Surface 3 Performance Tweaks

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Hello, I have a Surface 3 with 4GB of RAM. It’s been a great Windows tablet, however, the performance lately has been bad. For instance, it has been choking during basic web browsing.

Are there any performance tweaks, that can be made within Windows? Such as, turning off animations or transparency? Would it be better to reinstall Windows from scratch?

Comments (7)

7 responses to “Surface 3 Performance Tweaks”

  1. arunphilip

    What does Task Manager show on the second tab? Is your RAM consumption high? Or are you experiencing CPU spikes?


    Which browser are you running, and how many extensions are loaded in it?


    I'd think that 4 GB RAM is on the low side, since some of it is to be given away for the Intel IGP to use, and modern browsers are quite memory hungry (i.e. they spawn separate processes for extensions, sandboxes, etc.). Further, if you've got the recent Spectre/Meltdown fixes installed, they might be adding a small (but noticeable) performance penalty.


    • polloloco51

      In reply to arunphilip:

      I am currently using Microsoft Edge, on the Surface 3. The RAM is around 500MB with 3 tabs open which is normal-ish. I haven't noticed any significant CPU spikes. The browser seems to run fine, until I get into the heavier sites, like Facebook, or forums. The Surface 3's overall performance lately, has been abysmal. I suspect it could be either, the RAM, the Atom processor, the eMMC hard drive, or in need of a clean Windows install. It could just be all of them.


      It could also be the meltdown patch. Since the Atom processor is already a slower processor. Even a 10% decrease could be the culprit too.


      • jimchamplin

        In reply to polloloco51:

        Steve Gibson’s InSpectre is the best tool to disable and enable those mitigations.


        Edit: 500MB free? That’s not much at all.

        • wright_is

          In reply to jimchamplin:

          I would assume 500MB used by Edge with 3 tabs.

          I would also look at how much free space is left on the eMMC drive. Try cleaning that up (right click on the drive in Explorer, Properties, Disk Cleanup, Clen up system files). It could be that space is getting tight.

          The other problem might just be wear on the drive. That age of drive can suffer from dramatic slow-downs, this is also a problem that strikes most Android devices over time. Trim support was supposed to alleviate this, but I haven't seen much improvement.

  2. jimchamplin

    You don't need to reinstall, BTW, just use the recovery mode to reset Windows. Back all your data up, and have it blow away everything. No need to make an install stick or anything.


    As for adjusting the visuals, that won't make enough of a difference for you to notice. The best thing to do is to keep an eye on the resources that your software is using. Like arunphilip said, high RAM usage will lead to pitiful performance, especially on an Atom machine with a slow MMC card. Favor lighter weight software. Use UWP Store versions of things if available.


    Just remember that with that Atom and MMC, this thing is in a completely different class of machine from even a Core m3. Performance is not something that the Atom was made for ;)

  3. rameshthanikodi

    Microsoft Edge chokes alot. Try using Chrome instead. I'm not kidding.

    • Polycrastinator

      In reply to FalseAgent:

      Ironically, my experience since the Meltdown/Specture patches has been the exact opposite. I've seen Chrome bring systems to their knees in a way I haven't before those patches, and killing Chrome and moving to Edge appears to sort the problem. All those systems have had more memory, though, and Edge is pretty memory heavy, so that may not apply here.

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