What Surface can replace a desktop?

Discussion in 'Microsoft' started by Tourniquet, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. Tourniquet

    Tourniquet Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Heya :)

    I was using an SP2 (i5, 128GB, 4GB) for a year as a desktop replacement. And while it was not perfect (I needed more RAM) it was doing okay. While using it, I really got the feeling a SP2 could be enough for everything with a bit more RAM.

    I have to say I'm a heavy multitasker (different browser, with a lot of tabs, and other apps open) and my main desktop always had 16GB of RAM. Mostly for VMs.

    When I replaced it with a SP3 (i5, 128GB, 4GB) I noticed the SP3 was much much slower, even though it has the same specs. My question is why? Is it because the SP3 thermal design isn't as good as the one from the SP2? It was a night and day difference in terms of performance. The SP3 was barely usable, I couldnt even open Minecraft and a webbrowser window at the same time without it getting ultra slow.

    After the bad experience I'm now wondering if all newer surfaces behave so badly because of the different thermal design or something?

    At one point I was thinking about the SP5 (i5, 256gb, 8GB) but since it doesn't even have a fan I afraid it could get even worse? Not sure.
     
  2. convergent

    convergent Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Your SP3 experience sounds odd, because I've heard a lot of people talk about that performing well. I think 4GB of RAM is light, but you said you had that on your SP2 as well... I don't know a lot about either so will leave that for others to comment on. I used an SP4 for about one month (i5, 256G, 8G) and found that it performed fine. I returned it because the nSP had just been announced, and bought same spec'd nSP (SP5). It performs great for what I've used it for, and has effectively "replaced" my desktop (Mac) and my work laptop (Dell). They are both i5 and have 8G and 10G respectively of RAM.

    All of the benchmarks I've seen on the nSP i5 indicate that it doesn't throttle due to any thermal problems... the design keeps the CPU cool.

    My work is a combination of multi-tab browsing (mostly Firefox), Office365 (Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Skype, Project, OneNote), PDF viewing and markup, document scanning, news (USA Today, Microsoft News App, and several others), Netflix, Hulu, and Adobe Lightroom.
     
  3. Azzart

    Azzart Late night illustrator Senior Member

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    The Surface Pro 3 i5 was a lot less powerful thant the i5 of the Pro 2 because it suffered heavily from throttling while the Pro 2 didn't have this problem.
    Pro 4 and the new Surface Pro are much better in this regard. (For instance, the i5 of the newer model is faster than the i7 of the Pro 4)
     
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  4. excalibur1814

    excalibur1814 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I used an i7 SP3, in work, for a long time. The fan blazed away but it still managed a Virtual Machine due to the 8Gb ram. My work machine, for the last few months, has been a core M sp4 which also did perfectly fine before being replaced by a noticeably faster SP 5 i5 surface. I'm now using an i7 with 8Gb ram.

    To answer the question: A Surface 4, with 8Gb ram, can and will replace a 'standard' desktop. A Surface pro 5 with 16Gb ram would be epic.
     
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  5. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    All I can say is that my SP4 i7/1Tb absolutely replaces a desktop - particularly with my Surface Dock single connection to EVERYTHING (two monitors, printer, USB speakers, Keyboard, mouse, Ethernet).
     
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  6. Bronsky

    Bronsky Wait and Hope. Senior Member

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    My S3 is my desktop.
     
  7. darkmagistric

    darkmagistric Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    To answer the base question of the thread.....The Surface Studio is ideal Surface solution for a desktop replacement.

    In regards to the performance difference between the Pro 2 and Pro 3....as already said that throttling/thermal issues are the culprit....but keep in mind the Pro 3 has the same hardware at roughly half the physical thickness of the Pro 2.....of course there were going to be some trade offs. But now with the 3rd gen of 8-9mm thickness....the performance of the nSP should be way better then the Pro 2 or 3. And the Pro 4 and nSP offer 16GB of Ram options so the high end models should suit you.

    I would however wait till late October to see what Microsoft unveils at the London event. With the Quad Core/Discrete Graphics 8th gen Core series coming....A Book 2 or Pro 6 could really be a serious desktop replacement over both the Pro 4 and nSP. The biggest weakness with using the Pro 4 or nSP as a desktop replacement is the limited integrated HD or Iris Graphics. But having a Nvidia Geforce card and/or thunderbolt 3 can make a a great difference.
     
  8. b52hbuff

    b52hbuff Scribbler - Standard Member

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    The great variety of answers shows that it highly depends on usage. I have an SP2/8MB RAM/512GB SDD and it most certainly is a desktop replacement, for what I use it for. I use it for Office apps, Edge browser and Skype.

    Bronsky uses an S3, and that works for him,. My wife has an S3 and I think she hates it. I find it too slow in comparison to my SP2 to use for long periods of time. But that boils down to use case.

    I think the docking station is the key to using the device as a desktop replacement. As long as the dock drives enough pixels for your use case and work style, then you're set. I currently use one QHD monitor. My next Surface will hopefully drive two 4K monitors at 60Hz.

    Once my SP2 is docked, then the unit sort of fades away, and all I care about are my nice IBM 101 key keyboard and my 32" QHD display...
     
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