1. trashr0x's Avatar
    Hey guys,

    I'm thinking of purchasing the i5 / 8GB / 256GB version of Surface Pro 3 as a full replacement for my laptop. While the specs look good on paper, I'd like some advice from people who have been actually using them for a while.
    I'm a .NET software engineer so on a regular day my PC has these stuff opened simultaneously:

    1) Firefox/Chrome with a total of ~20 tabs open
    2) YouTube and/or Spotify playing in the background
    3) Visual Studio 2013
    4) Blend for Visual Studio 2013
    4) SQL Management Studio 2012
    5) Fiddler, Skype, uTorrent, Onedrive, Dropbox, TeamViewer
    6) Frequent use of Office
    7) Occasional use of Photoshop, Illustrator and GIMP

    I plan to use this with a dual-monitor (2 x 23") configuration.

    When procrastinating, I consume a lot of content (Full HD movies/shows, etc) either locally or via streaming.

    Is this device suitable (via your experience) for such workload? I am not considering the i7 version since it's throttling/overheating issues are concerning and I find it's price to be an overkill.

    Thanks,
    trashr0x
    wpn00b likes this.
    02-15-2015 05:29 PM
  2. rdubmu's Avatar
    You should be fine. I would also look into getting the docking station as well.
    wpn00b and trashr0x like this.
    02-15-2015 09:24 PM
  3. the whole taco's Avatar
    I have that model and use it as a desktop replacement, as well as tablet.
    My usage isn't as heavy as you tho. Extensive Office (Word, Excel). Not much use of the graphics. I find it good.
    It would rate as excellent except I still have docking issues.
    There are/were quite a few threads on people having external monitors and hard drives working via the dock.
    I haven't seen any threads recently on the monitors having issues (I have an old Dell 21" via an 'intelligent' cable and it has worked from the get-go)
    I have a Seagate external drive and 80% of the time it disconnects on a restart or re-docking. very very annoying (tho I know now just to check it is connected and if not unplug/replug). There were some threads here I think. Quite a few threads on MS Community - pretty much ignored by MS I might add. I found a topic on uservoice too tho only a few votes in support. There is no dedicated MS uservoice forum for the Surface - does that say something? In MS defence I will say when I contacted support directly they sent me another dock - same problem tho.
    My advice is to either first, test your monitors and any other externals with a SP3 dock if you can, or just assume you might need to spend some money on active cables/different monitors, external drives to get them to work.
    I have other external devices connected that work ok. wired keyboard and mouse. DVD writer.

    hth
    rdubmu and trashr0x like this.
    02-16-2015 06:48 PM
  4. trashr0x's Avatar
    thanks for the feedback guys, much appreciated
    02-18-2015 09:50 PM
  5. hotphil's Avatar
    If you fancy a dock that's more versatile than the Surface one, have a look at something like the Targus ACP70.

    ​Also, that spec of SP3 is exactly the one I'd have gone for. But MS did the whole US-only thing on me. C'est la vie.
    trashr0x likes this.
    02-18-2015 10:46 PM
  6. wpn00b's Avatar
    thanks for the feedback guys, much appreciated
    And thank you as well as I'm considering this model as well. I'm trying to hold out and keep using my aging desktop as I feel that the price will drop soon enough... (I hope)
    trashr0x likes this.
    02-18-2015 10:49 PM
  7. MobileVortex's Avatar
    I'm in the same boat. It wouldnt be a replacement. It's really just me being a gadget ***** lol. I have a surface RT that I thought about trading in for one, but a measly $84 doesnt make me jump. If i could get the i5/8gb/256gb version for under 900 i would probably jump on it.
    trashr0x likes this.
    02-19-2015 10:32 AM
  8. trashr0x's Avatar
    If you fancy a dock that's more versatile than the Surface one, have a look at something like the Targus ACP70.

