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back to article Microsoft Surface slabs borked by heat-induced DIM SCREEN OF DEATH

The latest generation of Microsoft Surface tablets are overheating, causing the screens to dim to the point they are unusable - but it's OK, people, Microsoft is onto it and a fix is coming. Frustrated customers have taken to the Microsoft community forums to complain that the device runs hot when playing games, or while running …

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Anonymous Coward

I don't buy any new tech until the second version comes out.

With MS I wait for the fourth.

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With MS I wait for the fourth.

That's a little unkind. Generally they get it right on the third go.

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Re: With MS I wait for the fourth.

Don't you mean 3.1th go?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: With MS I wait for the fourth.

Generally speaking, every other release is bad when it comes to the software. So, the question that begs to be answered is this. Was the Surface (1) the good model or is it the Surface 2?

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N2
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Re: With MS I wait for the fourth.

Wasnt it the 2000th go?

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Look, it's very simple

Version 1 is at best beta quality, incomplete and full of bugs

Version 2 fixes most of the bugs

Version 3 adds the missing features and is what the customers actually wanted.

Version 4 adds new, flashy stuff and breaks it.

Version 5 fixes the problems with version 4 and is again what was wanted.

Version 6 has a whole new UI (for poorly explained reasons), and is once again broken.

Version 7 fixes version 6

etc.

So you should get in at version 3 and then upgrade every other version.

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Re: With MS I wait for the fourth.

Wasnt it the 2000th go?

I hear Microsoft is keen for us server admins to embrace their 2012th attempt…

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Anonymous Coward

This is why you don't make your own hardware if you're a software company.

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Anonymous Coward

> This is why you don't make your own hardware if you're a software company.

To be fair it's apparently a software fault.

Just don't expect decent products from a company that proves over and over again that they are largely incapable of producing such.

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"To be fair it's apparently a software fault."

From their specs:

"Operating temperature. Surface is designed to work between 32°F and 95°F (or 0°C to 35°C)."

That means, it's certified to work within that temperature range with no strings attached. If it's overheating when running flat stick - it's a hardware issue. Intentionally slowing it down to keep it within the temp spec is a piss weak technique - even if it is common practice. (Oh boy, the things I could tell you about some of the gear I've seen that fixed faults in firmware....)

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Anonymous Coward

Re - To be fair

Aren't Microsoft a software company?

Either way, to be fair, Microsoft shouldn't have let this through beta-test

To be fair, isn't this version 2?

Has any other company in this market entertained their competition by fumbling like this?

Isn't their machine priced high for some reason to do with quality

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Most modern portable devices

use software throttling to keep themselves within power and thermal envelopes. Even desktop class machines adjust their clock speed based on load (Turbo Boost anyone?).

What the adjusted software WILL do is invalidate any benchmark results.

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I'd love to know how overheating is a software fault.

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Thermal management is a software function

It's not overheating, but rather the software is taking overly aggressive measures aimed at reducing the heat inside the enclosure. It seems that these measures are being taken when the internal temperature isn't persistently high enough to warrant them, hence the promise of a software fix.

The screen backlight is a major source of heat, often more so than the CPU, and keeping the temperature down is paramount when your enclosure has little or no ventilation, and you've got a heat-sensitive Lithium-ion battery in close proximity. (Excessive heat will permanently reduce Li-ion battery capacity, which will shorten the working life of the device)

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Happy

Microsoft _Has_ Made Good Hardware

I have a gamepad that is articulated in the middle that is great fun to use, and a Trackball Explorer that is really great also. Of course, they're both discontinued with the most recent OS version the game pad can be used with being XP. So maybe they got rid of all their good hardware people and removed their products so they could start fresh! (...and screw it up without interference!!)

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Microsofties at their *best*

They really said "unnecessary dimming event"? Didn't use the words "fault" or "issue", just "event".

If it's a spade, call it a f()c&!ng shovel.

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Trollface

Re: Microsofties at their *best*

"If it's a spade, call it a f()c&!ng shovel."

Don't you mean "landscape manipulation tool"?

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Re: Microsofties at their *best*

IBM in the 60s used to call them "unexpected features" IIRC.

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Thermal temperatures

There are other ones?

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Re: Thermal temperatures

Yes, how about Colour Temperatures?

Though I think I'd be worried if your Surface 2 was glowing at 2700K...

