is just a defect in some devices.

Is that what they told you?...
........
They don't know $hit other than what some script tells them to rebuttal.

Yeah, we know that, but as far as technical support suggesting that the next update will definitely fix the issue... Grain of salt.. That's just their general cookie cutter awnswer.

I have the i5 and have considered selling and moving up to the i7...I think I'm going to hold off on that maybe until the second batch. My i5 does get warm and the fan does kick in but it's never shut itself off.

Wow, the comments section so far is very gloom and doom. I'm sure they will figure out something and fix the problem.

That's the problem, MS has been so slow, they held this model back as it was, and seem to have trouble with all models of tech this year:
1520 touch /tap
930 shit release
Sp3 well yeah
Xbone1 needed multiple updates

We get the point

Test how? Every part with a unique serial number, and Download every app in every configuration? Run it also through every use of YouTube on app open, 3x3 set of pixels being blue?

You can only test so far.....a bug will pop up...everything has bugs. This COULD be one....maybe fixable via update...maybe not for said machines with said part...for unknown issue.

Dont they test anything??? Is not a valid thing to argue....because....well.....physics when it gets down to it.

Wow, people will defend MS NO MATTER WHAT! Bottom line is people spending that kind of money have a right to expect it to work properly. I like MS & WP too but there's no denying that they have a poor corporate culture (from too many yrs of monopoly!) and they let WAY too many things, whether hardware or software, get "out the door" with unacceptable defects!!!

It's not so much defending microsoft as is defending tech. I don't care what company makes it or how much it costs. Tech can not be tested in every minute detail. I will agree that they should have updated firmware before release if they knew about it. Every company in tech has had a heating problem. Microsoft apple and google are nothing special.

What do you think? of curse they test hardware, but they can't test any device on all places and all conditions. It is a common thing for electronic devices, I guess you are new to this.

Yeah I have a hard time believing that it can heat up during internet explorer and picture viewing and no one on the QA team had anything to say.

These were day one problems and they're still happening months later.

I ordered my SP3/i5 from USA to Croatia and I pray all will be OK with my device. These kind of problems scare the shit out of me!

That's a long flight..advice my frnd, put it directly into the freezer as soon as u receive it...chill out for an hour or so and thn use it

My grandmother put her iPad in the freezer when she got it in the mail. She thought it was food...haha.

Well, fortunately I haven't had any kind of problem with the i5 version yet. I've heard the fans, sure, but neither did the tablet overheat nor did the fans had to work more intensively for long.

Let us hope it keeps that way...

Wow, how's that Microsoft manufactured device working out for you?  OK, I guess.    And I remember you saying you did not trust and would not buy devices that MS was the OEM for.  So what's next, a Microsoft Mobile Oy phone?

Working fine at least for now. Then again, so did the original Surface up until 6 months.

By the way, I got the SP3 because, since I was at Redmond, I might as well take advantage of the $100 discount I was given along with taking advantage of the exchange rates between dollars and euros which means I paid 700€ for the i5 SP3, something that in Europe would cost me over 1000€.

But I'm expecting the SP3 to give me problems at some point. That's why I wrote "yet".

 

And no, I'm not buying any Microsoft Mobile device. I won't use them even if I'm offered one. That's set in stone. I'm only staying with WP if Sony releases a Z3 Compact with WP like HTC released the One. Otherwise, I'm switching to Android this fall.

He's a Microsoft "closet" fanboy. He'll just never admit it. I mean c'mon..really..you gonna stay with WP only if Sony releases a WP, when surely all their resources will be used on Android. SMH, makes no sense to me.

Oh god that's good.   That's hilarious!!!!

DJCBS, don't worry.  There's no need to hide your inclinations, we're here to support you...

If you're willing to buy a Surface then why not buy a MM Oy phone?   It's Microsoft like the Surface but leavened with Nokia engineers and such.

My i7 Surface Pro 3 over heated during the initial setup but since it updated to the latest firmware update it's been fine.

I have the i7..... You have to upgrade the firmware through windows update. The people having these issues probably never updated the OS, or installed the updated firmware. Mine got really hot in its initial setup, since updating, it's not nearly as bad, unless of course you are trying to do something very GPU intensive, like gaming..... Which, any mobile device will get hot doing, including Ipads and Android tablets.

When I sit in my home office that's 31° C (88° F) in August playing STO with the graphics settings cranked up, it definitely heats up. Using the free app "CoreTemp" to monitor the CPU, although it gets hot, it has always stayed below the critical temperature, which according to Intel is 100° C. Of course, there may be other components inside the Surface that aren't designed for that high of a temperature. I wish someone would invent a snap-on external cooling system for the Surface Pro 3 for goofs like me who love to game on the poor thing (What? It's designed for business use? Interesting.). So, Kickstarter anyone...?

Next... Waiting for thresh old, beta registration & testing. Can't trust the hardware, can't trust the software (Windows 8.x.x on taichi 31)!

As many of you may already know, Surface Pro 2 has a better cooling system than SP3, and that's the main reason of the less throtling of SP2 than 3. MS should have test the new fan system imho.