    ​Also, that spec of SP3 is exactly the one I'd have gone for. But MS did the whole US-only thing on me. C'est la vie.
    I'll have a look at that dock, thanks!
    What US-only thing?
    02-19-2015 01:52 PM
  9. trashr0x's Avatar
    And thank you as well as I'm considering this model as well. I'm trying to hold out and keep using my aging desktop as I feel that the price will drop soon enough... (I hope)
    I feel you on that one but tech moves so fast nowadays that by the time you purchase something, a better/upgraded/faster/fancier/shinier/sexier version comes out. Endless loop I guess.
    02-19-2015 01:54 PM
  10. trashr0x's Avatar
    I'm in the same boat. It wouldnt be a replacement. It's really just me being a gadget ***** lol. I have a surface RT that I thought about trading in for one, but a measly $84 doesnt make me jump. If i could get the i5/8gb/256gb version for under 900 i would probably jump on it.
    I do the same thing but with cell phones. I have a monster desktop PC but I relocated for work and didn't bring it with me, hence why im considering the SP3.
    02-19-2015 01:58 PM
  11. James8561's Avatar
    i'm surprised that you won't consider the i7 for such a heavy multitasking workload.
    Other than that, the 8GB RAM should be fine. If you use modern apps a lot, Windows does automatic RAM management on those and will suspend them when they're not in use. As for desktop apps, if you open really heavy projects, you may need to close some apps. This is purely me guessing however since my workload on a tablet never exceeds 50% RAM usage on 8 GB
    trashr0x likes this.
    02-19-2015 09:23 PM
  12. trashr0x's Avatar
    As I already said, the heating/throttling issues on the i7 are concerning to me. It would be my first choice if these issues were resolved
    02-20-2015 04:06 AM
  13. rdubmu's Avatar
    I think the heating and throttling issues are very minor


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    02-21-2015 04:58 PM
  14. onlysublime's Avatar
    the i7 is not much of an upgrade considering how much more it is and the throttling. benchmarks will bear this out.

    if you have the money, go for it. but i5, at least for Haswell, is almost just as good. again, if money is less of a factor and you can afford it, the i7 has the best performance but that best performance is mitigated by the throttling. If you're using the SP3 as a complete PC replacement and it's your primary PC, you have to factor in throttling especially if you use high CPU/GPU tasks such as video encoding.

    In terms of sweet spot or bang for the buck, it's definitely the i5.

    5ygshcm.jpg
    Attached Thumbnails vxm0lmb.jpg  
    trashr0x likes this.
    02-21-2015 08:17 PM
  15. Bolimomo's Avatar
    I'm thinking of purchasing the i5 / 8GB / 256GB version of Surface Pro 3 as a full replacement for my laptop.
    "Full Replacement for laptop"... well, I think before you get your hope too high, you should get down to take a realistic look at this device and see if it really addresses all your needs, especially from a price perspective.

    First off, I think an i5 is only marginal for what you are planning on doing. i7 may give you a more desirable performance response. And, as you know, there is a big price jump in choosing the different level of processor on the SP3.

    Secondly - don't be too hopeful that this will be a "laptop replacement" or "desktop replacement" straight out of the box, yet.

    The reality is: SP3 has only 1 USB 3.0 port (which is underpowered), and a mini Displayport. Even the keyboard, excuse me, type cover, is a $129 add-on.

    So... how would you use a SP3 to drive 2 x 23" monitors? Well... you can use the mini Displayport. But, you need to buy an adapter. mini Displayport to VGA, HDMI or DVI, depending on which input your monitors can take. ($10 to $30?) All right, that's only 1 23" monitor. What about the second one? Well? USB-to-VGA adapter? That's another $70.

    All right, the type-cover keyboard is pretty small. It is nice and dandy taking your SP3 with the type cover to a boardroom taking notes in a meeting, or a university lecture room, as space is tight in those places. But using it in a professional programming capacity for 8-9 hours a day plus some leisure entertainment? Using this small keyboard all day long is miserable! No sweat! I can hook up a USB keyboard to it. (or wireless)... no big deal. Just $20. True. But which USB port are you going to hook it up to? The one that is used for your second 23" monitor? Hmmm... (About how about a little mouse or trackball?)

    Oh... hey how about a docking station!!! Problem solved! Sure, $200 in Microsoft's pocket. Or you can buy a Kensington or something, $160.

    These costs add up. Suddenly, it is a heck more than $1200 that you think it would be. And that's only i5. For this price, you can pick up a Lenovo 17-inch laptop with an i7 processor, 8GB RAM, even with a BluRay player! (Not so with SP3).

    Take the machine for what it is - which the selling point is Tablet + Laptop function built in one. Some people love it (I do), some people have to have it (that I don't). Not as something to replace your laptop function-for-function at the price for you to pay.

