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  • hughlle - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    One of the few speculated reasons to pick up an i3, alas it doesn't seem to pan out. Still on the road for an i5 then. Reply
  • basroil - Saturday, August 09, 2014 - link

    Nobody every actually believed the i3 would last longer, since even in "heavy" use presented above the i5 is in idle for 5-8ms out of every 15ms frame. If the i3 draws half as much power in max but spends twice as much time there, battery life won't change much. Not to mention the display draws the most power during idle, so the CPU specs are watered down a bit there. Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Saturday, August 09, 2014 - link

    It's the "Hurry up and finish" mantra, the sooner the processing can be done and the processor return to a low-power idle state the better it can be for battery life.
  • basroil - Monday, August 11, 2014 - link

    Not just CPU, SSD and other things attached to the mobo will also tend to idle more... as long as you don't use garbage programs like chrome! Reply
  • Walkop - Tuesday, September 09, 2014 - link

    Chrome fixed the CPU tick issues (which have been present since v1), causing major battery life problems in the latest Canary build. We're talking 25% less drain, based on a prediction by MS a few years back. Since idle power use has dropped by a very considerable amount in the past couple years on Intel platforms, I wouldn't be surprised if that number is now closer to 35%-40%.

    It's still considerably slower than I.E. or Firefox, but the featureset keeps a lot of users. Including myself, lol.
  • Wiidesire - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    Thanks Lal Shimpi for the test, however undervolting was not tested, so the test is useless for me. For unexperienced users however, who don't want to undervolt, this is a good test ;) Reply
  • Devo2007 - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    Does the Surface 3 Pro even allow you to undervolt the CPU? This isn't an Android-powered ARM-based tablet where you can simply root and install SetCPU to accomplish this. Reply
  • Wiidesire - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    Yes, you can use Intel XTU for undervolting with the SP3 :) Reply
  • ewpelleg - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    Your right. This isn't an android device. You don't need to/can't root it to modify it. It is a standard PC. Reply
  • B3an - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    Yes it's a PC, so it's far easier to undervolt and do these kinda things on than anything Android based. Derp. Reply
  • dylan522p - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    It's even easier to undervolt the SP3 than it is to do anything remotely similar with a ARM based Android tablet. Reply
  • pukemon1976 - Wednesday, August 06, 2014 - link

    Simply root and install SetCPU? You forgot you need an unlocked bootloader to flash a custom kernel to allow customization that deep. Not that simple. Reply
  • fire115 - Thursday, August 07, 2014 - link

    dont be a hater pukemon, its not very hard to unlock the bootloader on SP3 Reply
  • nerd1 - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    I think the best balance between power, heat, battery life is underbolted i5 version without turboboost. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Wednesday, August 06, 2014 - link

    Deactivating Turbo on low-TDP parts is a particularly bad idea, as you're robbing yourself of significant single-thread performance gains. A far better option would be to leave turbo active but to lower the power consumption limit / target (if you feel a need to do so). Reply
  • invinciblegod - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    I thought windows 8.1 was designed to fit into less space. Why is there only 21GB left? Reply
  • Thermogenic - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    Recovery partition takes up a fair amount of space, allowing you to "refresh" your installation. It's pretty sweet too if you are ever in the unfortunate situation of needing to do so. Reply
  • Wiidesire - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    The i3 version has 37gb of free space and the Recovery Partition takes 50gb. If you move that one to an external USB stick you get 42gb of free space. Reply
  • Wiidesire - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    *takes 5,08 gb. Sorry, I'm on mobile right now. Reply
  • kyuu - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    I'm struggling to understand how it can only have 37GB of free space. Even with the recovery partition, I still have enough space to install a game or two on my 32GB Dell Venue 8 Pro. I wouldn't expect there to be crapware on a Surface, so what is taking up all the space? Reply
  • feeblegoat - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    I think they meant to say that windows 8.1 <i> uses </i> 21 GB. That's about how much it is on my windows tablet. (it's going to be awkward if those italics don't work) Reply
  • Spunjji - Thursday, August 07, 2014 - link

    I'm guessing that your Dell venue 8 Pro is running 32bit binaries. Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, May 06, 2015 - link

    Plus system restore, the hibernation file, the virtual memory AND the space still sitting there as Disk Cleanup hasn't been run. Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, August 06, 2014 - link

    Disable the virtual memory, system restore, hibernation file then move the recover partition for FAR more space. Options are fun Reply
  • ivan256 - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    I've done quite a bit of Xen power tuning recently, and I'm not surprised by this at all. The reduced cache size on the i3 means that the same operations take the system out of C7 for much longer than on an i5. Long enough to overcome the wattage difference. If you look at your package C-state residency, I think you'll find the answer has less to do with binning than you think.

