Microsoft acknowledges throttling in Surface products

I remember when one of my friends got a 400MHz CPU just over 20 years ago. Owners of Microsoft’s Surface Books and Surface Pro products don’t have to remember back that far, though, because they’re seeing it right now. Microsoft has acknowledged a throttling problem happening on its Surface products that seems to persist across reboots.

Eagle-eyed sleuths on Reddit have narrowed the problem down to an Intel CPU flag, BD PROCHOT. That’s short for “bi-directional processor hot.” The flag can trigger processor throttling to help the system maintain a safe operating temperature. A variety of components can trigger the flag. With this current glitch, BD PROCHOT is activating even when CPU temperatures are low, and then it’s staying activated.

Microsoft Surface Pro 6

This flag isn’t just on Surface products; motherboards and systems from companies like MSI and EVGA have seen cases, too, but not to this scale. A recent Surface firmware update seems to have caused a spike on Microsoft’s products in particular.

“We are aware of some customers reporting a scenario with where CPU speeds are slowed,” Microsoft told TechRepublic via a spokesperson. “We are quickly working to address via a firmware update.”

TechRepublic notes that the third-party utility ThrottleStop, which intercepts the BD PROCHOT command, is helping users affected by the issue, and that if the computer is actually in danger of overheating, it’ll simply shut down.

Trouble under the surface

While Surface devices are generally well-liked among reviewers and definitely have a fanbase, the line is no stranger to trouble. At one point, Consumer Reports stopped recommending the devices because so many users had trouble with them. Surface devices have had issues with batteries draining, overheating power cords, and flickering displays. For some users, this might be the latest in a string of frustrating issues.

The firmware fix for throttling on the Surface is likely not far out now that Microsoft has acknowledged it. If BD PROCHOT is giving you a headache right now, though, ThrottleStop might be the only way to keep your Surface out of the computing stone age (for now).

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Marcelo
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Marcelo

Microsoft killed the desire i had for the surface line.
Subsequent problems no device seems to have gone thru it’s entire life without significant problems
we are not talking about a chinese, low budget manufacture.
No excuses.
They killed Internet explorer, killed edge, killed surface.
Gaming is basically the major reason for using Windows, every windows update a new problem.
Will keep hearing cortana conversations and serving NSA.
Congrats MS, suicidal company.

ABundy
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ABundy

thats nothing. the screen burn, specific keys on the keyboard just failing, the bubbling batteries that pop off the display from the housing, just a few nightmare stories i have read on forums.

chuckula
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chuckula

When we told Microsoft that we were throttling our products we didn’t realize they’d take it so literally!

Neutronbeam
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I prefer to think of this not so much as a throttling issue, but as Microsoft choking on its hardware ambitions.

Krogoth
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Krogoth

I find your lack of shilling disturbing……

Sweatshopking
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Meh. I’ve been happy with my surface devices. My pro 6 appears unaffected. Wife has a surface go, loves it.

The lost cat
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The lost cat

My Surface Go is excellent too. I expected it to be far less capable.

tipoo
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I’ve been adding that to my cart on and off with curiosity. 8GB model. It seems like a nice product but past due for a processor bump, that dual core Pentium Gold 4415Y is two years old and even something that’s been out for a while like the N5000 is faster. I keep debating between that and maybe a refurb iPad Pro 10.5″, wondering if the far faster processor on that would be a better experience, but then having to live within iOS’s limits… So you’re satisfied with the Go’s performance? Which model? And on a scale of none to… Read more »

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