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SP4 $899 M3 vs $999 I5 (What to buy as a primary tablet?)

What to buy as a primary tablet? $899 M3 or $999 I5

  • $899 M3

    Votes: 2 33.3%
  • $999 I5

    Votes: 4 66.7%

  • Total voters


New Member
Surface Team,

I am looking to buy a Surface Pro 4 today! Just wanted to seek your guidance to help with my decision.

For me this will primarily be a tablet that also happens to do PC work when needed. I am not a student or an artist. This will primarily be for web browsing, video streaming, Hearthstone (and any other tablet based games), and the occasional Microsoft Office usage (probably just Word and Excel).

Logic says the $100 jump is nothing so just get the I5 version. However the M3 being fanless is a nice touch. I've seen conflicting reports as far as battery life and the M3 having a slower SSD (which for my usage may not matter).

Based on this short post what would you guys/gals recommend? What can I do on the I5 that I can't do on the M3? Based on what I'm doing would the I5 fans even power on or be very loud anyways?


Super Moderator
Staff member
in terms of power, your usage really won't benefit very much from having the i5. I could certainly have gotten away with the M3 myself, however had the money so went the i5 route for those "just in case" moments. At only $100 though, that does make a tough call. I'd probably be going for i5, that's just a weekends drinking money :)


Active Member
I went the opposite route.. I figured why 'waste' $100 for something I didn't need. Plus, that extra $100 will almost give you a free type cover.. :D


Super Moderator
Staff member
LOUD. Far far more noticeable than the SP3 fan noise.

However, the only time my fan comes on is when i fullscreen an internet video on an external display while doing something on the surface display as well. I only have power from 10am to 5pm, so last night had it in bed to watch some films, and it was completely silent. In fact other than an OS update, when not plugged into an external monitor, i've never heard the fan start spinning.


Active Member
For your use, I doubt you'd ever hear the fan unless doing massive Windows updates or something task heavy. I edit 1080p video on the core M and have no issue. I'd bet the fan would get seriously loud if I had the i5 however.. On my previous SP3 i3 the fan would get crazy loud and the unit blazing hot when editing video. My core M is quiet and it stays amazingly cool all things considered.


New Member
Get the core m, I got i5 at first, then sadly returned it because the fan kicks in as soon as u open Hearthstone. It was pretty annoying cause u don't want to hear any fan noice while playing Hearthstone.

I switched to m3 now, amazing performance (at least in Hearthstone) as well and for my usage, I can't notice any difference except for the awesome silenceness :).


New Member
How do those fans sound on that i5 version?
It sounds like a laptop processor fan...its not loud at allnamd rarely comes on. I'm assuming some of these people are only using their Surface is the same room as a very fussy sleeping baby if they think its loud.

You can also just change the settings in the power plan to slow the processor instead of turning the fan on.


Active Member
I think the M3 is a great choice, but I got the i5 just for the processing power in the future. I wouldn't have even updated my SP2 if it weren't for the screen size bump and the better type cover (especially for the track pad). I plan to keep my SP4 for a while, and I think the i5 vs m3 is a better buy for processing package for now, and for a year or 2 from now... But that's based on MY usage 100%. Fanless is very nice though, hmm.....
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