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Was the SD Card Reader changed or slower?

So the Microsoft Store has Surface Pro 6 8 GB 256 GB i5 Models on the floor. The CPU is a 1.6 GHz Quad Core but I had just tested Surface Pro 2017 models the week before from the SD Card reader. This was due to me purposely looking to get a Surface to then read .RAW or .ARW formats from my Digital Camera (Sony 5r and A7r3).

As such the model I tested last week didn't have issues reading images, it immediately opened the .RAW files in most cases natively to then allow me to quickly filter the photos and then delete the bad ones via the Surface (my intended use).

Last week I had also tested the Surface Go, which was noticeably slower due to the cheaper SD Card Reader in the Surface Go, it can't handle opening files as it takes 1-6 seconds to open them in the photo viewer (even .JPG files). However, the Surface Pro 2017 model I tested last week didn't have any issues reading files directly off of the SD Card.

The Downside from my test today with the Surface Pro 6 was that reading the exact same files I had from my SD Card from last week were opening in about 1-5 seconds which is closer to the Surface Go's horrible performance.

Was the SD Card switched out with a cheaper model or the CPUs are just throttled more to where burst reading files like this may be an issue?
Or would the removal of the Iris graphics in the Surface Pro 6 line then ultimately greatly decrease the graphical capabilities and thus make it less ideal for reading images, digital editing and the such as I had intended?

I was all set to pre0rder a Surface Pro 6 but after this, I think I'll have to wait until formal reviews on benchmarks, stress tests as well as seeing if they cheapened out on the SD Card reader or if the lack of graphics is a bigger deterrent for photo editing performance. If anyone knows at this point it would be greatly appreciated.


Super Moderator
Staff member
It sounds like there may be an issue with your test and its repeatability is in question. AFAIK the reason the SP6 is largely identical to the SP 5/2017 is they probably just replaced the CPU on the same motherboard, meaning nothing else changed. That said there are often multiple suppliers of components and it is possible the card reader is a different model between two different units but that may not be the reason for the discrepancy.

Did you speak with someone at the store about the issue? They may be able to do some checks to see what's what.

Also, most reviews I have ever seen don't even test the SD card reader at all.


New Member
That's what I was doing when I was testing the computer in store. They had the Surface Pro i5 8250u 8 GB models on floor for testing purposes and it was just slower. Even asking about the i7 models for testing they couldn't confirm this at all for me. At all. It entirely could be something with a firmware or issue where it was having issues to load things but ultimately it doesn't explain why the exact same photos I had last week on an i5 7300u Surface Pro 2017 model with 8 GB RAM would load images off of the exact same SD Card (same photos) more quickly unless the general CPU frequency is slower. Such as:

i5-7300u - 2.6 GHz up to 3.4 GHz
i5-8250u - 1.6 or 1.8 GHz up to 3.4 GHz

But again it may entirely be a case of early test models or maybe an update would address this but as is I would have to test this again or wait until more thorough reviews, as well as digital editing reviews, come out with actual software tests as well. I was excited to get it on launch but really it has me worried or mixed this may not be the system I was hoping it was.

In asking multiple times in store and places I really got 0 answers and also no answers and no confirmation when/if Microsoft will get the i7 models for testing on the floor at all (I asked and they asked everyone in store and no confirmation if this will ever happen where I live).

And that's the issue as I like the form factor and Surface Pro line but then need to test it to not waste license keys so it's the "risk buying and returning but then losing one of 5 installs I can have with my software" or wait until well after it comes out and not get one for months or longer.

But then it's just perplexing and is going to need more information/research on this to help determine what's going on or the cause or at least a better idea for it.


New Member
But really at this point not enough information or long-term options yet.

I wonder if Microsoft or the Microsoft store would allow benchmark programs to run on reading the SD Card or more tests thoroughly? Really I'm hoping they get a floor model and I may go back with CrystalDiskMark or something as a general test or maybe it was just early firmware or something and more substantiated tests could help with me testing a read/write speeds on/off the device myself.

Not that I really care about the read/write speeds if it works, just that I care when I am reading files off of the SD Card and I can clear/delete the bad photos off of the card more immediately without huge delays. Which is an annoyance not a deal breaker.

Just was weird to see that slowness when reading it as it wasn't really resource specific just something may be slightly off. But standardized tests could be interesting to confirm if it's the same or not now or later. It will be at least interesting to see how the system performs overall.


Active Member
SI think I'll have to wait until formal reviews on benchmarks, stress tests as well as seeing if they cheapened out on the SD Card reader or if the lack of graphics is a bigger deterrent for photo editing performance. If anyone knows at this point it would be greatly appreciated.

I'm in a similar boat. I'm considering "upgrading" from an i7 SP2017 to an i7 SP6 due to a desire to improve Photoshop performance. I would up the RAM from 8GB to 16GB, so my concern is: will the i7 in SP6 with four cores and 16 GB RAM noticeably outperform i7-7660u with two cores (but Iris Plus) in my SP2017 with 8GB RAM in Photoshop tasks, like resource-intensive filters?

The fan on my SP2017 roars to life in Photoshop with only two cores. How will the SP6 with four cores be handled? The SP2017 case gets fairly hot. Will the SP6 throttle down do to increased CPU heat?