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Anyone have experience with BOTH the i5 and i7?


Has anyone had experience using both the i5 (preferably 256gb version) and i7 versions of the Surface Pro 3? I'm curious for some feedback on how you would compare the two (Perceived performance, I've seen the benchmark scores, but can you notice the difference in actual use? in what use cases?) (fan noise/heat) (battery life). Including any specific use cases in the comparison would be helpful.

Most folks have experience with only one device or the other. And the professional reviewers seem to have only been given the i5. So it's difficult to find information on comparisons...I'm using an i7 and wrestling with the idea of downgrading to i5/256gb.


I have an i7 and my wife has the i5 both 256gig. To be honest I haven't really noticed any major difference. Maybe the i7 is a tiny bit faster but really for everyday use you wouldn't notice it. They both rock. I think the i5 is probably the sweet spot for these devices.


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I found particular programs such as MYOB would run much faster on the i7, a lot faster. It uses SQL Server so it may be the extra on chip memory has an influence as it transfers tables and records back and forth.

The i5 I was comparing it to is the i5 in the SP2. It was also faster on IE but not hugely so.

The performance can be program specific.

They tempt you with more storage, then more RAM and Storage then the i7 then the i7 with more storage.

If you're not using it for work I'd go with the i5. If you really need the best performance and it is tax deductible or someone else is paying for it then buy the i7.


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I had an i5 on launch day and returned it after a couple weeks, then bought the i7 in mid-August.

at first the i7 overheated and ran the fan all the time, so I almost took it back for the i5. but the early September updates seemed to solve it for the most part. right now I'm running it with two external screens plugged in and not a sound.

I've not had them side by side to compare performance, but my general impression is that the i7 is a bit zippier. that's hardly a scientific opinion though.


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The i7 is definitely a bit zippier and you can tell under load such as I mention in my linked posts. I still think I want the i7, but realistically I don't think I need it, even for my 4k video editing of my track events.


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The i7 version has significantly faster graphics and I suspect a better SSD. But the CPU itself is no more than 10% faster than the i5, especially in the thermal envelope of the SP3.


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I've used both, and even for tasks like SQL Server, the i5 is fine. But that's just my experience.


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The i7 version has significantly faster graphics and I suspect a better SSD. But the CPU itself is no more than 10% faster than the i5, especially in the thermal envelope of the SP3.
The SSD is the same, (two vendors Samsung or Hynix although they could switch to Crucial or brandX without notice) it's the faster CPU that makes disk ops quicker between i5 & i7.


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I have had both. The only place I really noticed a difference (and was important to me) was gaming. I want to be able to game on mine in addition to doing work. The gaming is superior. Don't put a case on it that insulates the back panel and if possible point a USB fan at the spot on the back right hand side. It will fly and weighs a quarter of what a normal gaming laptop would weigh.

Enrico D.

The temperature of i5 is around 4 up to 6 degrees celsius less than i7,
I suppose that this means that cooler could not activate the fan for a couple of % more of cpu usare.
My i7 usually below 10% usage is silent in 100% of cases, when cpu go above 12% start to eat and if I keep it around 14/15% soon the fan will activate, but not so much noisy, but if I could have it silent all the day I usually try to stay always below 10% usage (i7). My wife has i5 and attact me a lot this, so if I will upgrade a day I will go for i5 or even i3 if with sufficient memory and able to manage always a 2560x1600 display external via mini display port. I don't need a faster cpu because not a gamer, and doesn't change me to so much to work under i5 or i7. My mistake to have bought the i7, I should have saved some money and gone for i5 me too.


Thanks for all the replies. GTiceman provided a ton of great, very specific comparisons for his use case in those links...thanks for adding them here.

I think I'll stick with the i7.

I'm not as concerned about the cost difference. Just trying to get the best device for my uses. Of note, for me, I've had some atrocious batter life. And that's primarily what's having me think this through. But all indications from everyone else is that battery life should be similar, and in some use cases, better with the i7.

My first several battery cycles estimate battery life between 3 - 4 hours in the battery report. My last now estimates 6.5 hours. Not much installed, the only modern app with any usage is IE11. And I can't find any crazy processes running in the background. I'm chalking it up to these early days with multiple updates, indexing, etc. chewing batter life. Will see if it continues to improve.

I also found that my router does not support WMM Power Save (according to the energy report)...this might be a contributor. It's hard to find information on which routers DO support this....maybe all modern routers? (I've got a dual band Linksys WRT610N)

Will keep investigating...