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Considering an SP4 M3/i5 - Does it have the power?


New Member
I'm new to the surface family, as up until now I have been using the Note 10.1 2014 for my digital sketching and tablet needs. But I have always wanted one, as I would love to be able to use my adobe desktop apps directly on the tablet, instead of using android mini-apps.

So basically, I would be using:

minimal After Effects (but most of the proper stuff would be done on my iMac).

Also the usual media, browser, and ebook usages. But I suspect my adobe stuff would be the most intensive tasks.

My thinking is towards the i5 with 8gb of ram, but the issue I am having is that I have heard a few stories of the i5 fan being very noisy, even under minimal loads... and so I am considering the fanless M3 instead. It's just a shame it only comes with 4gb RAM as an option.

So I was just wondering, now that the SP4 is out in america (I'm in the UK so I still have a couple weeks to wait), if anyone has any hands-on thoughts?

Can the M3 run a full illustrator / photoshop situation without any slowdown or lag? Is it smooth? Or would I be noticeably better off with the i5?

How bad is the i5 fan really?

Thanks guys for any help :)


Well-Known Member
Welcome to the forum

Will those programs rum on the M3, probably. Will you be happy with the way it performs, not likely. You need at least an i5 with 8GB RAM to get satisfactory performance.


Active Member
It's something you will have to try for yourself. There are a number of people who have reported satisfactory performance with the retina MacBook using the Core-M processor for Photoshop/photo/video editing tasks. A number of professionals have reported that it is far more usable than people would have led them to believe. But it really comes down to how you personally use the computer and what your expectations are.


New Member
Well, I'll be coming from the galaxy note 10.1 2014, so it's among the most powerful tablets around... but it's still only an android based tablet. The apps it has available are ok, sometimes even pretty good (like sketchbook pro) but having full desktop capability will again be a big improvement.

Mainly my thoughts are power vs annoying fan noise. If the fans aren't that bad, the i5 would be my first choice, if only to help future proof myself.

Unfortunatly its not possible to try for myself, as where I am I can only purchase one online. Or pre-order anyway, as it's not released for another 2 weeks or so.
The i5 with 8GB RAM has been plenty powerful enough for me. I have noticed the fan on when downloading and installing apps or when Windows update kicks in. It hasn't been terribly loud. I'm coming from a first generation Surface Pro where the fan was very noticeable when you tax the processor.

So far, the S4 sounds like a whisper. It's there and will make you wonder if you are hearing things but not interrupt anything you're doing.