Short term experience with SP3 I7 512

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro 3' started by Len J, Aug 22, 2014.

  1. Len J

    Len J Active Member

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    I've had the SP3 I7 512 now for a week and I think I've put it through enough paces to have a preliminary conclusion/observations etc that I thought I'd share for people with similar needs and uses FWIW In my home office, I'm running the unit in a docking station with 2 printers running off it, 2 backup desktop drives attached, a wireless Keyboard and mouse and a 27 inch HD display hooked via a Hdmi/dataport adapter plugged into the docking station.

    Overview:

    Good
    - Form factor
    - Keyboard (although I have the trackball turned off permanently)
    - Pen
    - Power
    - Storage
    - General Speed
    - Handwritten Notes and conversion to type in One-Note
    - Usability as a tablet a desktop & a laptop (for me)

    Bad
    - Wifi Inconsistency (since 9/19 update)
    - Automatic Scaling of desktop applications
    - Storage of Pen
    - not having a 4G capability (Nit)

    Detail
    What my needs are.

    I use my SP3 for 3 main functions:
    1.) Heavy Office 365 user. I live in the desktop world of Office 365 Small Business Edition relying heavily on Outlook, Excel, Word, Power-Point, One-Note & Linc as my business management platform, often having all of those open at the same time. I am auto syncing with my One-drive business folder continually to give me both 2 copies of everything as well as giving me remote access if necessary. My Excel Models can be very large with multiple linked sheets and workbooks and often involve iterative calculations, Pivot tables and solver functions.
    2.) Management and development of my Photographs using The Creative Cloud bundle of Lightroom & Photoshop 2014. My Catalog is relatively large and resides on a 2TB portable USB 3 hard drive.
    3.) Browsing for both business research as well as private browsing

    I am attempting to replace a Lenovo W520 with a 512GB HD, a second 1TB Internal (trey) HD & 8GB of memory I7-2760 QM 2.4Ghz that I've had for a few years and has served me needs well. Unfortunately, I got tired of carrying 6 lbs. with charger.

    So far, the SP3 has done everything at least as well if not better than the Lenovo. hard stop. Having multiple Office apps working while downloading 120 Lightroom files from a USB 3 card reader, I watched the performance go from a peak of 2.9Ghz and throttled down to 2.3 as the heat built up. The fan kicked on when Lightroom was about 1/3rd through rendering the High Quality previews I prefer (which is very processor intensive). I downloaded the exact same files on the Lenovo & the SP3 and the start to finish time on the SP3 was about 4% faster.....and there were no Outlook apps open on the Lenovo. For me, that is good enough. The interesting insight (at least for me) is that once the fan kicked on the Processor ran at approximately that 2.3 Ghz level for the remainder of the rendering which tells me that the temperature stabilized with the fan.

    The one-note Handwriting conversion to type has gotten better each day this week. I'm confident it will work for me and save me a ton of time.

    One Other observation...The SP3 feels "snappier". everything from the start-up to opening desktop and Metro applications seem to happen quicker. It's not enormous but to me it is noticeable.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2014
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  2. Moonsurface

    Moonsurface Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Great write up. Interesting observations on Lightroom as that's exactly what I'll be using the SP3 for. I also render high quality previews, I'll be interested to see how it copes since I have RAW files of about 40mb each from my high resolution DSLR!! Even my desktop takes quite a while to render those high quality previews!
     
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  3. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The W520 is a beast with the ergonomics of a concrete block. :)
     
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  4. Len J

    Len J Active Member

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    Continued----

    Now to what I don't like.

    I am one of those that went from perfect Wifi performance to needing to reboot whenever it wakes up from sleep. It's not a big deal, just a PIA. I'm hopeful MS fixes whatever it broke.

    I wish MS would allow you to prioritize the Wifi networks in the event more than one of your networks is available. I have both a 5Ghz and a 2.5Ghz network in the house. The 5 isn't really available in my office, but is available downstairs. I have to manually shift. That's a real nit

    Scaling. It took me a while to get the balance between screen size resolution and font sizes. there should be an easier way to manage this. In addition, originally Adobe Pdf reader (which I use quite a bit) didn't scale at all and was always the too large for either screen. They fixed it, but I've experienced it with other apps.

    I wish there was a way to auto exit Apps still running in the background that I have "closed" on the screen.

    Last two are I wish there was better Pen storage and a 4G capability. I now use my phone as a Wifi hotspot when necessary, but it sure would make things easier.

    All in all, with a few weeks left before I have to decide to return or keep, it's a resounding keep.

    Nice unit overall.

    Len
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2014
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  5. Len J

    Len J Active Member

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    I have a D3 12 Mpix 14 bit Raw files just for comparison

    Len
     
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  6. Len J

    Len J Active Member

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    LOL. Carrying the SP3, charger, mouse, keyboard and case....I think I've lost almost 4 lbs.

    Len
     
  7. Len J

    Len J Active Member

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    BTW, that is also why I wanted to compare both machines with the same download......... it really gave me a good idea of gains/losses.

    YMMV

    Len
     
  8. malberttoo

    malberttoo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Have you ever seen a W720? Insanely large and heavy. The power brick alone is comically huge. One of my users insisted on one years ago and has since repented. I'm trying to turn her onto a SP3 now...
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2014
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  9. malberttoo

    malberttoo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Nice write-up Len!
     
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  10. bluegrass

    bluegrass Well-Known Member

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    I would like to see more "where the rubber meets the road" posts like yours.
     
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  11. mohcho

    mohcho Active Member

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    Great real life experience write-up.
     
  12. Moonsurface

    Moonsurface Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks that's interesting, mine will be D800 files, 36mp, I'm expecting it to wheeze... quite a bit, BUT it will be my travel companion, and I'm not expecting the performance to match my 2 year old home build desktop PC (benchmarks suggest PC twice as good as SP3 no surprises there really as not only is it the full blown i5 processor it's also got a dedicated graphics card), as long as it beats my old Dell laptop in to the shade I'll be happy, and my old laptop managed to import and render previews from a days shooting with the D800.... eventually :)
     

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