Surface Book 2 and Pro 6 Experiencing Throttling Issues

Posted on August 16, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 11 Comments

Dreaming of an Affordable Surface Book 2 Laptop

A recent firmware update for the Surface Book 2 and Surface Pro 6 is causing significant performance issues for some users. Microsoft says it’s working on a fix.

According to multiple threads on Reddit—this may be one of the first—a recent firmware update is causing some Surface Book 2 and Surface Pro 6 PCs to throttle down to about 400 MHz, a fraction of the device’s normal performance. Users have been complaining in Microsoft’s support forums as well.

Apparently, there is a temporary workaround: If you’re experiencing this issue, you can uninstall the “Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery” from Device Manager (WINKEY + X > Device Manager), detect hardware changes, and then restart the PC. But the performance issues will eventually, ahem, resurface because the PC will eventually reinstall the missing driver, which is related to power management.

Some have also had success with a utility called ThrottleStop, which can prevent a PC’s CPU from being throttled. However, this could be a dangerous workaround, since CPU throttling in general, and in Surface in particular, often happens specifically so that the machine doesn’t get too hot.

Fortunately, Microsoft says it is working on a fix.

“We are aware of some customers reporting a scenario with their Surface Books where CPU speeds are slowed,” a Microsoft statement reads. “We are quickly working to address via a firmware update.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t the only issue caused by a recent Surface firmware update: Last week, reports emerged about users experiencing Wi-Fi issues on multiple Surface models after an update.

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Comments (11)

11 responses to “Surface Book 2 and Pro 6 Experiencing Throttling Issues”

  1. red.radar

    While this looks like a firmware issue and not a design problem, i am beginning to wonder if the industry has made a mistake and overthinned their professional content creation / gaming laptops. Maybe it’s intels fault... they stagnated everything at quad core for so long that OEMs over optimized... Now AMD is disrupting the market....


    those use cases have high duty cycle work loads and throttling is just an indication you overpaid for capability your machine can’t handle. I am thinking a desktop is a better tool to consider right now. OR.. bring back the super chunky desktop replacements with more cooling capabilities


    Slightly tangential to the issue at hand but seemed worth mentioning




    • lvthunder

      In reply to red.radar:

      Of course a desktop is a better tool. And cheaper as well. I for one would not like to go back to the big heavy laptops of the past.

      • jimchamplin

        In reply to lvthunder:

        I would. They were so much cooler - in more than one way - than these wafer thin, detailless little glued together pieces of trash that the dare to call “workstation class” nowadays. Oh a 3.4 GHz 4-core chip?


        LOL


        It runs at 1.8 most of the time. The only time you’ll ever get 3.4 is when the fan runs so hard the thing is about to lift off like a chopper and fly away.


        ”Thin” used to be a sign of low quality. My friends...


        It still is.

    • MrKirbs

      In reply to red.radar:

      This specific issue isn't CPU related at all. The CPU stays around 55C while this happens.


      What causes the throttling is some other component on the motherboard sends a signal to the CPU to force it to throttle to reduce the heat on other components in the chassis. Considering the relatively low temps this happens at, and that I've had this happen to me at Best Performance power settings (where the Surface Book 2 fans run at full tilt constantly), this shouldn't be happening, regardless of how thin everything is.


      As for thin machines being able to handle high performance parts, this isn't impossible. There's certainly enough novel innovation in cooling to make these machines viable, just look at any high end gaming notebook. The tradeoff is that those machines push their fans really hard and create a ton of noise. That's the real cost of a desktop replacement class laptop.

  2. rfog

    I wonder if they test their own software. Too much problems, too much bugs, and now there is no excuse related to the multiple configurations in the wild.


    They are their own machines, their own drivers and their own, well, non-existent testers.


    Each day that passes, software sucks more and more, and this problem is not only from Microsoft.

  3. vernonlvincent

    You missed a great headline opportunity:


    "Surface Book 2 and Pro 6 Experiencing *Thurrottling* Issues"


  4. ianw789

    Picking up on red.radar's premium comment: The Lenovo T series forum is full of "thurrottling" issues too. Also the in-depth analyses on notebookcheck.net also dig up a lot of cases where apparently powerful laptops are limited by thermal issues. I agree that the push to both thin and powerful has been over-done. (That's why the surprisingly thin T490 is superior to the excessively thin T490s.)


    As an aside, I suspect that warmer ambient operating temperatures of summer have helped put the spotlight on this issue.

    • Thomas Parkison

      In reply to ianw789:

      It's really a combination of two things... First, thin for the sake of thin. Obviously if the device is very thin the ability to keep it cool becomes an issue very fast. Second, Intel chips are known to run hot as all get out and yes I know that Intel mobile chips are meant to run at lower clock speeds (thus less heat) but as we add more cores it doesn't matter how low we clock them they're still going to run hot. Take the fact that these devices are too stupidly thin with Intel chips running hot and you have a throttling mess on your hands.


      Suffice it to say, Intel really needs to get 10nm to work like yesterday. Unfortunately, their tenth generation mobile chips are anemic at best, pathetic at worst. They need to ramp up clock speeds big time because the tenth generation mobile chips are garbage.

  5. djncanada

    I have both devices, is this a problem for all Surface Book 2 and Surface Pro 6?

  6. wolters

    I can confirm the Surface Book 2. Won't sleep, "hot bag" has come back and while using it, it is gets hotter than normal. Almost unusable for me right now.

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