Your right, MS should have tested the fan, holy hell mother fucker, I bet they never, ever considered a computer might get hot, cause computers never ever have, have they?

I can't believe some of the comments here. As if all Apple or any other hardware manufacturer's products were always flawless.... Some people should be given a couple million dollar budget to try to release a device like this themselves and see if they'd do better than any other hardware manufacturer. That said, I hope Microsoft can get this fixed. The Surface Pro 3 i7 is really high end, people spending that much on a device probably won't have the patience to wait too long (and rightfully so).

I have a SP3 i7 512GB, the day I bought it, the temperature was like 80 degrees fahrenheit in our apartment. So yes the SP3 did give me the temperature shutdown thing. However since then I haven't had this issue. But I do have an issue related to the Wireless going to limited connection everytime it resumes from sleep/shutdown and I have to turn airplane mode on and off to resolve the issue. I am using the Wireless AC protocol though in our place.

I have the i7 version and have not had any overheating issues.  My only issue is the wifi one, which has been atrocious and has limited my SP3 to its dock unfortunatley.  I hope they fix it soon.

I just bought the $999 model SP3 with 128gb Core i5, and it displayed the overheating temperature icon during my first day of use and all I was doing was browsing the internet and watching YouTube videos at the same time.

Ever since then though, it hasn't done it. But the back does get hot and the fan kicks in everytime I use it. I still love my SP3 though!

I have the i7...it gets quite warm on desktop games for sure...Half Life.2 Lost Coast got about 85C and MHz got below 800MHz but didn't notice any lost performance nor did I overheat...

 

The only thing the SP3 seems to get right is its form factor but it comes with cost such as temps like this and losing a few things (no panorama in the camera).

My i7 gets warm, but it hasn't overheated. If you are having the Wi-Fi not working coming out of standby, you may have Hyper-V installed. You can disable Hyper-V support without uninstalling it to fix the issue. Then enable it when you need it.

Here from Colombia i have being using the SP3 for around 3 weeks in game and abobe design programs, and i have no problem with the fan or heating, my version is i7 256 gb =) i think i may be lucky, it will be imposible for me to change, and change.....

Hey, how did you get the product to Colombia? Where did you get it shipped from? I've been trying for days and no luck so far, need to find a way to get it here. I live in Bqilla. Thanks!

Not everyone has this problem. I can imagine they are playing games and they didn't install any updates. The first time you run it, it will sync onedrive data which will also be CPU intensive to compress / uncompress data.

Spent two weeks in the USA on family vacation late last month & purchased my SP3 i5. Now l've been back home in Jamaica and I'm experiencing no overheating issues. I'm in Love with my SP3!!!

 

Just a thought, but has anyone who has the over heating issue try adjusting the screen brightness? When I first purchased my SP 1, it use to over heat quite a bit. Then I realized that having the screen brightness up too high added to the overheating issue, especially if I was playing a game or watching a movie. This may help, until a firmware update comes out to fix the issue.

Just a thought.

Yes, when I turn off the tv after my son has been running it for a bit, I can feel the heat from a few inches away...sounds reasonable, I realize these are two different technologies, but its worth a try

I run at full brightness and have no issues. I just got my 512GB SP3 on Thursday from the Microsoft store online. As soon as I got it I ran all the SW and firmware updates. I have only heard the fans run a couple of times and I use PhotoShop and have watched a blu-ray from an external drive. The only time the fans ran for awhile (but barely audible) was when I was indexing and creating thumbnails for 205,000 pictures and the CPU was over 80% for hours. I had the surface on a desk so I don't know if it was hot but I doubt it since the fans weren't going fast.

I had the overheating shutdown once on my 256gb i7. But it only happened on the first couple days when it was updating the hell out if the machine. Its been amazing ever since. Even when editing and rendering HD video in Sony Vegas Pro 64. It gets quite warm playing Halo SA but nothing too alarming. But it sure did get hot initially when it was doing its initial setup and break in. Seeing the temp icon was no shocker to me, I've had so many things overheat on me, from cameras, flashes, cars, etc so if my computer overheats upon initial setup, its definitely not a sign to me to return it. And I was right, its totally stabilized and its been an amazing machine that I trust to run my business day in day out. Don't regret it at all.

I hate to be that guy, but this would not be a surprise. It's an i7. I'm not sure Microsoft should even be offering a SP3 with an i7, considering the thinness and the cooling fan is probably not enough.

Bottom line is that SP3 form factor appears built for Broadwell... Haswell runs too hot and throttles or overheats.

I bet it will be fixed with a firmware update. In all seriousness, this isn't the first time a product has overheating problems. I find that if not all surface pros have it then its not a hardware design flaw really. Sometimes its just not programmed right which will make the processor work extremely hard. That's all it is.

Heard people had the same problem with a Samsung phone... But it was placed under a pillow. SP 3 rocks BTW, Applites are just pissed that Apple didn't invent it. Not that Apple really invents anything... Ie: The GUI actually came from Parc. :P

The i7's in the faulty SP3's could have come from a bad silicon wafer. I'm confident MSFT will offer replacements under warranty for affected customers.

