Microsoft Responds to Surface 2 Overheating Issue

Having trouble with the screen on your Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2 dimming for seemingly no reason? You’re not the only one, and Microsoft is reportedly working on a fix to resolve the problem. When this fix will be released is unknown at this point, but expect it to be a part of Patch Tuesday in the near future.

The screen dimming problem seems to stem from long use of graphic intensive applications like gaming. "I have been using my Surface 2 for a week now and everything has been great except when I play Halo: Spartan Assault. The back gets pretty hot while playing (which I don't mind) but then my Surface automatically dims the screen to the lowest level. I have to pause and wait for the Surface to cool down before playing again," states one Surface 2 owner.

Many owners complain of screen dimming when using an Xbox controller, assuming that because of a lack of touch input, the screen automatically goes into power saving mode. Others believe that their Surface 2 unit is merely defective, but that’s not the case at all. Microsoft blames the problem on overheating, and calls the dimming "unnecessary".

"Surface devices may dim the screen as thermal temperatures rise from extended, high CPU intensive activities-- like gaming.  In some scenarios this does not appear necessary. Our top priority is for customers to have the best possible experience on their Surface device.  We’re working on a tuning update that will remove this unnecessary dimming event. You can expect this update in an upcoming Windows Update package," Microsoft forum moderator Steven B. explained.

"In the meantime allow the Surface to cool down for a minute or so in order to return the screen to previous brightness levels," Steven B. added.

The Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 have been on the market for several weeks, the former sporting a Tegra 4 chip and Windows RT 8.1 and the latter featuring Intel’s Core i5-4200U “Haswell” processor and Windows 8.1. The ARM-based Surface 2 has a starting price of $449 and the x86-based Surface Pro 2 has a starting price of $899.

  • dextermat
    quality control = 0....
  • BeenThere2
    XboxOne , Surface 2 reported of overheating i see a trend here.
  • cburke82
    I have a Surface Pro 1 and it will get vary hot while gaming or watching a movie. I doesnt dim and still works fine but I was surprised at just how hot it gets.
  • teh_chem
    My phone does the same thing; it will limit the screen brightness due to thermal conditions. I'm not excusing their design, but let's face the facts; most people aren't going to be using their tablets for real gaming, so why make thermal design considerations that may have a very expensive solution for what probably amounts to less than a fraction of a percent of the consumer base?
  • agnickolov
    @cburke82: I also have Surface Pro (gen1) and while it doesn't dim to the lowest level, its brightness occasionally fluctuates for no apparent reason. IIRC this started after I upgraded it to Windows 8.1. And yes, it does get pretty hot (and noticeably humming due to its fan spinning, though that's not loud enough to become bothersome) with games. Remember it has an older Ivy Bridge CPU that's not as power efficient as Haswell. This also means the battery only lasts for 2 hours while gaming.
  • ClockworkPirate
    @agnickolov: Did you forget to re-disable automatic brightness after installing Windows 8.1? I've always found that it's super flaky on my Surface.
  • universal remonster
    Actually, I have seen this happen as well on my Surface Pro 1 during Spartan Assault. Though I noticed it, I never really gave it a second thought as to why it happened. I have had a Win 7 and Win8 phone and both of those have done some crazy screen dimming things over the years, so I didn't even think about it the few times it happened on my Surface. I use a pretty low screen brightness setting on both my phone and tablets during normal use, so it may be why I haven't noticed it more often.

    Interesting... I wonder if the fix will also apply to Surface Pro 1's... I'll keep my eyes open for it. Now that it's been mentioned and brought to my attention, I'll probably see it more often =(
  • m32
    Tegra F's Microsoft again......
  • Darkk
    Surprised Microsoft didn't catch this during beta testing... Oh wait...never are the beta testers.
  • johnnyb105
    The haswell is probably a lot hotter then the surface 1 now everyone who owns them are stuck with piss poor quality ..Thanks MS