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analysts...

"Research analyst Pin Chen Tang said Microsoft needs to prove to channel partners and people buying the Surface that it is "in this market for the long haul"."

He is so wrong.

Microsoft needs to prove that the Surface doesn't SUCK as much as every techie friend you have is telling you it does!

I am one of those techie friends, and EVERYONE I know has been told by me that those devices simply suck, and cost WAY too much for what they can actually do.

So far... Microsoft has yet to prove me wrong.

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Re: analysts...

"EVERYONE I know has been told by me that those devices simply suck"

What about it sucks? Go on, be specific. Saying they suck is a blanket statement that implies that these device are unfit for purpose, that the software and hardware don't work.

My experience is different, I can browse the web, access my email, calendar, Skype, Netflix, games, Kindle etc etc. It doesn't crash or fail on me, everything tends to work pretty well, and so far no sign of a screen issue - very far from the concept of it 'sucking'. So before demanding Microsoft prove you wrong, how about you lay out your case a little more intelligently and prove to us all why you are /right/?

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Meh

Re: analysts...

Most people can do all that and more on something half the price...

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Re: analysts...

Have to agree with Railcat here. I wanted a tablet, but I also needed to run a couple of Windows only programs. The Surface Pro 2 has done what I needed it to do. I don't like everything about Windows 8 and the TIFKAM is mostly useless for me. But I use the tablet every day and have had no major issues.

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Re: analysts...

They can say it sucks without ever having seen or used one because they are IT Gods. and so everything they say must be true

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Re: analysts...

See, that's exactly the problem. The Surface doesn't suck at all, not one bit and the only people who say it does are supposed tech writers who should know better. Other than Candy Crush and some other apps name me one thing the iPad can do that the Surface can't. I'll name you several that the Surface can that the iPad can't.

Full size USB 3.0

16:9 1080p screen so movies take up 50% more screen than on iPad

DVI out

Running 3 apps at the same time seamlessly

Proper remote desktop to server resources using ts gateway

Charge and use a peripheral at the same time

Live tiles

The article is right that stock was extremely low but it's getting better and my Surface 2 (not Pro) is the best tablet I've ever used.

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Holmes

Err well...

'And like everyone else I have no control over this once it starts,'

Well yes, you do - throw it away and buy what you should have bought in the first place - an iPad.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Err well...

You must know a lot about this tech to make such a comment LvH so advice please. Which model of iPad SoC do you favour - lower performance Bay Trail or better to shell out for a high performance Haswell processor like the Surface Pro 2?

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Stop

Re: Err well...

The Surface 2 is ARM powered, just like the iPad Air, but with a less powerful SoC. The Surface 2 Pro uses a Haswell, just like the MacBook Air, but with a poorer battery life, an optional extra keyboard and only two working screen angles you can set it to. The Pro is more expensive than an equivalently spec'd MacBook.

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Luckily the screen is non stick

You can cool it down more quickly be cracking an egg onto it. When fully set, flip the egg between two slices of bread for a tasty sandwich. The warranty allows for this.

Fact.

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FAIL

Microsoft FAIL

Typical. A product no one wants, running an operating system no one likes, in a market where no one thinks Microsoft is welcome.

Listen up, Microsoft: no one wants you here. Your product sucks, and no one is buying it because your monopoly has not taken hold in the tablet space. Do yourselves a favor: cancel the entire product line, shut down Vista RT and Vista Phone, and use your developers' time to de-ribbonize everything.

Mobile is all about Android and Apple. Nobody wants Microsoft there. Nobody likes Microsoft there. Microsoft is not welcome there.

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xyz
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Re: Microsoft FAIL

whilst I agree with most of...

Do yourselves a favor: cancel the entire product line, shut down Vista RT and Vista Phone, and use your developers' time to de-ribbonize everything.

However, not all of us want to buy our kit and s/ware from the Gattaca Walled Garden of Purity or the GoogleMart Advertorium. Hopefully at MS any future cock ups will be referred to as "doing a Ballmer" and we can get some proper business functionality out of them.

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Re: Microsoft FAIL

@Mr Foobar

While I don't hate MS, if I did, I'd want them to keep pissing away piles of cash to achieve a rounding error 's share of the market.