    So you get worse performance and worse "idle" battery life. But at least it's cheaper....
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    The even lighter tablet browsing test did show a gain for the i3 model; and that's closer to idle than either of the laptop battery tests. Reply
  • drothgery - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    I don't suppose you'll get an i7 version to test out any time soon? Reply
  • luggage12345 - Monday, August 11, 2014 - link

    I second this. I am curious to see how it really pans out, given the rumor going around about it getting worse battery life and getting really hot Reply
  • dan_g - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    The architectural strategy of "Hurry up and wait" is often the most energy-efficient. Run the chip at its optimal power*performance point, and then shut it off. This is why your cell phones, even, ramp up the clock speed when doing something, then put it to sleep. Both dynamic switching power and gate leakage power are saved when clock/power gating during sleep modes.

    The results fall perfectly in-line with this strategy.
  • Devo2007 - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    Of course, quite a few people don't realize this, and customize their kernel to reduce maximum clock speed and such - thinking that this conserves battery. Kind of like undervolting on a smartphone - you may get a couple minutes of extra battery life, but certainly not worth the potential loss in stability. Reply
  • jeffkibuule - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    The most important metric in such tests however is the amount of work must be fixed relative to the battery power the device has. Tasks finishing faster mean you have more time to do more tasks, and thus battery life can be "shorter". Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    I often wondered this on any battery life test. Device A might get worse battery life than Device B, but if the given test is a loop, then what happens if Device A made it through the loop more times? There's battery life in terms of time till dead, and then there's amount of work potential in a charge. The i5 Surface may have more work potential per charge, but the i3 Surface can last longer if the demand is light. Reply
  • mkozakewich - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    That's right. I'll play Minecraft on battery power every once in a while, and it lasts significantly longer when it's on low-power mode.

    Actually, running it at 700 MHz constantly makes it last longer than if it was going full-bore, even when it's not doing much. Race-to-sleep sounds like it should be working better, but I haven't noticed it. Running the CPU at full while sitting idle on the desktop increases my power usage from 6 or 7 watts to 9 or 10 watts.
  • nevertell - Wednesday, August 06, 2014 - link

    If you were to limit the FPS of minecraft to something reasonable, then the difference between a set frequency and dynamic frequency scaling wouldn't be as noticeable. Reply
  • theNiZer - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    Thank you Anand for testing this - of great value to me and my company! Core i5 Surface Pro 3, here we come. Reply
  • geok1ng - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    i lost all desire on surface 3 after the tear-down showed that it is even more impossible to replace battery on surface 3 than on the previous king on planned obsolescence ipad. This battery is expected to fail after 2-3y, and any attempt to replace it will destroy the display. we definitively need a regulation forbidding companies to deploy products with impossible to replace and doomed to fail batteries. Reply
  • rituraj - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link


    Plus the lack of usable ports. Common Microsoft, one USB port (Ok, understandable), one mini freaking display port (Yeah, again, I understand, 4K, older HDMI standards, blah blah), and a MICRO freaking SD slot ( What were you smoking?) in a device that is targeted at photo professionals?. And why does the 64GB version even exist?! Isn't it like just a $40 difference for a 128GB?

