Surface Laptop 2/3/4 Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Microsoft' started by JoeS, May 2, 2017.

  1. sonichedgehog360

    sonichedgehog360 AKA Hifihedgehog Senior Member

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    @desertlap, how does heat output compare between the AMD and Intel offerings? Does Intel's higher potential single-core peak power (as described below, from TechSpot) result in the Intel version running hotter than the AMD version, or is the Surface Laptop 4 firmware in both versions controlling temperature tightly enough that both models have roughly the same observed thermal profiles?

    Link:
    Intel Core i7-1165G7 Review: Tiger Lake Inside | TechSpot
     
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  2. desertlap

    desertlap Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Thanks for that link.
    We suspect ( we have asked MS more info to clarify) that the firmware in the Surface laptop is limiting the overall max temps on both systems to the same limits.

    If we have time, we want to explore it more though. Observationally, I'd agree with tech spots finding that in single core Intel may run hotter. eg. We observed not so much a maximum overall system temp difference (which is what we measure) but that the intel version hits that "cut off temperature" almost twice as fast as the AMD.

    Conversely running the two most multi-core test intensive tests, its literally the exact opposite where the Ryzen hits max temp almost twice as quickly as the Intel 11th gen.

    Again because we believe it's firmware controlled they both eventually hit the same overall max external temperature for the whole system (roughly around 100-102 degrees F) and don't get any warmer and there is obvious throttling going on with either system.

    As an addendum, we have been told by AMD engineers that the 5th gen Ryzen has significant improvement in thermal management across the board compared to 4th gen. We don't have sufficient data to affirm that yet. But in one of our own devices, swapping just a Ryzen 5 chip/motherboard combo with the previous 4th gen, the 4th gen hits thermal max across the board almost 30 percent more quickly. So they have improved it.

    BTW: MS killed it off, but in the early days of the surface pro, they gave developer partners a tool that would let you tweak the various thermal characteristics in firmware ( to the point you could set things where you could cause a hardware failure) but that stopped working and being available with the Pro 5.

    I wish they would bring it back as it was useful to us in specific edge cases, eg, we could tweak it to run a bit hotter in cold physical environments which had the side benefit of heating the LCD /touch screen enough to make it more responsive.
     
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  3. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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  4. desertlap

    desertlap Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    So one last comment on the Surface Laptop 4. We completed our tests on the 15 with Ryzen 7 and they held up over in the retests.

    We also completed the first round with 13 with 11th gen Core I and we saw the expected improvements in graphics and battery life.

    TLDR, definitely premium priced, but they are also among the very best conventional Windows laptops. MS hit a home run this time up.
     
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  5. sonichedgehog360

    sonichedgehog360 AKA Hifihedgehog Senior Member

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    They certainly did! And to think that they also so finely tuned total system power as to overcome their processors' higher power draw and make it comparable in efficiency to the M1-based MacBook Pro's total system power is likewise astounding. The Laptop 4's battery is 47.4Whr compared to the massive 58.2 WHr battery in the latest MacBook Pro. Yet it turns out that its real-world battery life is commensurate with its battery size relative to the M1-based MacBook Pro. Tabulating the numbers, 11 hours/13 hours = ~85% of the observed battery life and 47.4 Whr/58.2 Whr = ~81% of the expected battery life. So, allowing for margin of error, that would mean the overall system power efficiency of the Surface Laptop 4 and the MacBook Pro is the same.

    That means if they had put a battery in the Surface Laptop 4 with the same capacity as the MacBook Pro, they would be basically on par with the MacBook Pro in total runtime. That's quite the feat! I remember back in the day when DisplayMate used to test the Surface display, they would report their readings of the display power and it (the Surface Pro 4, anyway) actually far surpassed the iPad Air 2's display efficiency at the time. I wonder if the "secret sauce" of the Surface Laptop 4's battery life here is likewise the Surface Laptop 4's insanely low display power as it couldn't be from the processor since Apple's M1 itself is more efficient than AMD Ryzen 4000 and Intel 11th Gen? Display power generally is a topmost factor in total system power draw so that is what general intuition would lead me to believe, anyway.

    upload_2021-4-21_12-36-44.png

    Full review:


    EDIT: I also noticed the 13.5" Surface Laptop 4 weighs 2.79 (Alcantara) and 2.84 pounds (non-Alcantara) whereas the 2020 MacBook Pro weighs in at exactly 3.0 pounds. Maybe if the Surface Laptop 5 increased its weight by 0.2 pounds or so to accommodate for a larger battery capacity that is more equal in size to the MacBook Pro, they could close the battery life gap next generation? Some food for thought!
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2021
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  6. desertlap

    desertlap Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Ok, so I fibbed, a couple of more comments on the new Surface laptops.

    One , even in our admittedly extreme or edge case tests, the battery life gains in the new surface laptops are significant, at least 25% and as much as 35% across the board, with the AMD versions slightly, about 12% in aggregate edging out the intel versions.

    @sonichedgehog360 We do believe that at least part of that is due to a new set of pixelsense control chips. We suspect that same new control chips might be in the Surface Pro 7 + as well. We didn't take apart the Pro 7 + that we tested because it was a customers, but we will be getting two lab units in the next week.

    And lastly, one ding... I really wish MS would at least give the option maybe as CTO to put a fast SSD in all of the surface lines. They all, to a device ship with mediocre, midrange parts, and unfortunately it dampens the overall score a bit in our overall tests.

    Still excellent laptops though.
     
  7. daddyfish

    daddyfish Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    This review at 3:53 shows the SL4 Mozilla Firefox Compile test compared with Macbook Pro M1, Air M1, SL 3 and RazerBlade Stealth. The SL4 and the Macbook Pro M1 are at the top:


    The rest of the review is pretty good too I think (a bit on the short side). Apparently the Vega graphics can be a bit limiting for creators compared to the Intel Iris Xte (Premiere Pro Pugetbench).
     
  8. JoeS

    JoeS I'm all ears Senior Member

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    I'm so confused by that bit. Right after he says "if you do a lot of Adobe, go Intel", and then he shows a graph with the Laptop 4 dead last. Then again I'm pretty clueless about benchmarks so maybe it makes sense.

    upload_2021-4-24_16-0-26.png
     
  9. darkmagistric

    darkmagistric Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Back up there, PixelSense is for the touch/pen screen, even though its kind of lost on the Laptop 4 given its traditional form factor, but if the Pro 7+ has these new pixel sense chips, would that equate to improved Pen Performance, or just more efficiency as far as sipping less power?
     
  10. daddyfish

    daddyfish Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    , he refers here to Ryzen edition of the SL4 which ended last in his list. Its a bit confusing at first but the 2nd last device is not the SL4 Intel but the SL3 Intel (so Ice Lake) and even that one scored slightly better than the SL4 Ryzen (even though it is a 1-1.5 year older).
    Undoubtedly the SL4 Intel (/Tiger Lake with Iris Xte graphics) would have scored much better here (I guess the reviewer only received the AMD model of the SL4 to review).

    Though graphics comparisons between Amd or Intel (or others) I always take with an extra grain of salt because they can vary a lot between benchmarks / software / games. I read somewhere else that the Vega is (excluding optimizations) much closer to the Intel Xte (around 10-20% slower they said), not sure if that is true or not.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2021
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