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Microsoft's firmware updates are throttling the Surface Pro 6 and Surface Book 2 to 400...

By Humza · 10 replies
Aug 16, 2019
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  1. To put things into perspective, the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 with its lowest spec i5-8250U runs at a base frequency of 1.6Ghz while an i5-8350U at 1.7Ghz powers the lowest spec Surface Book 2 15", so it can be quite frustrating if your device suddenly drops to a quarter of its processing speed.

    That's what recent user reports have indicated where their "ultra-portables are throttling the processor down to 400 MHz, a state that—in some instances—persists across reboots," says TechRepublic.

    The issue apparently, has to do with processor throttling that's erroneously kicking in by setting an Intel CPU flag called BD PROCHOT (bi-directional process hot). The flag can be set by any peripheral and is a safety feature designed to protect the system from overheating. Although the CPU could be operating within its thermal limits, this flag can be set if one or more components linked to the CPU are at the limit of crossing theirs.

    The publication also notes that while BD PROCHOT is not unique to Surface devices, the recent emergence of user reports around these systems is indicative of a correlation at minimum. "We are aware of some customers reporting a scenario with their Surface Books where CPU speeds are slowed," said a Microsoft spokesperson, and that the company is "quickly working to address via firmware update."

    It still remains unclear what exactly is triggering this throttle-lock. Some users report that the issue is resolved after disconnecting the Surface Dock or AC adapter while others blame a third-party antivirus software behind the slowdown. Whatever maybe the cause, affected owners of these devices should soon expect a firmware fix from Microsoft.

    Permalink to story.

  2. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,622   +1,219

    I think there are even more bugs than that.

    My TORCH BROWSER started acting up after Microsoft issued the last update.

    My friend's Dell inspiron went through restart hell with that update.
  3. GregonMaui

    GregonMaui TS Booster Posts: 171   +59

    Surface Pros says "Buy a Mac"

    Interesting I just checked the surface pro 6 to the Mac book pro 13 on Geekbench. Mac book pro is faster. Can someone make money by suing Microsoft for misleading advertisements?
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  4. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,606   +1,593

    Which MacBook Pro (year)? And which Surface Pro model? i7?

    Cause I'd love to see a copy of your benchmarks...

    Digitalzone and ForgottenLegion like this.
  5. GregonMaui

    GregonMaui TS Booster Posts: 171   +59

    Obviously the current year models, that is what MS commercial is about.

    Its easy to do it yourself, but here are the links, if you have never researched it before, remember to sort by multi-core score, I take a cluster of top scores, because Geekbench does a bad job of filtering the outliers (just look at the lowest scores (who knows what somebody was doing when they calculated those, running handbrake?)).

    here is the surface pro: http://browser.geekbench.com/v4/cpu/search?dir=desc&q=surface+pro+6&sort=multicore_score the SB6 peaks at 14,526 with the i7 and and 14,700 for the i5 running windows. (Must be some serious throttling going on on the i7, or the number of people who bought them is too low to get good benchmarks, because the i7-8650U peaks at 15,595)

    The 13 inch MBP running the slowest processor (i5-8257U 1400 MHz) peaks at 17,870. http://browser.geekbench.com/v4/cpu/search?dir=desc&q=+i5-8257U&sort=multicore_score

    As 17870 is faster than 14700 , the MBP is hands-down faster than the SP6.
  6. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,547   +439

    I'm dealing with that issue with a Surface Pro 6, Getting provider to replace the thing outright, maybe it won't have the firmware in question.... I've been using third party software to manually set the BD PROCHOT flag and then it is okay... until the tablet is turned off/restarted.
  7. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,606   +1,593

    Ok, I see the problem now... you’re comparing “apples to oranges”.. you’re supposed to be comparing apples to surfaces :)

    The $1800 MacBook is obviously going to be faster than the $800 Surface... try comparing the ones that cost the same maybe?
  8. Lew Zealand

    Lew Zealand TS Guru Posts: 834   +730

    Surface Pro 6 with the Core i7-8650U is around $1800 with the type cover. Top Surface Pro 6 in GB is 14749 in Multi-Core.

    $1800 13" 2019 MBPro with a Core i5-8279U. Top 13" 2019 Core i5-8279U MBPro is 18831 in GB.

    Pretty easy comparo. Advantage to Surface is that it has 16/512GB while the Mac is 8/250GB at this price. Advantage to the Mac is Iris Plus 655 iGPU vs. Surface's UHD 620.
  9. GregonMaui

    GregonMaui TS Booster Posts: 171   +59

    What prices are you using? Not US. Even undercounted Apple prices are way lower than you state. Lowest price MBP which was used in Geekbench comparison is $1299, and with 256 SSD is $1499. (discounts are available frequently)

    Ram is not easy comparison, because Windows just needs a lot more RAM, just does. larger SSD is Nice though, and Apple's i5 (low end) blows away SP6's i7. Price advantage: MBP, plus it's not windows
  10. GregonMaui

    GregonMaui TS Booster Posts: 171   +59

    I didn't make the commercial, Microsoft did. It is not clear what they meant to say, did they compare to a macBook that is no longer sold? Well those are way cheaper, and less powerful, than the SB6

    The MBP I compared is $1299 before any discounts, surely you can research that before stating incorrect things as fact.

    Also, the $800 is actually $899 (before discount on MS that is 8GB and 128 GB SSD), the keyboard is $129 so that is $1029) . I'll take a track pad over touch everyday of the week that ends in "y". I tried using touch and a keyboard for awhile, bad user experience - period. (the SB6 is old tech now, and discounted pretty heavily)
  11. dualkelly

    dualkelly TS Booster Posts: 86   +59

    Here is a great solution. Turn off windows update permanently requires a few tools but you won't end up bricking your system as quickly as Microsoft will.

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