    Seriously, I have been a big fan of the device right from the first Gen and have been advocating it since, but then I realised I would never buy one due to the limitations mentioned above.
  • Wiidesire - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    64gb is plenty enough if you only need the SP3 for inking and note taking in classes like me. However I agree on the part that a i3 with 128gb should exist and that for only 50$ more. Reply
  • Alexey291 - Wednesday, August 06, 2014 - link

    64gb is what? 25 usable? Reply
  • Wiidesire - Wednesday, August 06, 2014 - link

    37gb usable + 5,08gb if you move the recovery partition to an external USB-Stick -> 42gb Reply
  • HanzNFranzen - Wednesday, August 06, 2014 - link


    "Targeting photo professionals" and "$40 difference for 128GB model". So obviously you make up your own facts and marketing material because neither of those has ever been the case. Yea big draw back on only ONE mini display because we all NEED more than one on a tablet of all devices... And yea that mini SD slot... wow what a let down, I can add 50% more storage to my 128GB Pro for $25, woe is me. Not sure also where the guy above you got a 2-3 year battery life, I've had the Pro gen 1 since day one, used it every day through 2 years of college and still holds the same charge as it always has. Not to mention, I haven't seen anything that would suggest anything close to a wide spread battery failure on all of the original release Pro's. It is always fun to read the anti-Surface people's ridiculous complaints though.
  • ewpelleg - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    The battery is replaceable for $200 via MS. Reply
  • Reflex - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    These are not using LiON batteries, they are using LiPo batteries. The usable lifespan before degradation is significantly longer, expect 4-5 years or so. We have an iPad at work, first generation, its battery life is still very good, even after all the iOS updates and heavy usage for testing. My original Kindle Fire still gets a solid 6+ hours.

    LiPo is one of the major reasons we moved to sealed battery designs. Replacing the battery is no longer a necessary scenario with the exception of people who keep charged spares. By the time the battery is unusable, the device will be reasonably obsolete.
  • mkozakewich - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    And on the topic of charged spares, the Power Cover is working well for me (with the weird exception that I don't like taking the cover off to use it in 'tablet mode' anymore, because then I'll be using up my main battery). Reply
  • Reflex - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    Is there a power cover option for the SP3? I didn't see anything like that but it would be great for taking on trips if there were... Reply
  • basroil - Wednesday, August 06, 2014 - link

    You can use the old power cover just fine, you just don't get the snap feature and it looks a bit funny on the larger SP3 Reply
  • The Saint - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    Any comments on differences between the i3 and the i5 in thermals and fan noise, either objective or subjective? Reply
  • Wiidesire - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    +1 Reply
  • dineshc - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    A review of the Surface Pro 3 core i7 Model and then a comparison with the i3 and the i5 model would have been presented a better picture. Reply
  • mtalinm - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    I doubt he has one, see my comment above. Reply
  • mtalinm - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    Did MSFT not sample you an i7 for testing? It is puzzling - I have not seen a single "professional" i7 review. not Thurrott, not Rubino, not Bott, not anywhere.

    I can only conclude that MSFT knows the i7 is not noticeably faster than the i5, and/or they know that the battery life is worse with the i7, and/or heat is more of a problem with the i7.

    You would think they would want reviews shouting praises for their flagship SP3. This is the only explanation I can come up with...
  • asmi84 - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    I swapped my i5/256 for i7/256 on August 1, and so far my tests indicate slight performance increase (around 5-10% depending on the test), while battery life seems to be about the same as i5 model. I tried playing a game World of Tanks on it just to see how long would it last, and I got somewhere between 3 and 3.5 hours (I didn't time it to be precise, just to get a ballpark estimate) until Windows showed me a warning that the charge is 10%. At work (mostly Visual Studio 2013, Office suite) I got about 6.5 hrs (compilation is very CPU-intensive, but relatively short, and TurboBoost totally excels in this scenario), including about 40 minutes of using OneNote in the meeting for note-taking. This is good enough for me (especially since I'm getting a dock so battery life will become a non-issue at work). One thing I've noticed is that I use the device at home more like a cell phone, than a laptop - namely I use it unplugged, and charge it when not in use. Reply
  • kelley5454 - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    How on Earth are you getting 6.5 hours? I would kill for that kind of life. I barely get 4 surfing the internet and checking mail. Reply
  • asmi84 - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    Let me guess - you're using Chrome & have brightness set to max? Try using IE11 instead, and lower your brightness (I have it at around 40%). Reply
  • kelley5454 - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    I already said I had brightness set to almost as dim as possible. I do use Chrome sometimes but it seems to be the same in both browsers. I will try IE when I can. I have 2 sites that for some reason don't work in anything but chrome. Reply
  • mkozakewich - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    Also, set your power profiles. You can do things like reducing your javascript timers and stuff. Reply
  • Daniel_Rubino - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    No, Microsoft only provided the Core i5 for reviews, which I think makes sense. Having said that, I did pick up a Core i7 (personal) this weekend, even traded in a MBA for it to see how that went. I plan on doing a follow up review with the Core i7, though I cannot promise to meet AnandTech's rigid benchmarking/performance analysis. I tend to write more as a regular consumer, only because I know my limiters on these types of articles.

