Surface Book stability in 2018

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I’m wondering if there are any Surface Book 1 owning denizens of this site (bonus points if it’s the Performance Base version) that might be able to provide feedback on how well Microsoft have gone fixing the stability and performance issues that plagued the machines in the early days.

I’ve recently come across somewhere selling refurbished Performance Base Surface Books for essentially half the price of similarly specced Book 2s and while I’m sorely tempted, I can’t remember ever hearing definitively that the 333rd time was the charm and all the problems were finally resolved, so I’m concerned that it could turn into an extremely frustrating bargain. It’s probably just that I stopped paying attention after the first couple of hundred times they said “no really, this time we’ve got it for sure…” and they’ve been good as gold for 18 months, but given the sheer number of times the released “fixes” that didn’t work trying to search for it now a lesson in futility.

So instead I turn to the wisdom of the forums, secure in the knowledge that are bound to be more than a couple of determined Surface Book owner here that have stuck with their machines through all the troubles that can guide me on whether or not a first generation Surface Book is still a disaster in 2018.

Comments (4)

4 responses to “Surface Book stability in 2018”

  1. DavidSlade

    Hi Daishi,

    I have a Surface Book first gen, not with performance base. It is stable now after all the firmware updates. I believe some of the early ones may have had hardware problems, these would have been returned. Mine had some initial issues such as sleep mode instability and flickering screen brightness. These are gone now. I guess the Performance Base models would be quite stable.

    I don't use the detach screen, so if I was looking now, I would pick a Surface laptop or one from the other brands that have released new faster/lighter laptops.

  2. Josh

    I've had a non dGPU, a with dGPU and a Performance Base model within the last year that have all ran flawlessly. BUT.. the 2 of them that were refurbs (from Microsoft) had to be returned due to hardware issues. One wouldn't attach/reattach properly and the other had a yellowing screen (which increased with CPU use).


    I would definitely get one, but make sure you put it through it's paces early on and check against known issues while it's in its return period.

  3. MacLiam

    I had an original Surface Book that I bought about six months after the model was released. I don't recall experiencing any of the problems that others were reporting at the time, but it did bluescreen irretrievably during an insider update about a year later. I would have thought MS could have found some way to break in and let me get my data, but after a feeble effort to do so they gave me a replacement. I paid a hundred bucks more for the power base version, which was available by then, and got a new extended warranty on it. This machine has never errored severely or stumbled on me in 18 months of normal use. It's not my primary machine now, but I still use it (along with other Surfaces). The only problem I ever noticed with it was occasional extreme heating in the monitor segment. The case actually warped from the heat and I had to do some careful frame bending to get the top edge to completely contact the bottom front edge when it was closed. I put the Intel extreme tuning utiiity on the machine and set some thresholds to minimize the chance of the hot spot developing again. No problems since.


    I eventually bought a 15-inch Book that has been problem free and has never overheated. It is one of my favorite machines. I consider it a Studio Lite or Mini-Studio because of its better CPU and graphics processor in addition to the larger screen.


    One warning: I was surprised when I ran Microsoft's evaluation app for determining a particular machine's ability to handle VR or AR or whatever it's called now. The replacement book with power base got a yellow triangle on one of the requirements -- graphic processor, I think, but I can't swear to it.


    The refurbs ought to be OK. If you go for one, I agree with the advice to work it hard as soon as you get it so you can return it if a problem shows up.

  4. lvthunder

    I still use my original Surface Book. I got a refurb about 6 months into it because the screen popped out of the case. Other than that how ever many years ago that was it runs great. I always shut my computers down when I'm done using them so I never had the hot bag issues many complained about. I would rather wait a little bit and start with a freshly booted Windows then one that's been running for a week.

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