Surface Pro 4: Core m3 or Core i5 processor?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by saintforlife, Nov 3, 2015.

  1. saintforlife macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    With all the heating and excessive fan noise being reported on the SP4, does it just make sense to go with the m3 model for regular light usage scenarios - web browsing, video streaming and MS office applications? Will the M3 model be able to handle HD Netflix and YouTube streaming without any issues? What about content heavy webpages such as The Verge? Will scrolling be smooth on such heavy duty webpages? In what applications or scenarios will the M3 with 4GB RAM struggle compared to the i5 with 8GB RAM?
     
  2. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    Jun 11, 2009
    #2
    The M3 model will easily handle the stuff you mentioned. Don't let the 4gb fool you, windows works dynamically to use that RAM efficiently. I never had issues doing with you want to do with Atom powered tablets 2 years ago, much less a full CPU like the m3.

    BTW my SP4 isn't so bad. It had a lot of fan action the first few days I had it while it indexed, and also synced my 80gb onedrive collection. After those first couple of days my fan rarely goes on now. But even with that said, if you are not going to do more than what you mentioned why waste the extra money on an i5.
     
  3. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #3
    I personally think the core i5/8GB/256GB configuration is the sweet spot. The M3 maybe ok for meeting your needs now, but it may not hold up as well in the future. Throw in the fact that the 128GB storage is a little on the small end of the scale and you may be having some level of buyers remorse.
     
  4. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #4
    I'll agree, though only for the fact the M3 option is limited to 4GB RAM. The processor and GPU have held up incredibly well through everything I've thrown at them, far exceeding my expectations. If it weren't for being so memory limited, I'd consider it the secret best SP4 configuration.
     
  5. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    #5
    That's my issue, the 128gb storage. The 4gb honestly doesn't worry me with the tasks you've said you want to use. 2-3 years of using Atom processors with 4gb RAM and no issues or slowdowns. With that said I pretty much don't do much more than you do, and I chose the i5/8/256 for myself, and will probably trade it in and get the i7/16/512, but partly because I like to dabble with PC desktop games.
     
  6. Robstevo macrumors 6502

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    #6
    How much is a difference in performance is there between the m3 And the surface pro 3' i3 processor ?
     
  7. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #7
    According to Geekbench, it beats the hell out of the SP3 i3, coming in closer to the SP3 i5 in performance, though it does fall behind comparatively in multicore tests.

    For what it is, it's pretty damn impressive. Though if you're still concerned about it, I'd probably go ahead and recommend spending the extra $100 for the entry level SP4 i5.
     
  8. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #8
    Interesting to see the Core m3-6Y30 close to the i5's performance but we know that the SP3 is throttled.
     
  9. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #9
    True. Though it's the throttling that makes the SP4 over the SP3 in my opinion. You can sustain heavier loads for longer periods of time with the newer Surfaces without sacrificing performance.

    This might not interest you too much, but it works as a good stress test. This one game I've been playing on my SP4. On the 3's, you get a nice framerate for the first few minutes, but once the throttling kicks it, it'll drop down to 10-15 FPS, making it nigh unplayable. I assumed it'd work about as well on my fanless SP4 as it did on the i5 SP3. But...nope. I maintain a constant 30+ FPS, even after an hour and a half of playing. It does make the machine pretty warm, and I'm sure if I were benchmarking it, I'd see it fluctuating. But in casual usage, you don't notice any issues whatsoever.

    Of all the reasons to upgrade, I'd say the better cooling is the biggest draw.
     
  10. whodatrr macrumors 6502a

    whodatrr

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    #10
    Would be cool in MS didn't handicap the M3, and offered it with 8GB RAM. One thing I don't get is why the battery life on the M3 comes up worse than the SP4 i5? Seems they should have been able to squeeze a lot more out of that little CPU? An SP4 with a M3 toting 8GB RAM and 14 or so hours of battery life would be a compelling little beast. Maybe that's what they're looking at the Surface 4 for?
     
  11. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #11
    As it turns out, the M3 uses a slightly smaller battery than the others in the line. That's probably the main reason why it's at least on par, if not a little worse than the i5, while you'd expect it to be better.
     
  12. burgman macrumors 65816

    burgman

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    #12
    Why is this an issue? The SSD is so fast I doubt anyone could tell when the pagefile is being used in normal usage.
     
  13. j26 macrumors 65832

    j26

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    #13
    What about light video editing - family videos and such, not professional stuff. Would the m3 have enough power for that?
     
  14. apolloa macrumors G3

    apolloa

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    #14
    Some gaming videos of the M3 Pro 4





    Considering it can even run Fallout 4 I'd say its an impressive machine for a fanless design.
     
  15. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #15
    I don't know if this helps, but I find my SP3 to be adequate with Lighroom, so editing images is ok. I know its not the same thing but performance seems decent.
     
  16. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #16
    Yup. I've been playing Pillars of Eternity perfectly on my m3, which could barely run on the SP3 due to throttling. To toot the same horn I've been tooting since I could toot it, it is a surprisingly stout machine all around.

    I can't speak from experience on this one, but on a good semi-educated guesstimation, if you stick to 1080p video, it'll probably do pretty well.
     
  17. apolloa macrumors G3

    apolloa

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    #17
    M3 Surface Pro 4 playing Battlefield 4 very nicely on low settings:

     
  18. VertPin macrumors 6502

    VertPin

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    Nov 12, 2015
    #18
    Do not fool yourself, get the i5 version if you can. Definitely future proof your device.
     

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