    I think though people's gut instincts about the different Core options vs. Performance/battery life are pretty spot on so far. There really are no surprises. Will see how it goes in a few more days.
  • ewpelleg - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    Were these tests done with Google Chrome? The intentional CPU pinging has not been fixed and is still an issue even with the newer kernel of Windows 8. It would be very...troubling to thing that even after the recent public attention this issue received that battery tests would still be done with it. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    IIRC Anandtech uses OS native browsers for battery testing; which is IE for Windows systems. Reply
  • asmi84 - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    Chrome sucks big time on SP3 in "desktop" mode (HiDPI support is buggy), and it didn't work for me at all when I tried to run it in "Metro" mode - just got a grey screen and no reaction to whatever I do (well except for system gestures of course). Which forced me - long time Chrome user in both Windows and Android's tablets/phones - to move to IE11. Reply
  • basroil - Wednesday, August 06, 2014 - link

    Firefox also works just fine, though hiDPI and touch support are still not quite up to par Reply
  • kelley5454 - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    So, assume I am really out to lunch about the battery thing? What does these numbers mean? I bought a surface pro 3 and sold my Dell Venue 11 pro and am now a bit upset I did. I wanted the i5 and 8gb and 256 ssd, however, my battery lasts for crud. I am lucky if I get 4 hours, I am not even doing anything hard to it either. This is just when playing a casual game like diner dash or a facebook flash game. This is my second Surface Pro 3, I returned the first one due to it being un bearably hot and short battery life. I love the machine but am upset. How do I tune it better? I already have the screen super dim. Will a firmware update help this. Makes it almost useless to me as a work device so I haven't even brought it in to try yet. Reply
  • asmi84 - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    There is definetly something wrong going on. Do you have all updates & firmware installed? Reply
  • kelley5454 - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    Yes, I try to do updates and it doesn't find anymore so as far as I know it does. This is my second Surface Pro 3... They can't all be messed up but I can't figure out what the deal is. Even when I do powercfg /batteryreport it reports a max of 4.5 hours for the estimate (which I have yet to get) I called Microsoft numerous times. They keep telling me its my apps and to reset the machine again, this is how I ended up exchanging the first one, the store tells me they get 9 hours.... grrrrr if anyone has any pointers or what I should be looking for I sure would appreciate it I can't figure out what I am doing wrong. Reply
  • spicedham - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    You are getting the correct battery life. There's nothing wrong with your computer. Flash games will eat up your battery. Nothing you can do about it that's the reality of the technology. The 7-8 hours of battery life is when you are web browsing like shopping and reading a news article. Reply
  • althaz - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    Are you using IE? If not switch to IE.

    Also, you are basically talking about worst-case scenario battery life if you want to play flash games - flash sucks (the life out of batteries). Actually, games in general are a good way to suck the life out of your device. The latest iPhone for example, which one could probably squeeze out to about two days will be flat in 3-4 hours of gaming.
  • mkozakewich - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    Yeah, there's no such thing as 'only' playing a game. Games run a constant loop, so they generally use up all the CPU power they can -- especially Flash. Getting 4 hours on a game on a windows laptop is actually really impressive. A few years ago, you'd be lucky to get half that.

    Here's something you can do: Click on the battery icon in the notification area, and open More Power Options. You can "Change plan settings" next to the Power Saver plan, and then "Change advanced settings" to open a dialog box of options. Go through that and make sure everything is set to be maximally power-saving on battery. Set the Minimum and Maximum processor state to something low, like 1% or whatever. It has its own minimum level. If your games get choppy and laggy, set the maximum state to 50% or something. Add salt to taste.
  • kelley5454 - Wednesday, August 06, 2014 - link

    I only have one power plan and didn't see any of these options but I will look again thanks! Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, August 06, 2014 - link