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I have a Surface 2. So far, whilst it indeed does get quite warm when running intensive activities like games (yes, there are Games in the Windows Store, no, not just Solitaire), I've yet to see any screen dimming.

I like my Surface 2, it does all the things I want it to do, including a few things I couldn't do with an Android tablet or an iPad. Doesn't mean I'm not totally respectful toward people who like their iPads or Samsung tabs or whatever - feel free to use what you want.

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Anonymous Coward

> Doesn't mean I'm not totally respectful toward people who like their iPads or Samsung tabs or whatever - feel free to use what you want.

No, Switzerland!! You either take sides or piss off to arstechnica and stuff while crucial platform wars are being decisively fought right here on The Reg Forums.

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It has come to this

Redmond astroturfers have gone from sneering derisively at other tablet products, calling them toys, their buyers iTards and Fandroids, to pleading for permission for their product to exist at all out of respect for diversity of choice. Of course if they ever achieve a decent share it will be right back to the takeout strategy. No sale. We are on to you. You oppose progress. That we have all these cool new things without your permission is offensive to you. You will not be allowed to play in this new world because you cheat, you are a bully, you are no fun.

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Well said a balanced friendly comment

Well said Rallicat a nice comment, well balanced and offensive to nobody. Maybe its the season of goodwill on the Reg after all!

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Re: It has come to this

The sneering derision come from ifans and fandroids. These people are fucktards who think that no-one else is allowed on their patch. They themselves can't play nicely as they sue each other into oblivion about rounded corners swipe to unlock. If they are the future of computing, god help us all.

Grow up little boy, competition is good for everybody, even from companies that have tried to manipulate markets to their own benefit (I'm looking at you Apple) and squeeze the opposition out.

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Competition

"competition is good for everybody"

True. Microsoft has been in the tablet market since the 1990s and the phone market since 2001.

Thank goodness for competition or we'd still be stuck with their shite.

I think what RealFred was trying to do was play the "Give Microsoft a chance" card. Well they've had all the chance they need (almost 20 years in tablet space and about 5 or 6 generations during that time). They had the market stitched up but blew it.

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Re: It has come to this

"You will not be allowed to play in this new world because you cheat, you are a bully, you are no fun.

Darn, you left out, "and your mother dresses you funny!"

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Re: Competition

No, what I was trying to say was don't accuse Microsoft of trying to manipulate markets when Apple has been caught doing the same thing and Google has been caught manipulating search results for their own benefit.

I've used ipads, Microsoft tablets and Android tablets. They all have their area of suckiness

I really don't give a fuck what you use.

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Sil
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Not experienced this problem so far

I don't play games on my Surface 2 but I haven't experienced dimmed screens with full time browsing, video watching, 2 'appsing' or using office.

In fact I find the screen positively gorgeous.

I wonder if some of these users aren't experiencing auto-dimming, which one can of course deactivate.

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Pint

ZX81

What? Doesn't the old ZX81 milk carton trick work on the Surface?

This might also work (but not for long) -------------------------->

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Headmaster

One question.

Does El Reg have any idea about what percentage of customers are experiecing these problems. It would seem to me that such information would be of interest.....hm...?

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Re: One question.

Both of them in fact!

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Anonymous Coward

This is why people should have bought the RT version

Frustrated customers have taken to the Microsoft community forums to complain that the device runs hot when playing games, or while running two applications at once.

With the RT version you don't get this problem because with the RT version you can only run one application at once...

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Re: This is why people should have bought the RT version

One app at once..….Just like iOS and people seem to like that restriction, which is why MS thought it was a good idea!

Windows mobile was great due to multiple things running.

Google and android think multiple running apps are the way to go. But does all the hardware standup to it?

Down votes from all sides result ;-)

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Re: This is why people should have bought the RT version

Maybe in line with their Xbox branding, they should have called it "Windows One" and the device, the "Surface One".

Because you can only do One thing at a time on it. For the rest of us, it's the One to avoid.

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Re: This is why people should have bought the RT version

I don't know where you got the idea that Windows RT doesn't multitask. It does. Video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ODZ928qke8

In fairness, I also thought RT was mono-tasking initially... It's a sign of MS's bungled marketing on these devices that such a genuinely useful feature got next to no exposure from Microsoft.

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One app at once..….Just like iOS

Isn't that like iOS version 1 - 3 or something?

Years out of date?

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