    My advice is: take a careful look at the hardware configuration needed (don't believe the sales guy saying the basic box is all you need). Buy it from a store that offers customer satisfaction guarantee (i.e. free return if not satisfied) for at least 14 days. e.g. Best Buy has a very good return policy. I think Fry's too. Everybody uses the machine in a different way. What works for 90% of "somebody else" may not work for you. Buy one, try it out, test it extensively with everything that you need to use this machine for. You will get a pretty good feel whether it is a keeper after 7 days. Don't create your own fantasy about the machine based on Microsoft's marketing stuff (like "this machine will replace your laptop").
    raziel and trashr0x like this.
    02-22-2015 03:57 AM
  16. rdubmu's Avatar
    The pen is what it makes it great for me. The keyboard is just fine, and if cost is a factor than there are many $400 laptops available.
    trashr0x likes this.
    02-22-2015 08:43 AM
  17. Bolimomo's Avatar
    That's a very good point, rdubmu. I forgot to mention that. Having a pen to use on the tablet, combined with the tablet+laptop built into one are the primary reason I bought a SP3 bearing the extra costs compared to a comparable price-and-performance conventional laptop. The field is narrowing. Many competitors are offering other designs, such as the laptop where you can flip the keyboard upside-down when you use it as a tablet (too heavy for me), or spin the screen around and fold, etc... I haven't found one that offers a pen to write directly on the tablet like a SP3 yet. This feature is very handy to me. I like to scribble down my ideas (just hand-writing, plus diagrams) when I am away from home - coffee shops, restaurants, train depot, etc., where later on I can elaborate on the ideas and turn them into project plans, design drawings, etc. when I get home. All in the same box. That's what SP3 is good for.
    BGrewer likes this.
    02-22-2015 07:04 PM
  18. onlysublime's Avatar
    "Full Replacement for laptop"... well, I think before you get your hope too high, you should get down to take a realistic look at this device and see if it really addresses all your needs, especially from a price perspective.

    First off, I think an i5 is only marginal for what you are planning on doing. i7 may give you a more desirable performance response. And, as you know, there is a big price jump in choosing the different level of processor on the SP3.

    The reality is: SP3 has only 1 USB 3.0 port (which is underpowered), and a mini Displayport. Even the keyboard, excuse me, type cover, is a $129 add-on.

    So... how would you use a SP3 to drive 2 x 23" monitors? Well... you can use the mini Displayport.

    All right, the type-cover keyboard is pretty small. It is nice and dandy taking your SP3 with the type cover to a boardroom taking notes in a meeting, or a university lecture room, as space is tight in those places. But using it in a professional programming capacity for 8-9 hours a day plus some leisure entertainment? Using this small keyboard all day long is miserable! No sweat! I can hook up a USB keyboard to it. (or wireless)... no big deal. Just $20. True. But which USB port are you going to hook it up to? The one that is used for your second 23" monitor? Hmmm... (About how about a little mouse or trackball?)
    So much wrong with this post, I don't even know where to start. His workflow is not that high or intensive. An i5 is definitely fast for these programs. You are completely overestimating the performance delta of the i7 over the i5.

    As for multiple monitors, this is easy, especially with DisplayPort. DisplayPort supports daisy-chaining monitors. Therefore you do not need multiple onboard ports. As for a mini to full Display port adapter, that is very inexpensive (go to Monoprice).

    As for the keyboard, if you want a full-sized solution for long work periods, you can definitely get an inexpensive setup. I have a Logitech wireless USB keyboard and mouse for when I do long periods of work at the computer. Both on the same USB microdongle.

    You can buy USB hubs too if you don't want to buy a docking station.

    I'm just going to skip the rest of the gibberish. It's not worth the time to answer gibberish that doesn't make sense.
    trashr0x likes this.
    02-23-2015 12:18 AM
  19. MobileVortex's Avatar
    Wouldn't a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard be the way to go? They are not that much more expensive.
    trashr0x likes this.
    02-23-2015 06:51 AM
  20. dirtyvu's Avatar
    Yes Bluetooth is another. Anyone that says the SP3 isn't good in a work environment doesn't really know what he's talking about
    trashr0x likes this.
    02-23-2015 01:03 PM
  21. trashr0x's Avatar
    wow, when viewed side by side specs are indeed very similar. thanks!
    02-23-2015 02:34 PM
  22. trashr0x's Avatar
    Thanks for the feedback guys, this is exactly why I posted what my workflow looks like on a regular day.
    I'm really not concerned about the additional costs that owning a SP3 might entail; I'm a desktop guy so I already have the additional hardware (monitors, keyboard/mice, speakers, etc) anyway - I would have purchased a docking station whether I purchased a laptop, ultrabook or hybrid. It all comes down to practicality and personal preference.
    Last edited by trashr0x; 02-23-2015 at 02:55 PM.
    02-23-2015 02:39 PM

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