Sorry but I actually own an i7 SP3 and have zero issues with overheating. Nada, Zippo, nuthin. Love my SP3.

For now, glad I got the i5 version. But even this gets quite hot. But hasn't shut down on me though. Still lovin it

Well, I'm just really glad I got the i3 version.  I have not been disappointed at all.  I shelved my Toshiba laptop.

Awww now I'm scared of buying...  My Duo 11 that I'm using right now has been on for over 48 hours and it hasn't overheated yet. And I live in a tropical country. And it's always over 26 celsius. It' actually 31 right now.

Meh... I was thinking of waiting for the Broadwell Surface anyway....

My SP3 i7 has overheated almost everytime I turn it on and install software. If not overheating, the fan is on jet mode. Temp inside my office is cool. We have had 2 of 4 do this at work. We replaced one and the new one is fine. Looks like ill be replacing mine too.

This is what happened. Microsoft just released official statement about those overheating i5 and i7 SP3. There is nothing wrong with anything. They apologize and will replace defective units. This is what happened. As everyone knows all SP3 as well as other world electronics are manufactured in People Republic of China. They messed up shipment of several containers. Those containers were loaded with secretly made another version of SP3. That unknown version of SP3 is a special model for colder climate countries like Russia. So they will operate normally in near freezing temperature. So... Chinese post service sent those russian containers to us... That's all folks..

Related topic. My 920 constantly overheats. Mostly when using the phone for any length of time and viewing videos. The back, just around the camera gets very hot. Who else has same issue with 920?

You'll find a lot more information doing a 920 forum search than using a thread like this. I have a 920 and yeah, it can get a warm, but I wouldn't describle it as overheating. Overheating is almost a technical term, meaning it causes some malfunction, or is almost unusable due to the heat.  

The only thing that sucks is the customer support offered by Microsoft. It's one thing to build a faulty product (which the SP2 is by design since the bluetooth adapter is crap) but another to simply ignore this issue completely. I've been in touch with several "supervisors" but they all kept telling me that they couldn't help me and asked me to get in touch with MS directly (outsourced support). Once you call Microsoft you are directly asked to call the Surface support, which, as stated above, can't help. Such a shame for a company like Microsoft.

Hey guys,

after skim reading almost all the comments, to my knownledge, I believe it is something to do with the thermal paste applied on the devices.

If you've read alot of the comments, you would have noticed that most people were having the overheating issue at the initial setup of the device. This can be explained by the process that thermal compound 'sets'. To put it simply, the thermal compound needs to be 'cooked' first ( and sometimes a few times ) for it to reach its peak efficiency. Only after, does the paste work best to dissipate/transfer heat from the CPU to the heatsink/fan. This is much like the process of creating a brick, you must put it in the furance first in order for it to be set. I hope this provides some insight.

I have a SP3 i7 512 that I purchased on release day and have had no problems with it at all except wireless connectivity. The wireless has been resolved by Microsoft since than, so I have no issues and I LOVE this product. It replaces my bulky laptop with ease.

i7/512 here. Like many others, overheated once during initial firmware upgrade (a bit startling, but ultimately harmless). Has not overheated since then. The fan does kick in during normal usage, doing its job.

Not sure what to make of all this 'sky is falling' stuff. Perhaps some units are in fact faulty, if so I've seen this before...

Actually y have returned 3 surface pro i7, 256 because of overheating, shutdown, and the terrible fan noise. I am really upset with Microsoft. I can believe that could developed a machines with that problem, and that it is the reason I insisted in exchange one time and another. Looking for different lot number. The last one was from 1432. 1428-1431. It's true. And please scale the problem to Microsoft

Not sure if same issue but if I use Surface RT outdoors (and therefore max display brightness) and it's above 80F it will overheat and shows that picture above after about 15 min.

I have ZERO issues with my 512GB i7. I just bought it last week from the Microsoft store online so maybe it's from a newer batch? IDK. I have put it through the paces though. I love it!!!!

First 10 min of use with my 512GB i7 and it was very very hot in the top right corner. I installed all of the firmware and related updates and it seems to be running cooler now. Only time will tell... I got this to replace my old laptop which would randomly shut down without warning ever since upgrading to W8.1

 

Hoping this SP3 can do the job. Currently trying to figure out the best option for setting my second monitor's "text and item" size to 100% while leaving the SP3 at 150% (default)... hopefully they come out with a fix for this soon.

My 4 surface pro 3 i7 running "better" up to 90C just with the facebook page (IE) open. And Microsoft not answer...

 

The only time mine got hot enough to shut off was during firmware updates....wierd but true.......other than that it's gotten hot ONCE while idleing (very wierd) but normally stays very cool.

 

It gets SUPER hot while I'm gaming, but I ran "CoreTemp" while playing Star Trek Online at pretty high graphics and it only got up to 85 degrees Celcius. And while yes that is hot, the processor can go to 100.

 

It's a computer......it's gonna have some kinks.....Love my SP3 (i7 256)

I'm on my 6th i7 unit and am still experiencing the high temperature warning.  Took 2 pictures of it today. I'm getting tired of exchanging the units. I really like the i7 but might have to go down to an i5.

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