    Which browser are you using? Please don't say 'Chrome' as that loves to use battery life Reply
  • kelley5454 - Wednesday, August 06, 2014 - link

    I was using Chrome because I have a school website that only works right in Chrome. But last night I tried to use IE as much as possible and it seemed to do a bit better. I had no idea a flash gameo n facebook was such a battery hog. I wish that wasn't the case. Thanks for the tip! I hope they make the power cover for the Pro 3. Reply
  • spicedham - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    What did you test differently between 'light use (web browsing)' and 'web browsing battery life' the latter gives 9 hours of run time? Reply
  • aznguyen316 - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    My guess is metro IE11 which can be then compared with other windows tablets and RT as well. Reply
  • kelley5454 - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    I don't suppose any of you have an idea of whether they are going to make the power cover for this or not? That would be awesome for needed long term use. Reply
  • mkozakewich - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    I really can't imagine it. The power cover is about as thick as the Surface itself, and this latest update is all about thinness. I laid my bare Surface Pro 1 next to a friend's Surface Pro 3 with its Type Cover, and they were about the same thickness.

    Power Cover is good for me, because I'd only get maybe 4 or 5 hours out of it otherwise, but Surface Pro 3 is efficient enough that runs as if it already includes Power Cover.

    (I could see them introducing some ultra-slim external battery cover, which might give you an extra two hours or so. Unless they actually come out with a thick expansion-dock cover with a battery and extra ports, which would be fantastic. Who knows!)
  • nerd1 - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    Why everyone's making HUGELY misleading comparison of $499 ARM table vs $1200 SP3?

    SP3 costs $799 for i3/64GB and iPad costs $699 for 64GB. There's only $100 difference, not $700 difference!
  • spicedham - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    If you're a college student the Microsoft store has a $150 discount on all SP3 making it $650. Much better than buying an iPad air. Reply
  • ClockworkPirate - Wednesday, August 06, 2014 - link

    The 64GB iPad is $669 with a student discount. $20 more than the 64GB Surface. That's comical. Reply
  • az1787 - Wednesday, August 06, 2014 - link

    What about battery report For OneNote & Word use?

    And how many hours using battery to see a fullhd film from a mkv file (so not streaming with wifi)?
  • basroil - Wednesday, August 06, 2014 - link

    Both of those programs have far better CPU management (don't fuss with timers at all, Word doesn't even refresh the window unless you do something), so they are basically idle scenarios. I'm sure it gets in the 9hr range just fine.

    As for fullhd from file rather than wifi, it'll have better life because there's no wifi, but doubtful it will budge much unless you either change the file (h264 complexity, and therefore computation time, varies wildly between sources and even when bitrates and internal parameters change) or have extremely low wifi signal (which results in a power consumption increase between upped gains and packet loss)
  • xoanohn - Wednesday, August 06, 2014 - link

    Does microsoft delete your reviews? I bought one i5 and one i7 and wrote reviews for both and confirmed it, but they are not showing up on their site. I've had nothing but trouble with the i7.

    First i7 256gb had noticeable backlight bleed in all the corners.
    Second one had severe bleed on top right
    Now the third one cant update the firmware update. I get a dreaded thermometer symbol and the machine turns off by itself in the middle of the update. Refreshed the machine and the same thing…
    Dreading going back for a 4th machine.
  • spicedham - Thursday, August 07, 2014 - link

    Owned Surface 1,2,3 all had some type of backlight bleed. Just have to accept it or buy another brand. Reply
  • MrMindlink - Thursday, August 07, 2014 - link

    How about a SP3 i7 update? Please;-) Reply
  • duploxxx - Monday, August 11, 2014 - link

    you forget to test idle time.....the reason why not to buy a x86 tablet. Reply
  • playingwithplato - Wednesday, September 03, 2014 - link

    The Surface Pro 3, particularly with the i5/i7 gets hot as f#*k, and must be baby'ed to a degree because it has something the ARM tablets don't. A FAN. This is huge deal when choosing between a i3 Surface and a. say, Elitepad 1000 or another tablet. Reply
  • LoveMySurface - Monday, October 20, 2014 - link

    We did a comparison focused on the i5 vs i7 (mostly), to see if the upgrade was worth the money.
    It wasn't. The i5 is by far the best deal for the $.
    You can see our results here:

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